Nano-scale Materials Characterisation

Course summary

Nano-scale Materials Characterisation


This face-to-face course gives an introduction to the most widely-used techniques for materials characterisation for nanoparticles, thin films and nanostructures.

During the weekend students are given information on the latest techniques for nanoparticle characterisation and demonstrated some of the latest pieces of equipment from manufacturers. Explanations of the principles behind the techniques and demonstrations of the equipment allow students to gain an understanding of how best to characterise nanomaterials.

The Nano-scale Materials Characterisation course can be taken alone, as part of the Fundamental Characterisation for Nanotechnology course, or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Nanotechnology.

Please send me an email about future Nano-scale Materials Characterisation courses.


Materials characterisation is the use of external techniques to probe into the internal structure and properties of a material or object. Over the two days, the presentations, discussions and demonstrations focus on characterisation and problem-solving in surface and interface science and technology as well as characterisation of nanoparticles and nanostructures. In particular, the following groups of techniques are considered:

  • Surface specific electron spectroscopic (XPS) and spectrometric (SIMS) techniques;
  • Electron-optical analytical and imaging (EPMA/WDS, SEM/EDS, TEM/EDS, HRTEM) techniques;
  • Photon spectroscopic (IR and Raman probes) and thin-film profilometry techniques;
  • Scanning probe (AFM in various operational modes) and stylus (Dektak) techniques;
  • Light scattering for particle characterisation (particle analysis, dynamic light scattering, centrifugal sedimentation, laser diffraction).

The course is held at the University of Oxford's Begbroke Science Park in association with BegbrokeNano, a well-established focus of characterisation expertise, and one of the UK Technology Strategy Board's Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) Centres.

American Elements, global manufacturer of metal & ceramic nanopowders, semiconductor nanocrystals, nanotechnology materials for spectroscopy & surface analysis of advanced materials
Proudly supported by American Elements.

Programme details

You can take this course in one of three ways:


Short course participants who satisfy the course attendance requirements will receive a Certificate of Attendance.


Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.



The course fee includes tuition, course materials, refreshments and lunch on each day of the course. Transportation from Oxford city centre to the course venue is also provided.


Dr Christiane Norenberg

Director & Tutor

Christiane is the Nanotechnology HEIF Manager at the University of Oxford's Begbroke Science Park. She received her DPhil in Materials Science from the University of Oxford in 1998 and continued with postdoctoral research. In 2001, Christiane was awarded the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship for her work on the growth and characterisation of nanostructures on semiconductor surfaces. After a period as a lecturer at the Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre at Swansea University, Christiane returned to Oxford in 2007 to take up her present post.

Her interests and expertise are in the areas of surface science, growth and characterisation of nanostructures on surfaces, and nanotechnology in general. Christiane also teaches nanoscience and materials science at undergraduate and postgraduate level.


Application deadline: two weeks before the commencement of the course.

We strongly recommend that you download and save files before completing to ensure that all your changes are saved.

This course requires you to complete the application form below, and submit it alongside a copy of your CV.

Please ensure you read the guidance notes before completing the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.