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Unit of study_

BMET5911: Advanced Instrumentation for Nanotechnology

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This UoS offers fundamental knowledge about the working principles of scanning probe microscopies, microsensors and other key instrumentation in nanotechnology with a focus on biophysical, biomedical and material science applications. Scanning probe microscopes work in a variety of environments ranging from vacuum to liquids, and are frequently used to study samples spanning from single atoms all the way up to live cells and tissues. Besides imaging, these technologies enable the manipulation of matter and the acquisition of many physical and chemical properties of samples up to the atomic scale. The knowledge provided in this UoS is intended to improve the competences of the students to understand, use and create technologies of great value in nanotechnology with applications across multiple disciplines.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BMET5911
Academic unit Biomedical Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Knowledge in calculus, linear differential equations, basic mechanics and electromagnetism

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator David Martinez Martin,
Demonstrator(s) Kevin Ge,
Lecturer(s) David Martinez Martin,
Tutor(s) Kevin Ge,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Exam covering the entire course. It will include calculations
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Small test Mid-semester test
Mid semester test. It will include calculations
25% Week 07 60 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Presentation group assignment Presentation
Group presentation (8-10 min) followed by questions (2-4 min)
25% Week 13 approx 10-14 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

The unit will be assessed by:

  • Mid semester test that will include calculation questions.
  • A group presentation based on a topic related to the unit.
  • A final exam that will include calculation questions

Assessment criteria

Result code

Result name

Mark range



High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard.



75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard.



65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard.



50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard.



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.



For more information see


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Given the type of assessments, the submissions must take place on time. A mark of zero will be awarded if the assessment is not submitted on time. Students must seek special considerations for any non-attempt of these assessments.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Scanning Tunneling Microscope; Piezo scanners and piezo motors; Revision harmonic oscillators Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 02 Vacuum technologies; Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy; Introduction to force spectroscopy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 03 Force spectroscopy applications in biomedicine; Physical virology Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 04 Lock-in amplifiers; Amplitude Modulation in AFM Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 High speed AFM to study molecular motors at work and other biological processes Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Measuring electric and magnetic interactions at the nanoscale; Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy; Magnetic Force Microscopy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Fluorescence; Wide-field Fluorescence microscopy; Confocal microscopy; Transmitted Differential Interference Constrast; Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Technologies to measure the mass and volume of cells Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Single-cell viral infection method; Changes in cell mass dynamics upon viral infection; Real-time mass dynamics of animal and yeast cells Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Lab demonstration Practical (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Flexible learning activity that may include visit to Sydney Microscopy and Microanalysis facilities to learn more about nanotechnologies and their applications. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Lab demonstration Practical (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Revision of concepts and students presentations Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Find, critically analyse and effectively communicate research and technological developments described in scientific literature and/or patents that are related to nanotechnologies covered over the course.
  • LO2. Effectively interpret and communicate developed solutions to proposed problems.
  • LO3. Understand the value and need of multidisciplinary approaches to productively address scientific and technological challenges at the nanoscale in the interphase of physics, biology and engineering.
  • LO4. Understand and employ fundamental scientific working principles related to microresonators, scanning probe microscopies and other technologies of interest in nanotechnology.
  • LO5. Develop creative solutions changing the configuration and/or properties of key elements of microresonators and scanning probe microscopy techniques to theoretically achieve proposed aims.
  • LO6. Apply mathematical techniques to solve relevant equations of interest in nanotechnology.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

An extension of time for the presentation assessment has been provided. The mid-semester test and final exams will take place as in-class invigilated assessments to increase the levels of integrity.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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