2022 Spring Term

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Course Bulletin
Website last updated at 2022-04-25 16:44

Welcome to the course.

 This is a fast-pace course and it will involve all in-person lecture sessions and in-person training and experiments.

Please go to and familiarize with the safety protocols before engaging in-person training sessions.

Please have a uw email address and a gmail email address ready in the event that we need to revert back to remote learning.  Please also have a LEARN account ready as we will switch to LEARN after the first lecture.

On-line References
EAG Laboratories
Surface Science Western

Materials Characterization Introduction to Microscopic and Spectorscopic Methhods - Yang Leng Wiley 2008
Encyclopedia of Materials Characterization - Evans, Brundle, Wilson 1992

We focus on the following five experimental modules:
A. Light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy and related techniques;
 X-ray diffraction;
Optical spectroscopy, including UV/Vis, PL, Raman, FTIR with ATR;
D. Electron spectroscopy;
Atomic force microscopy.

All modules will include the following topics:
 Background and history
Basic principle of the technique (and any sister techniques) and basic equations
 Key information provided by the technique
Special features of the technique, including the concepts of surface sensitivity, probe volume, energy resolution, spatial resolution, depth resolution, depth of focus, chemical content and composition, and other.
5. Description of basic instrumentation
The basic procedure to acquire data, checklists for machine startup and shutdown,
and what not to do with the machine.
7. Interpretation of the collected data (spectra and/or images),
and what do fundamental information that they carry.
Data artifacts and other things to watch
9. Data analysis

10. Experiments - Hands-on training will be provided by our WATLab staff:

Module A - Microscopy - Dr. Nina Heinig
Module B - X-ray Diffraction - Dr. Nina Heinig

Module C - Optical Spectroscopy - Dr. Joseph Thomas
Module D - Electron Spectroscopy - Dr. Joseph Thomas
Module E - Atomic Force Microscopy - Dr. Lei Zhang

All the training lectures (in pdf format) are available at LEARN or by email.

Lab report format
 - Five pages maximum (single line spacing, 12 pt font size, time-roman font, 1 inch border all around, page number and header can be outside border).  The report should have five sections: Introduction, Objective/Scope, Data and Data Analysis, Discussion, Conclusion.  If there are too many graphs and tables, they can be placed in an appendix (Supporting Information) of three additional pages and should be numbered/referenced appropriately.


Lab report DUE dates - Reports (hardcopy only) should be submitted before noon on the due dates (generally two weeks after the experimental module is completed).  See LEARN for more details.


Final Exam date - TBA




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Coming Soon

Week Date CLASS LOG:  What have we learned today? Reading Task
1 May 4 Brief introduction to the different modules and scope of the course   Lecture
2 See Course Calendar Module A-E:  Each module will include a brief introduction to the basic principle behind the technique, standard operating procedure of the tool on hand, and individual experimentation.   Lecture
3 See Course Calendar Module A: Light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy and related techniques   Lecture/
4 See Course Calendar Module B: X-ray diffraction   Experiment
5 See Course Calendar Module C: Optical spectroscopy, including UV/Vis, PL, Raman, FTIR with ATR   Experiment
6 See Course Calendar Module D:  Electron spectroscopy   Experiment
7 See Course Calendar Module E: Atomic force microscopy   Experiment
8 See Course Calendar Wrap-up - Set final exam date.   Lecture/
9 Before mid July Final Exam   Lecture



Frequently Asked Questions

Does one need to buy the textbook?   No.

Mark review policy  As per discussion in class.