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nanoHUB-U: Fundamentals of Nanoelectronics, Part 1: Basic Concepts

First in a two part series, Part 1: Basic Concepts is designed to convey the key concepts developed in the last 20 years, which constitute the fundamentals of nanoelectronics and mesoscopic physics. For part 2: Quantum Models, please visit:


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About the Instructor

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Supriyo Datta

Purdue University

Supriyo Datta received his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979. In 1981, he joined Purdue University, where he is (since 1999) the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He started his career in the field of ultrasonics and was selected by the Ultrasonics group as its outstanding young engineer to receive an IEEE Centennial Key to the Future Award and by the ASEE to receive the Terman Award for his book on Surface Acoustic Wave Devices.

Since 1985 he has focused on current flow in nanoscale electronic devices and the approach pioneered by his group for the description of quantum transport, combining the non-equilibrium Green function (NEGF) formalism of many-body physics with the Landauer formalism from mesoscopic physics, has been widely adopted in the field of nanoelectronics. This is described in his books Electronic Transport in Mesoscopic Systems (Cambridge 1995) and Quantum Transport: Atom to Transistor (Cambridge 2005) and he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for this work.

Datta is also well-known for his contributions to spin electronics and molecular electronics. He has received Technical Field Awards from the IEEE both for research and for graduate teaching and was selected by Sigma Xi to receive the Procter Prize (

The problem of current flow involves many fundamental issues of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and with this in mind, Datta’s latest book Lessons from Nanoelectronics: A New Perspective on Transport (World Scientific 2012) tries to make the insights gained from nanoelectronics accessible to a broader audience ( ).


A free two-part series of online courses covering the basic concepts and quantum models of nanoelectronics

For part 2: Quantum Models, please visit:

Prof. Supriyo Datta presented nanoHUB-U’s first online courses in Spring 2012: Two 5-week courses refined and condensed from his original 2-semester (30 weeks) course on Nanoelectronics and Quantum Transport at Purdue University.

Nearly a thousand students registered for these courses, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

“The course was just awesome…. and Prof Datta’s style of delivering lecture is mind blowing.”

Over 35% of those registered went on to complete the exams and receive proofs of completion and digital badges.

We have now made these courses available in self-paced format.


This course is intended to be broadly accessible to students in any branch of science or engineering.

Basic Concepts assumes basic familiarity with calculus and elementary differential equations.

NO prior acquaintance with quantum mechanics is assumed.

Scientific Overview Video:

Basic Concepts

Part 1: Basic Concepts
is designed to convey the key concepts developed in the last 20 years which constitute the fundamentals of nanoelectronics and mesoscopic physics.

Course Outline

Preview the lectures below, or join the course by clicking the yellow button on the right and entering your nanoHUB login information!

Week 1: The New “Ohm’s law” for Nanoscale Resistors

Week 2: The Quantum of Resistance: h/q2 ~ 25,800 Ohms

Week 3: The Nanotransistor: A Device more Numerous than Ants

Week 4: The “Spinning” Electron: A New Device Paradigm

Week 5: Electricity from Heat: Devices for a Greener World


S.Datta, Lessons from Nanoelectronics: A New Perspective in Transport, World Scientific (2012). World Scientific

Course Objectives

Nanoelectronic devices are an integral part of our life, including the billion-plus transistors in every smartphone, each of which has an active region that is only a few hundred atoms in length.

Fundamentals of Nanoelectronics – Basic Concepts, is a unique course developed at Purdue designed to convey the new concepts that have emerged since 1985, which constitute the fundamentals of nanoelectronics and mesoscopic physics.

Even with NO prior background in quantum mechanics, you should learn about cutting-edge developments and concepts that will prepare you for research in nanoelectronics.

Indeed we hope you will be excited to join the field and help invent the new devices that will shape the electronics of this century and meet its challenges.


Course Resources

  • Prerecorded video lectures distilling the essential concepts of nanoelectronics into two concise, five-week modules.
  • Homework exercises with solutions and homework tutorials.
  • Online quizzes to quickly assess understanding of material after each video lecture.
  • Exams for each weekly module for self-testing.


This self-paced course is available at no cost to anyone with a account.

nanoHUB-U is powered by, the home for computational nanoscience and nanotechnology research, education, and collaboration., a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.