Skip to main content
Unit outline_

MECH5311: Microscopy and Microanalysis of Materials

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This UoS offers the fundamental knowledge that is essential for the microscopy and microanalysis of materials. The UoS will cover the basic fundamental concepts of materials structures and modern materials characterisation techniques that are available in the University, including X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atom probe tomography, atomic force microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

AMME1362 or AMME9302 or CIVL2110.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Xiaozhou Liao,
Lecturer(s) Anna Ceguerra,
David Martinez Martin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Lab report
Lab report
25% Multiple weeks N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6
Presentation group assignment Presentation
12% Multiple weeks N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Tutorial quiz Quiz
50% Multiple weeks 45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Assignment group assignment presentation written report
13% Week 13
Due date: 29 May 2020 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Lab, seminar and report, and two quizzes

Assessment criteria

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

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.

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.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes

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.

Required readings

  1. Transmission Electron Microscopy, C. Barry Carter and David B. Williams, Spring, ISBN 978-3-319-26651-0 (eBook)
  2. Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy, Stephen J. Pennycook and Peter D. Nellist, Spring, ISBN 978-1-4419-7200-2 (eBook)
  3. Atom Probe Microscopy, Baptiste Gault, Michael P. Moody, Julie M. Cairney, and Simon P. Ringer, Spring, ISBN 978-1-4614-3436-8 (eBook)

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. communicate effectively the microstructures, crystalline structures and crystalline defects of materials in oral and/or written presentations
  • LO2. describe, in relatively simple terms, crystalline lattice structures in reciprocal space, describing theoretically, schematically, and mathematically
  • LO3. communicate effectively several common microstructural characterisation techniques in oral and/or written presentations
  • LO4. describe, in relatively simple terms, the interactions of fast electrons with matter, describing theoretically, schematically, and mathematically
  • LO5. identify crystalline phases using X-ray diffraction and determine crystalline lattice structures using electron diffraction
  • LO6. understand common materials preparation techniques for structural characterisation
  • LO7. understand the basic working mechanism of the scanning electron microscope and microstructural information that can be extracted from electron backscattered images and secondary electron images
  • LO8. understand the basic working mechanism of electron backscatter diffraction and its applications in structural characterisation of materials
  • LO9. understand the basic working mechanisms of the transmission electron microscope, including electron diffraction, imaging and spectrometry, and their applications in materials characterisation
  • LO10. understand the basic working mechanisms of several scanning probe microscopy techniques and their applications in materials research
  • LO11. understand the basic working mechanism of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and its applications in materials research

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.

This is the first time this unit has been offered.


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

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.