The Catholic University of America

Course Descriptions

1. Computational Methods for Graduate Students

Discretization methods (finite differences, finite volumes, finite elements), stability and convergence; parabolic, hyperbolic, and elliptic PDEs: model equations and numerical solutions method. Numerous programming exercises will be assigned.

2. Mathematical Analysis for Graduate Students
Ordinary Differential Equations. Laplace transform. Series solutions of ODEs (Bessel functions, Legendre polynomials). Boundary Value Problems. Fourier series and Fourier transform. Classification of PDEs and solution of model equations (wave equation, heat equation, Laplace equation).
3. Introduction to Materials Engineering
This course is for scientists and engineers trained in their own disciplines and now needing understanding of the concepts and practices employed in the science and technology of advanced materials. Metals, ceramics, polymers and composite materials will be covered. The course shows that the behavior of materials is directly linked to their fundamental structures, and how structures and hence properties may be altered through processing. Properties, processing, design and environmental protection and degradation will be considered. Case studies in materials selection will be included and some examples of state-of-the-art applications of novel materials will be given. Advanced techniques available for materials characterization will also be introduced.
4. Mechanical Properties of Materials
In this course we will learn about the mechanical properties of materials, from the continuum description of properties to the atomistic and molecular mechanisms that confer those properties to all materials. We will cover elastic and plastic deformation, creep, and fracture of materials including crystalline and amorphous metals, ceramics, and (bio)polymers, and will focus on the design and processing of materials from the atomic to the macroscale to achieve desired mechanical behavior.
5. Electrical Properties of Materials
This course covers the fundamental concepts that determine the electrical, optical, magnetic and mechanical properties of metals, semiconductors, ceramics and polymers. The roles of bonding, structure (crystalline, defect, energy band and microstructure) and composition in influencing and controlling physical properties will be discussed. Also included will be case studies drawn from a variety of applications: semiconductor diodes and optical detectors, sensors, thin films, and others. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and will be taught the concepts of tunneling, superconductivity, giant-magneto resistivity with the help of such concepts.
6. Kinetics of Materials: Physical Properties
This course focuses on the phase transformation and solidification kinetics in metallic systems. Topics to be included are i) Solution Thermodynamics, ii) Phase Diagrams, iii) Solid-State diffusion, iv) Nucleation and growth, v) Annealing phenomena, vi) Solid Solutions, vii) Precipitation hardening, viii) Application to technologically important alloy systems. Various electron microscopic analytical methods (SEM and TEM) and X-ray analyses will be covered. Other concepts to be introduced are bonding and crystal defects such as: vacancies, dislocations, grain boundaries.
7. Technology Development and Evaluation
The capacity to use data to inform practices and improve results is critical in this age of data driven accountability. This course will prepare students to use data-driven evaluative processes to improve technology practices within a system. The course will be divided into 3 components with each focused on the use of data to evaluate multiple perspectives related to effective use of technology. Choice of material has implications throughout the life-cycle of a product, influencing many aspects of economic and environmental performance. This course will provide a survey of methods for evaluating those implications. Lectures will cover topics in material choice concepts, fundamentals of engineering economics, manufacturing economics modeling methods, and life-cycle environmental evaluation.
8. Polymer Engineering / Soft Materials
This course will serve as an introduction to soft condensed matter (polymers, colloids, liquid crystals, amphiphiles, gels and biomaterials) and will cover general aspects of chemistry, structure, properties and applications with emphasis on chemistry and forces related to molecular self-assembly. Topical coverage will include: 1) kinetics in materials synthesis, growth and transformation; 2) preparation methods; 3) formation, assembly, phase behavior, and molecular ordering; 4) structure, function, and phase transition of nucleic acids, proteins, polysaccharides and lipids; 5) techniques to characterize structure, phase and dynamics of soft materials and 6) application of soft materials in nanotechnology. Examples illustrate technologically relevant materials in current nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nano-biotechnology, such as block copolymers thin films, colloidal photonic crystals, micelles, vesicles, hydro-gels, photosensitive materials, and materials in soft lithography.
