Discovering the Fascinating World of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

UAB Barcelona Summer School

28-Discovering the Fascinating World of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology - María José Esplandiu

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Course Fee: 850 €
Course Fee for UAB students and Alumni UAB Premium+ : 200 €
Teaching Language: English
Place: UAB Campus Belltaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona
Teaching Period:  12 July to 30 July, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Registration of international and national students (non-UAB students) before May 16 will get 20% discount.

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Enrolment guidelines


The UAB aims is to provide this course on-site. However, we are also prepared to switch to online-only mode when governmental restrictions are introduced or in place because of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Due to this uncertain situation, we will announce the approach and interaction forms concerning this course at a later stage in 2021 (June-July).



Dr. María José Esplandiu received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the National University of Córdoba, Argentina in 1995. She did postdoctoral studies at the Technical University of Dresden and Ulm in Germany, at the University of California at Los Angeles and at the California Institute of Technology in USA. In 2004 she obtained a Ramón y Cajal position in Spain, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Since 2009, she is a CSIC tenured Scientist at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and associate professor at UAB. Her research focuses on surface (electro)chemistry, surface nanoengineering, and interfacial phenomena for applications in carbon based nanoelectronics, sensors, and micro/nanomotors.

Dr. Xavier Borrisé is the responsible for the Nanolithography Laboratory of the Largest Clean-Room in Spain (IMB-CNM), with users from different institutions working in Electron Beam Lithography, Focused Ion Beam or NanoImprint technologies, among others. He is collaborating with researchers in topics as Nanofabrication of Nanoelectromechanical, Nanoelectrodes and Nanoelectronics Devices, as well as lithography developments with other Clean-Room Facilities.

  • Department of Chemistry department and Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • E-mail:;


Contents overview

Nanotechnology is emerging as a very powerful tool capable of revolutionizing and changing our way of life. Nano-objects and nanostructures exhibit new phenomena and properties that are unthinkable in the macroscopic world. Such new phenomena and properties can be exploited to provide solutions for the great social challenges in medicine, energy and the environment. The student is invited to embark on a fascinating journey to discover the great power of the small.

The objective of the subject is to familiarize the student with the concept of nanoscience and nanotechnology and to provide a thorough grounding of the scientific reasons behind the different behaviour that materials exhibit when they are miniaturized and how the nanomaterials can be observed, manipulated or synthesized in the nanoscale. On the other hand, it is intended to explain and raise awareness of the use of these nanomaterials for innovative technological developments in areas such as health, environmental remediation, information / communication, energy production / storage, synthesis and manufacturing of new materials, etc.

It is also expected that the student becomes aware of the multidisciplinary training that must be acquired to work in this field and the ethical, social and risk implications that these new disciplines may entail. The course will be complemented by some demonstrative practices in the classroom that will help to understand the fascinating world of materials at the nanoscale level.


Week programme


 Week   Contents Teaching/learning activities

Fundamental concepts

Concept of nanoscience and nanotechnology. The nanoscale. Impact of the nanotechnology in society. Ethical, social, economic and environmental implications. -Nanotechnology in history and in nature. Bioinspiration.

Size dependent physical and chemical properties. Surface effects. Importance of the surface at nanoscale. The surface/volume ratio. Surface energy at solids.

Surface reactivity and catalysis. Surface reconstruction and relaxation. Adsorption and electrical double layer effects. Surface tension in liquids, contact angles and capillary forces.

Size dependent properties: quantum effects. The classical theory vs. quantum theory. Black body radiation. Photoelectric effect. The Rutherford and Bohr atom. The electron as wave and particle. Wavefunction and uncertainty principle. Schroedinger equation. Particle in a box. Energy discretization and confinement effect. Tunnel effect.

Daily lectures

Debate on “The ethics and societal impact of


Homework problems related to size dependent physical and chemical properties



Graphene and carbon nanotubes: synthesis, properties and applications.

Colloids and their properties. Metal, semiconductor and magnetic nanoparticles. Synthesis, properties and applications.

Nanomaterials based on lipids, polymers and proteins: properties and applications. Smart materials: Stimuli responsive and self-healing nanomaterials. Molecular motors and switches.

Concept of self-assembly, hierarchical organization. DNA and protein based supramolecular structures

Daily Lectures


Synthesis of carbon Nanotubes Synthesis of Graphene Synthesis of gold nanoparticles

Characterization and Nanofabrication techniques

Techniques based on the interaction of electromagnetic radiation/materials. Synchrotron radiation.

Characterization techniques based on the interaction of electrons/materials. Transmission electron Microscopy and Scanning electron Microscopy. Chemical Microanalysis.

Scanning probe nanoscopies based on the interaction of a tip with a sample. Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and different modes of Atomic force Microscopy. Force spectroscopy.

Nanofabrication techniques: top-down and bottom-up approach. Photolithography. Electron and ion beam lithography. Applications.

Lithography based on scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Dip-pen nanolithography. Applications.          

Daily Lectures


Nanomaterials imaging with electron microscopies.

Nanofabrication by Electron Beam Lithography

Visit of laboratories at the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology and the National Center of Microelectronics 



One written exam at the end of the course of the concepts taught in class with an overall weight of 80%.  Delivery of solved problems and interactive debates with an overall weight of 20% in the first and second week respectively.


Links and references

  • “Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology” by Gabor L. Hornyak, H.F. Tibbals, Joydeep Dutta, John J. Moore.
  • “Concepts of Nanochemistry” by Ludovico Cademartiri and Geoffrey A. Ozin.