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A good time to join the graphene bandwagon?

  1. Feb 23, 2014 #1
    Graphene research has been going on for a decade now, with huge numbers of researchers piling in to get a cut of the magic. I have a PhD offer in the topic of the mechanical properties of graphene, and I am pondering whether to accept and join the bandwagon myself.

    I would be interested to hear people's experiences and opinions on situations like this, in which there is a sudden explosion in research in a completely new area. I have a few questions of my own:

    1. Does the fact that so many people are in the field now mean that it will be harder to do a phd with a strong impact? With so many competitors who have been in the field a while, is it not harder for a student to catch up and do something worthwhile in their thesis when the pace of the field is so great?

    2. What happens to the job market in these situations? Will the large cohort of phd students trained in the graphene boom years be in trouble when research subsides and funding decreases?

    3. After my graphene phd, how easy would it be to move to a different area of research in the broader field of nanoscience/nanotech? If I had been trained in 2D materials, could I make the move to say microfluidics or microrobotics or similar?

    I have little understanding or insight into the pro's and con's of joining emerging fields such as this, so would be grateful for any offered here. Cheers!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2014 #2


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    I am wondering the same thing because I am considering joining a graphene research group when I start grad school this Fall.
  4. Feb 23, 2014 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    The advantage of a hot field is that it is interesting and there are a lot of people working on it. The disadvantage of a hot field is that it is interesting and there are a lot of people working on it.

    I think it is a mistake to think of this as a process that makes you a graphene expert. It would be much wiser to think of this as a process that makes you an expert in thin films and particularly mechanical properties of thin films.
  5. Feb 24, 2014 #4
    ^^very excellent observation considering that thin films are actually a very broad and important topic with lots of flexible avenues of study and potential in industry.
  6. Feb 24, 2014 #5
    Be an investor rather than an investigator...
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