Nanotechnology is a 2nd semester course held at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.


2. semester - University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


Prof. Dr. Mitjan Kalin

Contact Information

University of Ljubljana

Course Overview

Module objectives

The Nanotechnologies course acquaints the students in detail about the various fields, development and opportunities provided by the nanotechnologies in product design and development. Nanotechnologies are one of the latest and emerging fields, which are still finding their role in design. This goes especially for numerous new materials, their properties and the possibilities of use. The students first learn the differences between the macro- and nanoworld, as well as why the nanostructures are so different from the macroscopic structures. The basic conceptual differences and characteristics offered by the nanostructures are derived from this starting point. Further on, the students learn about the ways of creating nanostructures, as well as the available options for controlling and monitoring these structures. This is followed by an overview of tools for the characterisation of nanostructures or elements based on them. Thereafter comes a detailed overview of nanomaterials, presenting both their application as the basic building blocks of elements and composites, and as coatings and nanoparticle inclusions in different smart materials. The key nanomechanical properties and other physical properties, enabled by the nanomaterials, are presented in detail. A special emphasis is also placed on boundary surface films and their application, significance and physical-chemical properties. The students are also presented briefly with the options of modeling by different principles, the latter being an important factor of support to the nanotechnologies due to the very nature of the phenomena and the problems of macroevaluation of developmental achievements. Nanotechnologies are also related to health risks, so the students learn how to act and work appropriately in the development and manufacturing processes. The regulations are presented, too. The course concludes with a comprehensive overview of previous applications of nanotechnologies, nanomaterials and nanoconcepts in different industries, highlighting the practical opportunities for the use of nanotechnologies and giving the students ideas how to use the nanotechnologies in their own design, research and development processes.

Knowledge outcome

The students will be qualified for an autonomous and critical evaluation of the possible uses and upgrades to classical technologies and materials using nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the development of new products, so they will be able to identify the critical elements and their properties themselves, and to compare and select them according to the criteria of best results and properties, by combining two entirely different concepts. The course gives the students a comprehensive overview of the new field and new possibilities, which cannot be obtained in any other course due to the specific nature of nanotechnologies and nanoengineering.

Outline syllabus

  • Introduction to nanotechnologies (the definition of concepts, examples and overview of the field, nano vs. macro, examples from the nature);
  • The fundamental principles of nanoworld (physical principles of materials on the macro and nano level, the effects of scale transformation, the significance of surfaces);
  • Building and assembling nanostructures (the up-to-bottom principles, bottom-up principles, examples and characteristics of established processes, self-organisation of films);
  • Characterisation of nanostructures (optical methods, bright and dark field principle, fluorescent method, electronic microscope, scanning electron microscopy, diffraction methods, emission methods);
  • Nanomaterials (nanostructured materials, nanocomposites, layered nanocomposites, nanocristals, amorphous nanomaterials, nanoparticles, fullerenes, nanotubes, nanowires, nanolayers, hybrid nanoparticles, colloidal suspensions. Smart materials, molecular identification and differentiation, nanosensors);
  • Properties of nanomaterials (nanomechanical properties and other physical properties. Adsorption, surface energy, wettability. Boundary surface nanofilms, structure, reactions, properties, influence, significance. nanotribology);
  • The fundamentals of nanoscale modeling (fundamental principles, molecular dynamics, models spanning multiple scales);
  • Health and legal aspects (the risks of nanotechnologies, protection, legal and other statutory regulations);
  • Examples, concepts, application and development of nanotechnologies (MEMS/NEMS, nanomanufacturing, nanofluids, lubricants and lubrication, surface films, nanomechanics, energy, construction, electronics, optics, textile industry, biology, medicine, nanometerial synthesis).

Monitoring of student progress:

  • 1 written and oral examination


  • L.Theodore: Nanotechnology- basic calculations for engineers and scientists, Wiley-Interscience,  New York, USA, 2006.
  • B. Rogers, J. Adams, S. Pennathur: Nanotechnology-understanding small systems, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2008.
  • B. Bhushan (Ed): Handbook of Nanotechnology, Springer, 2nd ed., Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2007.
  • H. Ibach: Physics of surfaces and interfaces, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2006.
  • B. Bhushan (Ed): Nanotribology and Nanomechanics, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, 2005.