9. Artificial Organ Engineering
Due to shortage of donor organs, hybrid tissue-engineered organs, skin and urinary bladders, are being increasingly designed and used successfully for various purposes such as: burn-injury and replacing cancerous bladder. Students will be introduced to a variety of cultured cells and tissues which are grown in controlled environments of bioreactors with the precursors of amino-acids and growth factors assembled on biodegradable biomaterials, e.g. polylactate and polyglycolate in the shape of replaceable organs. Students will learn how the biodegradable polymers with donor cells are slowly degraded by regional tissues enzymes. An interdisciplinary approach using basic biology, biomaterials science and cellular assembly will be incorporated to introduce students to design artificial organs to prolong human life. A variety of materials (metals, alloys, polymers (synthetic and natural), immobilized drugs and their combination) will be evaluated for organ designing purposes. Differences in reaction of the human body for prosthetic materials and organ transplants will be covered to demonstrate the issues involved in organ transplants.
10. Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Materials
This course explores materials and materials processes from the perspective of thermodynamics and kinetics. The thermodynamics aspect includes laws of thermodynamics, solution theory and equilibrium diagrams. The kinetics aspect includes diffusion, phase transformations, and the development of microstructure.
11. Processing of Nano-materials (with lab work)
Students enrolled in this course will learn to process, develop and manipulate nano/micro materials used in nano/micro fabrication. Lectures and laboratory sessions focus on basic processing techniques such as drawing, leaching, photolithography, chemical vapor deposition, and more. Through team lab assignments, students will be expected to gain an understanding of these processing techniques to produce nano/micro materials.
12. Lithography of Nanostructures (with lab work)
This course is designed for students who are interested in using electron beam lithography in their research projects.  The lectures will cover the basic principles of e-beam lithography, describing the basic hardware and software concepts of a typical instrument in use.
13. Nano-mechanics of Materials
This course focuses on the latest scientific developments and discoveries in the field of nanomechanics, the study of forces and motion on extremely tiny (10-9 m) areas of synthetic and biological materials and structures. At this level, mechanical properties are intimately related to chemistry, physics, and mechanics.
14. Introduction to Biomaterials
Introduction to materials, their surface and mechanical properties. Biomaterials used in prosthetic devices, dentures, arterial grafts, orthopedic implants, and other medical applications. Biocompatibility, biomaterial/tissue interactions, and other factors involved in the design of implants.
15. Biomechanics of Hard Tissue
The inter-relationships among nanoscale and macroscale structural features and functional properties will be covered from a mechanical properties of materials and fracture mechanics perspective.  Topics that will be covered in this course include atomic bonding, mechanical properties characterization tools and techniques for various length scales, and case studies involving unique biological hard tissues and biomineralized structures such as bone, teeth, nacre, arthropod shell, and hard organic materials such as wood and nut shells.
16. Cell and Tissue Engineering
The structure and function of cells, basic principles involved in cell culture, and safety rules in handling cells. Experimental methods used to investigate the cell deformability, adherence strength, and cell motility. Particular emphasis on laminar flow assays and micromanipulation methods. Discussion of recently published papers on tissue engineering.
17. Biomedical Sensors
This course introduces the fundamental principles of biomedical optics and sensors and their applications to real-world devices. In a combination of laboratory and classroom exercises, student will design optical systems for evaluation of optical properties of biological media as well as learn computational methods to simulate light transport into such media. This course also introduces students to various types of biomedical sensors including sensors measuring pressure, flow, motion, temperature, heat flow, evaporation, biopotential, biomagnetism, etc. Underlying measurement principles and design will be emphasized. Various practical applications will be introduced.
18. Optical Systems & Devices
This course will cover the fundamentals of optical signals and modern optical devices and systems from a practical point of view. Its goal is to help students develop a thorough understanding of the underlying physical principles such that device and system design and performance can be predicted, analyzed, and understood.
19. Physics of Electro-optics, Photonics and Magneto-optics
This course will help students to develop a systematic theoretical and practical understanding of electrooptic/photonic/magnetooptic instrumentations employed in the measurement of physical quantities in contemporary scientific, industrial, automotive and avionic applications such as: Doppler-velocimeters for anemometry of fluids, telemeter and anti-collision systems for avionics, non-contact wire-diameter and particle-diameter sizing, alignment and level meter apparatuses, gyroscopes for inertial platforms and more. For each type of instrument, basic principles, physical limitations, reasonable performance expectations, optical design will be covered.
