• Length:
    5 Weeks
  • Effort:
    8–9 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $750 USD

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  • Course Type:
    Instructor-led on a course schedule

Associated Programs:


Undergraduate degree in engineering or the physical sciences, specifically differential equations and linear algebra.

About this course

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This course introduces the Schrödinger equation, using the tight-binding method to discuss the concept of bandstructure and E(k) relations, followed by an introduction to the NEGF method with simple illustrative examples. Concept of spinors is introduced along with the application of the NEGF method to spintronic devices.

No prior background in quantum mechanics or statistical mechanics is assumed.

Students taking this course will be required to complete three (3) proctored exams using the edX online Proctortrack software. To be sure your computer is compatible, see Proctortrack Technical Requirements.

Nanoscience and Technology MicroMasters ®

Introduction to Quantum Transport is one course in a growing suite of unique, one-credit-hour short courses developed in an edX/Purdue University collaboration. Students may elect to pursue a verified certificate for this specific course alone or as one of the six courses needed for the edX/Purdue MicroMasters® program in Nanoscience and Technology.

For further information and other courses offered, see the Nanoscience and Technology MicroMasters® page. Courses like this can also apply toward a Purdue University MSECE degree for students accepted into the full master’s program.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The Schrödinger equation
  • How the tight-binding model works
  • The concept of bandstructure and E(k) relations
  • Self-energy
  • Broadening
  • NEGF equations
  • Dephasing

Week 1: Schrödinger Equation

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Wave Equation
1.3 Differential to Matrix Equation
1.4 Dispersion Relation
1.5 Counting States

Week 2: Schrödinger Equation (continued)

1.6 Beyond 1D
1.7 Lattice with a Basis
1.8 Graphene
1.9 Reciprocal Lattice/Valleys
1.10 Summing Up

Week 3: Contact-ing Schrödinger & Examples

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Semiclassical Model
2.3 Quantum Model
2.4 NEGF Equations
2.5 Bonus Lecture, NOT covered on exams
2.6 Scattering Theory

Week 4: Contact-ing Schrödinger & Examples (continued)
2.7 Transmission
2.8 Resonant Tunneling
2.9 Dephasing
2.10 Summing Up
3.1 Bonus Lecture, NOT covered on exams
3.2 Quantum Point Contact
3.3 - 3.10 Bonus Lectures, NOT covered on exams

Week 5: Spin Transport

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Magnetic Contacts
4.3 Rotating Contacts
4.4 Vectors and Spinors
4.5 - 4.6 Bonus Lectures NOT covered on exams
4.7 Spin Density/Current
4.8-4.10 Bonus Lectures NOT covered on exams

Text: S. Datta, “Lessons from Nanoelectronics”, Part B: Quantum Transport, World Scientific, Second Edition 2017
The manuscript will be available for download in the course.

Meet your instructors

Supriyo Datta
Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NAE member
Purdue University
Shuvro Chowdhury
PhD Student
Purdue University

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Learner testimonials

From Nobel Prize winner Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University:
"… the pedagogical imperative in research is very important to me, and so I really value a kindred spirit. Your (Datta's) online courses are just wonderful!"

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.