Course Title: Physics of Advanced Materials

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Physics of Advanced Materials

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008

Course Coordinator: Professor Irene Yarovsky

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2571

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is a third year course and it continues development of students’ knowledge in physics of materials, quantum mechanics and solid state physics based on the intermediate level courses Materials and Thermal Physics PHYS1074 and Quantum Mechanics and Radiation Physics PHYS2076.

Course Description

This course introduces several important characterisation and theoretical modelling techniques to study advanced materials (incl. novel nanomaterials) and specifically surface and interfacial phenomena. The course also serves as an introduction to some aspects of research into advanced materials phenomena carried out in Applied Physics in collaboration with other research institutions and industry. The Course is intended to give the student an appreciation of contemporary research methods and applications in the field of advanced materials design that can guide them in their selection of further postgraduate studies and/or a job search.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of fundamental physics of materials and understand theoretical background of materials modelling techniques with special emphasis on industrial applications.
  • understand operating principles of experimental materials characterization techniques.
  • understanding the principles of application, capability and limitations of materials modelling methods.
  • develop and use conceptual models based upon a combination of theory with experimental characterisation to analyse and solve problems in materials related industrial applications.
  • design research approaches that will facilitate solutions of real life industrial problems related to materials performance issues.
  • demonstrate an ability to clearly enunciate their own thoughts via written reports and reviews and oral presentations to the group on their chosen research topic.
  • comprehend newly emerging technologies involving design and/or application of novel materials, such as nano - and bio - technologies.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students will learn in this course by:

  • Attendance at lectures where material will be presented and explained by lecturers from RMIT and industry, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and real life examples;
  • Participation in class discussion: lectures may be conducted as research seminars and/or brain storming sessions where students will be encouraged to participate in discussions;
  • Private study, working through the theory and literature as presented in lectures, texts and notes and gaining experience to review scientific literature;
  • Completing tutorial questions and undertaking problems and exercises;
  • Completing written assignments consisting of reviews of selected topics;
  • Viewing demonstrations and videos;
  • Presenting a talk to the class on their chosen research topic.

Tours of modern materials characterization equipment and facilities in and outside RMIT will also be organized.

Overview of Learning Resources

Lists of useful texts and other reference materials, available from the RMIT Bookshop, Library, or on-line, will be supplied to assist students in their study of the course.

Overview of Assessment

There will be ongoing assessment during the semester to encourage students to undertake further literature studies based on the lecture material in the form of several short assignments. One assignment will consist of a presentation to the class on a chosen topic.
Examination will consist of one theory and one experimental question. This will test conceptual understanding of the material and integration of concepts across different topics of the course.