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Bionanotechnology (BNT)


Admission requirements

This course is a core course in the MSc Life Science and Technology programme and an elective course for MSc Chemistry Chemical Biology students.
For students with a BSc degree in MST, LST or equivalent. Students should be familiar with basic concepts in Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Thermodynamics and Statistical Thermodynamics.


Bionanotechnology studies the implementation of nanomaterials to understand biology. Bionanotechnology finds many applications in chemical biology research, DNA/protein sequencing, drug delivery systems, sustainable energy, and biosensors.

This course introduces nanotechnologies from a chemical perspective and details to what extent nanotechnology can be used to study biology. A particular focus of the course will be given to graphene, other two-dimensional materials, nanopores, and nanoparticles – with the objective to understand why those new nanomaterials are so much in the spot lights of scientific and academic research. Basic concepts such as bottom-up and top down nanofabrication, surface functionalization, biomolecular sequencing, wetting transparency, colloidal stability, nanocrystal nucleation & growth, electronic device nanophysics, and single molecule biochemistry, are explained first. Then, these elementary blocks will be put in perspective for applications: field-effect biosensing, nanopore sensing, current DNA sequencing technologies, and drug-delivery with nanoparticles.

Course objectives

  • Understanding and knowledge of the use of nanotechnology in the design of sensors, particularly the use of nanopores and single molecule sensors

  • Knowledge of the theoretical foundations of phase diagrams in the context of van der Waals theory and Classical Nucleation Theory

  • Understanding and knowledge of the properties of two dimensional materials (including graphene) in the design of biosensors

  • Knowledge of the theoretical principles that constitute the DLVO theory and the connection with Colloidal Stability

  • Knowledge of graphene properties, synthesis, transfer and device nanofabrication and microfabrication

  • Understanding of the experimental phenomenon of Wetting in terms of the Wetting Diagram and surface tensions involved, and rudimentary knowledge of the theoretical description of Wetting in terms of the Surface Potential

  • Knowledge of colloidal and nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems.


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, problem solving, homework, writing a proposal, oral defense of the proposal.

Assessment method

Written exam (2/3 of the grade) and written proposal with oral defense (1/3 of the grade).

Reading list

G.F. Schneider et al. “Single molecule detection with graphene: nanopores and beyond” (Chemical Society Reviews, 2015), “Chemical and biological sensing with a graphene surface” (Advanced Materials, 2015), “Chemistry of graphene edges” (ChemPhysChem, 2015); handouts; articles.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


G.F. Schneider, E.M. Blokhuis


According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.

Assignment deadlines are communicated via Brightspace.