20. Glass Science
This course aims at teaching the unique characteristics of the glassy state, and to describe their role in the processing, application and engineering performance of amorphous materials and glass products. The course will teach the fundamental concepts of amorphous structure, and then utilize them to establish structure-property relations in various glass systems and how they are useful in containing nuclear wastes. The viscosity, thermal expansion, chemical durability, strength behavior, and optical properties of silicate glasses will be emphasized, although the important properties of phosphate, halide and chalcogenide glasses will not be overlooked. Also included will be phenomenological descriptions of glass formation, liquid-liquid immiscibility, viscous flow, structural relaxation, stress relaxation and crystallization in glass. Various methods for the synthesis of glass will be reviewed (melting, CVD and sol/gel), along with important manufacturing processes for commercial glass products. Throughout the course, the applications of glass and glass components in nuclear waste management will be stressed.
21. Industrial Processing of Materials
This course focuses on the major operations in the iron/steel-making and non-ferrous industries; direct reduction processes, blast furnaces, converter and electric-arc steel-making and steel refining methods; electroslag (ESR) and vacuum induction refining (VIR). This course will also cover the scientific and engineering principles of manufacturing of ceramic products including powder synthesis and characterization; surface and colloid chemistry; shape forming and fabrication; and densification by sintering.
22.  Introduction to Organic Chemistry
This course will cover principles of materials chemistry, common to organic materials ranging from biological polypeptides to engineered block copolymers. Topics will include molecular structure, polymer synthesis reactions, protein-protein interactions, multifunctional organic materials including polymeric nanoreactors, conducting polymers and virus-mediated biomineralization.
23.  Introduction to Solid State Chemistry
This course will explore the basic principles of chemistry and their application to engineering systems. It will deal with the relationship between electronic structure, chemical bonding, and atomic order. It will also investigate the characterization of atomic arrangements in crystalline and amorphous solids: metals, ceramics, semiconductors, and polymers (including proteins). Topics to be covered will include organic chemistry, solution chemistry, acid-base equilibria, electrochemistry, biochemistry, chemical kinetics, diffusion, and phase diagrams. Examples will be drawn from industrial practice (including the environmental impact of chemical processes), from energy generation and storage, e.g., batteries and fuel cells, and from emerging technologies, e.g., photonic and biomedical devices.
24.  Electronic Processes in Non-crystalline Materials
This course aims to explain the physical processes and properties of materials arising out of the non-crystalline atomic structure of glassy materials. The effect of non-crystallinity leading to differences in the electronic properties (as compared to crystalline materials) will be covered in considerable detail. Differences in properties between crystalline and non-crystalline materials having the same chemical composition (such as SiO2) will be studied in great detail. Other physical properties such as thermopower, electrical and thermal conductivities and optical absorption in non-crystalline materials will also be covered.
25. Electrochemical Processing of Materials
This course is designed for students to learn topics such as: electrochemical interfaces, electrode reactions, thermodynamics, kinetics and transport processes in electrochemical systems. Other areas covered will be: electrochemical reactors and processes, modeling, design and economics, electrochemical technologies; electrosynthesis, batteries and fuel cells.
26. Micro- and Nano-Device Processing
A multi-disciplinary graduate course on the principles of micro/nano fabrication with research and industrial perspectives. It aims to help students from a broad range of Applied Sciences engage the global trend to miniaturize devices (microcircuits, transducers, displays, instruments, material process units) and to integrate them into micro/nano systems. An ongoing articulation of generic principles is illustrated by practices rooted in both mainstream micro and nano-electronics.
27. Introduction to Imaging Technologies / Biomedical Imaging
This course is meant to be an introduction to the contemporary imaging technologies and biomedical imaging in particular. It will provide students with an overview of the key concepts behind the main imaging modalities used in diagnostic imaging. The main emphasis will be on explaining the physical principles and algorithms underlying X-ray imaging, computed X-ray tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, single-photon emission tomography, positron emission tomography and ultrasound imaging. A secondary objective will be to introduce the student to some of the main elements of imaging systems and hardware that exploit the former principles and create biomedical images. A small last section of the course will be devoted to introduce some basic concepts of biomedical image computing.
28. Device Fabrication Technology
This course will introduce the theory and technology of semiconductor fabrication. Lectures will focus on basic processing techniques such as diffusion, oxidation, photolithography, chemical vapor deposition, and more. Through team assignments, students will be expected to gain an understanding of these processing techniques and how they are applied in concert to device fabrication. Students enrolled in this course will learn to fashion and test micro/nano-devices, using modern techniques and technology.
29-31. Seminar, Graduate Thesis, Special Topics
These topics will be offered selectively from time to time with focus on different subjects of interest to groups of students as listed under the section “Special Topics Courses.