Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit introduces a variety of imaging and analytical methods used in the characterisation of materials/biomaterials and associated cells and tissue, with a particular focus toward biomedical engineering and synthetic biology applications. Topics are likely to include (1) imaging materials/biomaterials using light and electrons (light microscopy, confocal microscopy, super-resolution optical microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy); (2) crystal structure analysis using electrons and X-rays (electron diffraction, X-ray diffraction); (3) element analysis using electrons (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, electron energy-loss spectroscopy); and (4) ‘omics' analysis using mass spectrometry (metabolomics, proteomics).

Students gain insight into how these technologies are used in materials/biomaterials characterisation and to understand data acquired across these platforms from both materials and living tissues. Content includes theoretical principles of the techniques, as well as practical data analysis, critique and interpretation.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) explain the capabilities of key characterisation infrastructure/techniques used to analyse materials/biomaterials; (2) show how these techniques can be used to characterise the structure and composition of materials; (3) demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental principles of x-ray, electron, and surface imaging and analysis techniques; and (4) analyse and interpret data from imaging, crystallographic, spectroscopic, and mass spectrometry techniques.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) Assignment 1—data analysis and interpretation topic 1; (2) assignment 2—data analysis and interpretation topic 2; and (3) exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Martin Saunders
Unit rules
62550 Master of Professional Engineering (ID 356) Biomedical Engineering specialisation, Electrical and Electronic Engineering specialisation
or Mechanical Engineering specialisation
or 71580 Master of Biotechnology (ID 389)
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hrs per week
tutorial/activity: 2 hrs per week for up to 12 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.