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Coursework in Applied Sciences and Engineering

The Department of Applied Physical Sciences (APS) is developing a variety of courses that will integrate into our undergraduate academic programs and make engineering and making concepts accessible to all UNC students. An undergraduate major will be offered beginning Fall 2023.*

*The undergraduate division of the Applied Physical Sciences department timeline is tentative.

Spring 2020 Course Listing

APPL 110 — Intro to Design and Making: Developing Your Personal Design Potential
3 Credits.

Students work in flexible, interdisciplinary teams to assess opportunities, brainstorm, and prototype solutions. Design thinking and physical prototyping skills are developed through fast-paced, iterative exercises in a variety of contexts and environments.

APPL 290-001 — Materials Science and Engineering: Living in a Material World
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number will be APPL 260 pending approval.)
An introduction to a broad range of topics in materials science and with a strong focus on how materials, processing and engineering come together in design and vice versa. Why are some materials hard and others soft? Why can certain plastics be lighter than steel and at the same time be stronger? How do I select materials for a sustainable design?
Requisites: CHEM 102 and PHYS 116 or 118

APPL 290-002 — Developing Your Sixth Sense: Designing Sensors and Electrical Circuits to make Measurements
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number will be APPL 240 pending approval).
How can you measure temperature, pH, heart rate, movement, distance or anything else in the physical world? First, you need a sensor! In this class, we will learn how to analyze, design, and build systems for the entire sensor to measurement process. We will use a variety of sensors that measure physical and environmental parameters. We will model these sensors and understand how they work and interact with electrical circuits. We will learn the basics of circuit design and analysis so that we can amplify and “clean up” the signals with filters. Finally, we will learn how to acquire these signals to a computer through data acquisition hardware and LabView software.
Requisites: ONE of the following – PHYS 105, 115, 117, or 119.

APPL390 — Convergent Engineering: Team-Science Approaches to Discovery and Innovation
3 Credits. (Permanent course number will be APPL 405 pending approval.)
Students will participate in various take-home and in-class activities, group discussion and problem-solving coaching to enhance understanding of how chemistry, physics, materials science and biology are applied to engineering. There will be special focus on BioEngineering, Chemical, Mechanical and Environmental Engineering. Discussions of relevant scientific literature introduce each topic. Guest lecturers and faculty will provide perspectives in fields like mathematical modeling, mechanical engineering or circuit design so students gain a true interdisciplinary view of topics.

APPL 412 — Design and Making: Turning Your Entrepreneurial Ideas Into Reality
3 Credits.

Do you have an entrepreneurial idea and you would like to make a prototype to turn your idea into reality? Or do you want to experience the design and making process? In this class, you will go through this process for a semester-long project. The final outcome will be a prototype that meets an entrepreneurial need. Students from any major are welcome to take this class.
Requisites: Prerequisites, ECON 125, Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Orientation in the BeAM makerspace is also required.

APPL 420Introduction to Polymer Chemistry
3 Credits.

Chemical structure and nomenclature of macromolecules, synthesis of polymers, characteristic polymer properties.
Requisites: Prerequisites,CHEM 261 or 261H; pre- or corequisites, CHEM 262 or 262H, and 262L or 263L
Same as: CHEM 420

APPL 460 — Optical Instrumentation for Scientists and Engineers
3 Credits.

This course introduces principles of optical system design, covering a broad variety of imaging and microscopy instruments. The material will include computational methods for optical signal processing and basic principles governing light-matter interactions. The course will include theory and hands-on experience to implement and test methods. We will discuss recent publications and state-of-the-art optical systems which are task-driven, controlled by computers, tailored to specific applications, and optimized to monitor or manipulate complex systems.
Requisites: No prerequisites

APPL 490-002 — Sponge Bob SquarePants and other Soft Materials
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number will be APPL 465 pending approval.)
What kind of material is Sponge Bob made of? Or, what about the slime of his pet snail, Gary? We are taught that there are three states of matter: solid, gas, and liquid. However, in our daily lives we encounter materials that challenge this simple description such as foams, pastes, gels, soap, and rubber. These are Soft Materials and in this course we will learn about their special properties.
Requisites: TBD

APPL 490-003 — Nanophotonics
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number will be APPL 435 pending approval.)
This course introduces the principles of nanophotonics – an emerging frontier at the nexus of nanotechnology and photonics that deals with light-matter interactions at the nanometer scale. The course will cover the theoretical foundations of nanoscale optical interactions, fabrication and characterization of optical nanomaterials, plasmonics, optical trapping and manipulation, electrodynamic simulations, and applications of nanophotonics.
Requisites: PHYS117 or CHEM251 or permission of the instructor.