Nanotechnology Projects

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PHY 142

       Course Name: Nanotechnology Projects

       Credits: 4 (2 lecture; 4 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

PHY 141 with minimum grade of C.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course uses project-based learning and team-building techniques to study topics in electronics, photonics, thin films, biotechnology, and procedures for troubleshooting instrumentation. Instrumentation and techniques include, atomic force microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, nanoparticle characterization, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis, ultraviolet-visible and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, basic photonics, photolithography, profilometry, and ellipsometry.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course a student will be able to do the following:

  1. Explain the process of photolithography as it is used to design electric circuits and compare it with other processes.
  2. Describe the creation and applications of thin films and be able to successfully analyze their surface properties using profilometry and ellipsometry.
  3. Explain the function and properties of various optical components used in photonics including lenses, mirrors, beam splitters, and fiber optics.
  4. Explain the theory behind the operation of various types of lasers including the Helium-Neon laser and diode lasers.
  5. Describe and explain procedures for troubleshooting scanning electron and atomic force microscope images when problems occur.
  6. Explain the operation of the ultraviolet-visible and Fourier-transform infrared spectrophotometers and their use with nanoscale structures.
  7. Explain the operation of the scanning electron microscope, why X-rays are produced and how the X-rays are used to determine atomic composition of the sample.
  8. Explain the operation of the atomic force microscope, its advantages and limitations, and how to interpret images obtained through different scanning modes.
  9. Describe and explain applications of nanoparticles, nanotubes, and self-assembled monolayers in biology and medicine.

General Education Learning Outcome:

Think Critically – identify, define, analyze, interpret, and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, problems, solutions, and consequences. This includes the ability to compute and comprehend quantitative information and to engage in the scientific process.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Nanoelectronics
    1. Diodes.
    2. Transistors.
    3. Photolithography.
  2. Nanophotonics
    1. Lenses, mirrors and beam splitters.
    2. Fiber optics.
    3. Basic gas laser design and operation.
    4. Basic diode laser design and operation.
  3. Thin Films
    1. Classifications of nanoscale coatings.
    2. Chemical vapor deposition.
    3. Physical vapor deposition.
    4. Sputtering deposition.
    5. Thin film applications.
    6. Impregnation.
    7. Migration to the surface.
    8. Measuring thin film thickness and refractive index.
  4. Nanobiotechnology
    1. Cell Cultures.
    2. Biological applications for nanoparticles.
    3. Self-assembled monolayers.
    4. Cancer detection and treatment.
    5. Drug Delivery.
    6. Biological applications for magnetic nanoparticles.
  5. Advanced Instrumentation
    1. Scanning electron microscope troubleshooting.
    2. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis and troubleshooting.
    3. Atomic force microscope troubleshooting.
    4. Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy troubleshooting.
    5. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy troubleshooting.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Daily activities may include lecture, group problem solving, group lab activities, demonstrations, discussions and videos.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. The required readings will include chapters from various textbooks, laboratory manual or handouts, and selected material supplied by the instructor.
  2. Laboratory practice includes correct setup of the apparatus, performing the experiment, collecting and analyzing the data. Laboratory notebooks will be used to record data and observations as experiments are being performed. Formal laboratory reports may be required.
  3. Microsoft Excel and other data entry and analysis software will be used.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Text Equivalent to: “Fundamentals of Nanotechnology,” by Hornyak, Moore, Tibbals, and Dutta, CRC Press, 2009 (or similar text)

Laboratory Manual: Required handouts supplied by instructor.

Calculator: Any scientific calculator such as a TI-83, TI-89, etc.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades will be based on performance on quizzes and exams, successful completion of homework questions, and quality of lab work including correctly operating the equipment and accurately presenting lab results via a written or oral lab report.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.