TMM4204 - Nanoscale Surface Dynamic Processes


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Oral exam
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Oral exam 100/100 1 hours D

Course content

Surfaces are complex, dynamic molecular meeting places, where physical and chemical processes create a state of constant flux over a range of length scales. Friction for example causes huge energy losses (23% of the global energy loss), with significant economic and environmental consequences. Real surfaces are complex, not flat, not uniform, and their finite but small width gives rise to large fluctuations, with dynamic processes driving the evolution of complex 3D structures from atomic- to macro- scales.

This course deals with the nanoscale surface dynamic phenomena having implications for diverse disciplines with focus on real system functions: miniaturized electronics, biological surfaces, composite materials, or infrastructures. The main topics of study in this course are: adsorption, electrochemistry, surface transport, modelling methods, surface characterisation methods at nanoscale including spectroscopic and microscopic methods (like f.ex spectroscopy, AFM, QCM, XPS, FIB), nanotribology, lubrication and lubricants, surface chemistry.

Learning outcome


  • Surface definitions and understanding of what a surface is
  • acting surface forces/adhesion and surface roughness
  • how surface and near subsurface characteristics influence the surface performance and the bulk material performance
  • surface-environment interaction
  • surface dynamics (adsorption, diffusion, etc)
  • theoretical understanding and modelling of surface phenomena


  • Surface design
  • understanding the different impact of surface scales for the actual performance
  • select appropriate experimental techniques to study specific surface phenomena
  • use the acquired knowledge to assess how a surface will behave in real systems
  • learn how to use computational resources to model and understand surfaces
  • decide on experimental techniques for surface characterization depending on the surface application and performance challenge
  • based on surface characterization results find an optimization strategy for performance increase.

General competence:

  • Evaluate limitations of common approximations in the field of surfaces and interfaces
  • understand which nanoscale experimental techniques are suitable to study specific surface phenomena

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and projects (in group or individual depending on the number of students).

The examination questions will be given in English only, but students are free to choose Norwegian or English for answering.

Compulsory assignments

  • Report 1
  • Report 2
  • Report 3
  • Report 4

Further on evaluation

Compulsory activities from previous semesters may be approved by the department.

Course materials

There is no text book covering all the topics of this course, therefore the learning materials will be the following: lecture notes and powerpoint presentations, selected research papers and selected book chapters.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2023

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Machine Design and Materials Technology - Materials Production Processes
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Materials Technology and Electrochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Surface Physics
  • Nanotechnology


Examination arrangement: Oral exam

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Oral exam 100/100 D 2023-12-04 09:00
Room Building Number of candidates
Summer UTS Oral exam 100/100 D
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

More on examinations at NTNU