Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Nanosystems Principles

ME 52301 / 3 Cr. (3 Class)

This is the introductory course in the nanosystems area.  It introduces students to the principles and applications of nanosystems. The course begins with an introduction to the nanometer scale phenomena. It then introduces students to the basic elements resulting in nanosystems: nanoscale materials, processes, and devices. It also provides students with a basic understanding of the tools and approaches that are used for the measurement and characterization of nanosystems, and their modeling and simulation.  Moreover, the course covers the applications of nanosystems in a wide range of industries, including information technology, energy, medicine, and consumer goods. The course concludes with a discussion of the societal and economical significance of these applications, including benefits and potential risks.


Introduction to Nanoscale Science and Technology, by M. Dir Ventra, S. Evoy, J.R. Heflin, Springer, ISBN: 978-1-4020-7720-3


To study and understand those aspects of materials, processes, and devices pertaining to the development of nanosystems. To understand the broad range of applications of nanosystems. To apply those principles to assess current and identify new applications.

  1. Understand the fundamental aspects of the field of nanotechnology, and analyze its wide range of applications and impact on the world economy (b);
  2. Apply knowledge from interdisciplinary areas of math and science into the nanosystems, integrating various disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering (a, d);
  3. Apply atomic/molecular scale devices and design into integrated nanosystems related to information technology, energy, and medicine (c, k);
  4. Identify the terminology, equipment, and design methodology used in the fabrication, and characterization of nanosystems (e);
  5. Recognize and discuss the societal and economical significance of nanosystems applications, including benefits and potential risks (h);
  6. Read and analyze the literature, and communicate effectively in written and oral presentations in topics related to nanosystems (g);
  7. Apply critical thinking and creativity to resolve engineering design issues using nanoscale devices and systems (c,d).

 Note: The letters within the brackets indicate the Program Outcomes of Mechanical Engineering.


1. Introduction to Nanoscale Phenomena (2 periods)

Manifestation of novel phenomena and properties, including changes in:

  • Physical Properties (e.g. melting point)
  • Chemical Properties (e.g. reactivity)
  • Electrical Properties (e.g. conductivity)
  • Mechanical Properties (e.g. strength)
  • Optical Properties (e.g. light emission)

2. Nanoscale Materials (4 periods)

Bonding, Dimensionality, Topology, Curvature, Kinetics, Energetics and Surfaces of:

  • Nanostructures and Particles
  • Nanotubes and Wires
  • Bionanomaterials

3. Nanoscale Processes and Fabrication Methods (6 periods)

  •  Top-down Methods:

     Cross-Cutting Technologies: Resist and Masks

     Photon-Based Nanolithography Techniques

     Electron Beam Lithography

     Focused Ion Beam Lithography

     Emerging Nanolithographies

  • Bottom-up Methods:

     The advantage of Self-Assembly

     Intermolecular Interactions and Molecular Recognition

     Self-Assembled Monolayers (SAMs)

     Electrostatic Self-Assembly

     Self-Organization in Block Copolymers

4. Nanoscale Devices and Integarted Nanosystems (7 periods)

  • Nanochip (Brief history of Microelectronics Devices and technology, Basics of Semiconductors, Structure and Operation of MOS Transistor, Scaling of Transistor Dimensions, Small-Dimension Effects, Nanoscale MOSFET Transistor: Extending Classical CMOS Transistors, Beyond Traditional CMOS, and Molecular Electronics: Tools and Ways to Build and Probe Molecular Devices, Conductance Measurements, and Integration Strategies)
  • Nanoelectromechanical Systems (NEMS): Surface Machining and Characterization, Dynamics, Dissipative Process, Integration with Quantum Electronic Devices, Mechanical Models, Fabrication and Readout, and Performance
  • Nanophotonic Systems: Quantum-Confined Optoelectronic Systems, Optical Properties, Energy Levels, Spectroscopy of Quantum Dot, Organic and Polymeric Light-Emitting Diodes, Photovoltaic Polymers, and Photonic Crystals: Photonic Band Structure and Band Gap, and Microfabrication
  • Fuel Cells: Proton Exchange Membrane and its Properties
  • Lab on a Chip: Select Examples
  • Drug Delivery Systems: Select Examples

5. Nanosystems Measurement and Characterization (3 periods)

Principles and Operational Mechanisms of:

  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Electron Microscopy (SEM, TEM)

6. Nanosystems Modeling and Simulation (3 periods)

  • Computational Molecular Modeling
  • Monte Carlo Modeling

7. Nanosystems Applications (4 periods)

  • Information Technology
  • Energy
  • Medicine
  • Consumer Goods