TMT4301 - Materials Characterization


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: School exam
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
School exam 100/100 4 hours D

Course content

Fundamental theory, basic operation, and application of 3 important materials characterization techniques, including Light Microscopy (LM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-ray characterization. Light Microscopy: construction of instrument, imaging (contrast and resolution mechanism), illumination modes, polarized light, interference microscopy and interference layer of samples; Scanning Electron Microscopy: construction of instrument, electron optics, interactions between electron beam and specimen (secondary electrons, backscattered electrons, X-rays), micro analyses, imaging (detectors, contrast mechanisms), diffraction, low-vacuum SEM, field emission SEM; X-ray characterization: X-ray sources and optics, interactions with matter, diffraction from perfect and imperfect crystals, phase identification and quantification, small angle scattering, total scattering, imaging, tomography and holography, non-destructive testing, software packages.

Learning outcome

The course teaches the students to use the light microscope (LM), the scanning electron microscope (SEM), and X-ray diffraction and scattering. For LM and SEM the students should obtain a profound understanding of the theory behind the microscopes, how they are constructed, how they work and how they are used. The students will learn the basic operation of X-ray sources and optics in laboratory diffractometers and synchrotrons and their application in diffraction, scattering and imaging. Only to a limited extent the course deals with specimen preparation. The course should give the students the necessary skills to carry out the most common microscopy and XRD characterizations, in the first instance within their project and master projects. In addition, the course also serves as a qualification course for the PhD course Electron microscopy. Within LM the students should be able to explain the theory for image formation, contrast, resolution, polarized light applied on metals, interference microscopy, and interference films of samples, and they should be able to explain the manner and mode of operation of accessories like diaphragms, filters, prisms, stoppers and objective lenses. In addition, the students should be able to carry out estimates of resolving power and height differences in the specimen surface (interference microscopy). The students should also know different methods for measuring grain and particle sizes directly in the microscope. Within SEM the students should be able to explain the theories for electron optics, the interactions between electron beam and specimen (secondary and backscattered electrons, X-ray formation), microanalysis (EDS and WDS), image formation (detectors, contrast mechanisms), fractography, as well as different types of SEM microscopes. Furthermore, the students should be able to carry out calculations associated with resolution power, depth of view, atomic number contrast, and element number (Moseleys law). Through practical laboratory work the students should also be able to operate the microscopes and to do necessary adjustments to obtain optimum conditions for imaging, diffraction studies and chemical analysis, i.e. adjustment of acceleration voltage, beam current, working distance, astigmatism and objective aperture. Within X-ray characterization the students should be able to explain the theory of X-ray generation, focusing, diffraction, scattering and imaging. The students should be able to perform calculations in order to design experiments for X-ray diffraction and scattering of powders, polycrystals, surfaces and thin films, and to use state-of-the-art software for post-processing, analysing and refining measured data. The students should be able to operate in-house laboratory diffractometers including sample preparation and necessary software. The students should become familiar with the capabilities of synchrotron X-rays and their possible diffraction, scattering and imaging applications to materials science and engineering problems. Through laboratory work and report writing the students should develop their skills in collaboration and written communication of scientific results.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and mandatory tutorials and laboratory exercises. Instruction is provided in English or Norvegian as needed. If the teaching is given in English the Examination papers can be given in English only. Students are free to choose Norwegian or English for written assessments. Expected time spent: Lectures: 60 hours, laboratory work: 40 hours, exercises: 40 hours, self study: 70 hours.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may change from written to oral.

Required previous knowledge

This course can only be taken by students with a study right in the five-year master's programme in Materials Science and Engineering (MTMT), the two-year master's programme in Materials Science and Engineering (MSMT), the five-year master's programme in Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology (MTKJ)or the two-year master's programme in Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology (MIKJ). The course can however also be taken by Double Degree students who are going to apply for for a study right in either the five-year master's programme in Materials Science and Engineering (MTMT)or the five-year master's programme in Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology (MTKJ).

Course materials

Course material will be announced at the beginning of the semester.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
TMT4300 7.5 AUTUMN 2018
FY8102 5.0 AUTUMN 2018
More on the course



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


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2024

Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Physical Metallurgy
  • Chemistry
  • Technological subjects
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Examination arrangement: School exam

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD School exam 100/100 D INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Summer UTS School exam 100/100 D INSPERA
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"

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