KD6041 - Quantum Devices

What will I learn on this module?

Physicists are increasingly able to exploit quantum mechanical behaviour in new optoelectronic devices that will have a profound impact on our lives. These devices offer unprecedented performance in terms of speed and efficiency. The student will develop knowledge of how these characteristics stem from design at the atomic scale and of the challenges associated with scaling-up for practical applications such as sustainable energy and quantum computing.

Background Quantum Theory
Review of quantum mechanical concepts. Density of states function in one, two and three dimensions. Fermi-Dirac occupation function. Electron gas and the Fermi surface. Band theory of semiconductors and doping. Band structure of important semiconductors.

Low-dimensional Semiconductors
Energy and length scales. Fabrication techniques: top down and bottom up. High electron mobility transistor and the two-dimensional electron gas. Quantum Hall effect. Quantum wires and quantised conductance. Semiconductor quantum dots. Measurement methods for quantum devices.

Quantum Devices
Quantum computing, Quantum cryptography, Single photon and entangled photon emitters, Single electron transistor, Semiconductor quantum dot laser, Quantum cascade laser, Optical cavities, Third generation photovoltaics and quantum efficiency, Light emitting diodes and solid-state lighting, Resonant tunnelling diode, Future opportunities for quantum devices: properties of graphene and graphene-based devices; Scaling up nanotechnology, Sustainability and cost.

How will I learn on this module?

A wide range of learning and teaching approaches are used in this module. Lectures are used to allow the students to initially re-acquaint with fundamental concepts in quantum mechanics and condensed matter before the introduction of reduced dimensionality and the implications for practical devices. Seminars support this process through worked examples and virtual demonstrations using multimedia resources. In particular, technology enhanced learning opportunities involve for example, software to visualise three-dimensional plane waves and eigenfunctions of low-dimensional systems. Students gain greater autonomy and independence through this module and are directed to seminal references which provide a basis for further student-led exploration of the state-of-the-art. This process helps students to develop critical thinking skills for example forming judgements on the credibility of a reference. It also provides valuable sector knowledge thereby increasing students’ employability.

Summative assessment is composed of a coursework assignment, which includes an in-person individual viva of 15 mins(worth 70% of the module mark) and a group presentation of 20 minutes duration (worth 30% of the module mark). Formative assessment is used regularly throughout the module and includes tests and informal quizzes.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

In addition to direct contact with the module team during lectures and seminars, students are encouraged to develop their curiosity by making direct contact with the module team either via email or the open-door policy operated throughout the programme. Students will also be regularly referred to supporting resources including relevant texts and multimedia relevant to the module. References to these resources will be made available through the e-learning portal and in lectures and seminars.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Analyse advanced concepts and theory in quantum mechanics and apply this to problems at a conceptual and mathematical level.
2. Critically evaluate the physics behind the nanometre scale quantum features at the device and system level.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Analyse the physics of low-dimensional systems
4. Critically evaluate fabrication and measurement techniques associated with nanometre scale devices and systems.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Effectively and concisely communicate the physics of complex quantum devices, develop enhanced communication and interpersonal skills

How will I be assessed?

1. Coursework (70%) – 1, 3, 5
2. Group Presentation(30%) – 2, 4, 5

1. Seminar problems 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2. Informal quizzes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Feedback is provided to students individually and in a plenary format both written and verbally to help students improve and promote dialogue around the assessment.





Module abstract

As electronic devices continue to shrink, we are increasingly able to exploit quantum behaviour for significant improvements in performance and sustainability. In this module you will learn about state-of-the-art optoelectronic devices from the underpinning quantum mechanics to fabrication techniques at the nanometre scale. The module draws heavily from state-of-the-art research for example in low-dimensional structures such as quantum dots, wires and atomically thin devices. Through the module, problems and examples are used to illustrate both the fundamental and applied nature of the subject. The assessment builds on this through a challenging final coursework assignment. The skills and knowledge gained through this module place you in an excellent position to capitalise on employment opportunities in new markets enabled by nanomaterials and quantum phenomena, or to progress your academic career as a professional physicist.

Course info

UCAS Code F300

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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