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Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF025 - Clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes
Owner: TTFYA
5,0 Credits (ECTS 7,5)
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Level: D
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0105 Written and oral assignments 5,0 c Grading: TH   5,0 c    

In programs



Forskarassistent  Vladimir Popok
Professor  Arne Rosén


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.


To introduce a rapidly growing field of physics with great application potential.
An atomic cluster is a group of atoms kept together by electrostatic, covalent or van der Waals forces. By observing how the properties of a cluster change with size, it is possible to investigate how solid materials are built up atom by atom. Clusters are thereby a unique model system for studies of fundamental physics and chemistry on an atomic level, but clusters and nanoparticles are also of great interest for an increasing number of technical applications. During studies of carbon clusters it was discovered that cage-like clusters, such as C60 and other fullerenes, were particularly stable, could be produced in large amounts and constitute the basis for various compounds and materials. The carbon nanotubes were first observed as a by-product from fullerene production and can be regarded as a rolled graphene sheet. The nanotubes show interesting electronic properties with quantised electronic states, and can, depending on diameter and helicity, be conductors, semiconductors or insulators.


The course goal is to provide a good knowledge about the fundamental physical and chemical properties of clusters, fullerenes, nanotubes and nanoparticles, and how these can be used for various applications. The course also covers techniques for production and experimental investigations of clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes, and theoretical and computational methods used in cluster research.


The course introduces into a novel, fascinating and interdisciplinary field of physics dealing with nanoobjects such as nanoclusters, nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes etc. A cluster is an agglomerate of atoms (or molecules) with properties intermediate between individual atoms and bulk matter that makes clusters of a great interest for both fundamental physics and practical applications in nanotechnology. In the course, different aspects of energetics and thermodynamics of free clusters will be covered, in particular, role of geometric and electronic shells, entropic effects and approaches for calculation of a cluster total energy. Variation of cluster properties with size will be analysed and the unique features of clusters and nanoparticles (not available for bulk material) will be emphasised. Main types of clusters (with different bonding) will be a subject for the consideration with emphasis on the nanostructures highly relevant for nowadays practical applications. Physical principles of cluster nucleation and growth will be described. Most widely used experimental techniques for production of cluster beams, nanoparticles and nanotubes will be reviewed. In the course, particular attention will be paid to physics behind different energetic regimes of cluster-surface interaction: deposition and implantation as the methods highly relevant for nanostructuring of materials and formation of nanocomposites. Interconnection of clusters and their difference from other nanostructures such as, for instance, carbon nanotubes and onions or quantum dots and nanowires will be explained. Various practical applications of clusters, nanoparticles and nanotubes for optics, electronics, material engineering, high-energy chemistry, biology and environmental science will be under the consideration in such a way that it will mutually complement this course with other courses on nanophysics and nanoscale science.


The course will consist of:
1. Lectures and problem exercises.
2. Home problems.
3. Interactive laboratory tour (demonstration and exercises) on production and characterisation of clusters and nanotubes.
4. Written project and oral presentation on a subject related to the course contents.


The course will be based on selected chapters of a few books, review and recent scientific articles. Compendium of the lectures will be available on the course web-page.


The evaluation of the course will be divided as follows: 30% for the home exercises; 10% for activity in the laboratory tour; in 25% each for the oral presentation and written project. Active participation of the lectures is obligatory for excellent grade and evaluated as 10%.Active participation in the various course activities, home problems and oral and written presentation of the project

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.