Studies & Degrees in Nanotechnology

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Are you interested in an exciting and fast-paced career in the field of Nanotechnology? Have you researched the various branches of nanotechnology; the number of disciplines now incorporating the practice into their work?  The term nanotechnology has only been in existence since the 1980s, coined by a researcher named K. Eric Drexler as a way to explain the possibility of building machines and other devices on the scale of molecules—just a few “nanometers” wide—including motors, robotic arms and even entire computer systems, far smaller than a single cell.  This term has now become commonplace in the scientific arena and is used to describe academic programs at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degree levels that can benefit from nanotechnology, particularly in the fields of medicine, engineering and physics.  To allow you to become a bit more familiar with Nanotechnology degrees, below we briefly explain the focus of these types of studies, the branches of science and engineering in which the technology is used, and a sample of the coursework involved in each of these disciplines.
Nanotechnology Degrees
Nanotechnology can be defined as the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, 'nanotechnology' refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.
There are many degree programs now in existence that include nanotechnology as a specialty in which students can place their focus.  Most of these are graduate (Master’s) and post graduate (PhD) degree programs, although some institutions do offer nanotechnology at the undergraduate level for exceptional students.  Some of the academic disciplines that now incorporate nanotechnology into their degree programs include chemical, biomedical and materials engineering; chemistry and chemical biology; civil, environmental and ocean engineering; mechanical engineering; and physics and engineering physics, just to name a few.  Below is just a sample of some of the coursework within each of these branches of study:
Chemical, Biomedical, and Materials Engineering
  • Fabrication Techniques for Micro and Nano Devices
  • Micro-chemical Systems
  • Bio/Nano Photonics
  • Colloids and Interfacial Phenomena at the Nano-scale
  • Nano-particulate Synthesis, Processing and Applications
  • Nano-catalysis
  • Cr ystallization of Biological Molecules
  • Principles of Inorganic Materials Synthesis
  • Nano-medicine
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Nano-biotechnology
  • Advanced Biomaterials
Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  • Polymers at Solid-Liquid Interfaces
  • Polymer Functionality
  • Cellular Signal Transduction         &n bsp;     
Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
  • Health and Environmental Effects of Nanotechnology
  • Multi-scale Mechanics and Computational Modeling
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Physicochemical Processes for Environmental Control
Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics at the Nano- and Micro-Scale
  • Design and Fabrication of Nano and Micro-electromechanical Systems
  • Multi-Scale System Design
  • Principles of Ultra-precision Engineering
Physics and Engineering Physics
  • Physics and Applications of Semiconductor Nanostructures
  • The Physics of Nanostructures
Careers Opportunities in Nanotechnology

From designing tiny medical diagnostic devices to enhancing energy efficient windows, the field of Nanotechnology offers a wealth of potential career opportunities for qualified graduates. Below is just a small sample of the industries now using nano-scale science and technology—industries in which specialists are in consistent demand:
  • Electronics/semiconductor industry
  • Materials science including textiles, polymers, packaging, among other
  • Auto and aerospace industries
  • Sports equipment
  • Pharmaceuticals including drug delivery, cosmetics, among others
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical fields
  • Optoelectronics
  • Environ mental monitoring and control
  • Food science including quality control and packaging
  • Forensics
  • University and federal lab research
  • National security
  • Military
  • And many more
As the science of nanotechnology continues to grow, impacting our daily lives and changing the way products are made, the number of career prospects for those well-versed in the science will continue to skyrocket.  Experts predict that by 2015 nearly 2 million nanotechnology workers will be needed throughout the world, particularly in the United States, Asia and Europe, and an additional five million support positions will also be created during that same timeframe.

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