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Physics Career in Nanotechnology

  1. Sep 3, 2016 #1
    I am interested in pursuing a career in nanotechnology however i would like to know if i should do a B.TECH. Nanotechnology degree or something more specific like an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, materials science, etc.
    Please let me know which will be beneficial for my future in nanotechnology.
    I am currently doing a foundation programme(A one year programme to be eligible for an undergraduate degree) and i have finished my O levels, CIE.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2016 #2


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    "Nanotechnology" is a pretty broad term. There are many different educational avenues that can lead to a career working with some kind of nanotechnology. A lot depends on the specifics of what you really want to do.

    Many things in the world of nanotech are changing rapidly. From the point of view of an education, veering away from anything that that may focus too specifically on immediate or potentially transient technologies might be a good idea. So from that point of view looking into fields like chemical engineering, physical chemistry, physics, electrical engineering or materials science could lead to a career in the nanotechnology field.
  4. Sep 3, 2016 #3
    Thanks for your quick reply copy.

    I had the same concern about the rapid change. The university I am studying in offers Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and nanotechnology. Therefore, my main query is whether I should do a degree in nanotechnology or something like EE or materials science.

    I uses to think that doing an undergraduate degree in electrical or chemical engineering or materials science would be too specific and by doing a degree in nanotechnology I would have more scope in the future, am I wrong?

    Just to be clear, the university I study in does offer a degree in nanotechnology as well as electrical and chemical engineering.

    Thank you
  5. Sep 4, 2016 #4
    Do a BSc in physics or chemistry. Pick the right thesis and projects. Then do a nanotechnology MSc or PhD or both.

    There's several ways to approach nanotechnology.

    EE and ChemE are probably not logical choices.
    They are more general engineering degrees. You want to be a scientist instead, right?
    They give you a problem solving toolbox for engineering problems, and then some scientific background of their flavor.

    Not sure why you say nanotechnology is broader. You mean the other way around?
  6. Sep 4, 2016 #5
    Yes I do want to go into nanoscience. The thing is my current options are limited; B.TECH NANOTECHNOLOGY, EE and ChemE are the only degrees offered that are close to nanotechnology(computer science is also available). However, a BSc in physics or chemistry is not offered.

    The reason I am thinking of doing B. TECH nanotechnology is that I can later master in a wider range of nano related fields when compared to doing EE or ChemE.

    I had checked online and many sites had suggested that EE, ChemE, materials science, BSc physics and Chem are ways to get into this field. As I mentioned above only EE, ChemE and B.TECH nanotechnology is available to me.

    Please let me know what you feel would be advisable with my current options.

    Thanks a lot
  7. Sep 4, 2016 #6
    If you know the university already 100%, just check the courses they provide. I suspect that the nanotechnology programme will not differ that much from the other and that all three degrees share the common engineering core. And that core might not be as useful if you want to go into academics.

    Electronics isn't that important to nanotechnology. Chemical process technology neither is. Common engineering core will also have no direct usage to you as a scientist in the field of nanotechnology. Basic knowledge of chemistry can be extremely essential. Will be covered in chemiE but not in EE, but likely you won't be properly trained as a chemist in ChemE. Knowledge about orbital theory is going to be important. This may be glossed over in electrical and chemical engineering. Material science is also an important subject. So is physical chemistry. But it depends on what kind of nano-stuff you are making. Coordination complexes. Carbon nanotubes. Polymers. Proteins. Liquid crystals, metal particles, quantum dots, silica particles, etc etc. Or maybe you aren't making them, but studying their properties.
  8. Sep 4, 2016 #7
    Wow thanks a lot for that list.

    Yes I gave checked with the university and those were my options.

    Due to this I was going to do the nanotechnology degree and on the side, probably from online resources, library books, etc. Learn more about what I would need, such as the things you mentions above.

    Is that fine?
  9. Sep 4, 2016 #8
    Sure, you are just starting out. Maybe you will change your mind 5 times about what interests you most and what kind of career you want. If you are interested in nanotechnology and they offer a nanotechnology B.TECH, what is the problem? Just do that programme.

    If you were looking to pick the best option out of 20 universities, then that's a different issue. But there is one university and one nanotechnology programme.
    You can always ask your teachers to help you explain more about a certain field, if they are involved in it. And if you get access to journals through universities, you can read what is going on right now in nanotechnology and read reviews about the state of the field.

    If you want more options, you cannot limit yourself to one university. And it seems your university is an engineering school. That's not a problem, but a flavor of it is different compared to a fundamental science school.

    There's a dozen different kinds of nanotechnology and a dozen different methods to study them, and the field will change while you are doing your degree. You just want to make sure you get some strong foundations in fundamental chemistry and the relevant physics, plus lab experience with some important techniques. Ideally in your bachelor, but if you can't you can still pick it up in your master.
    A B.Tech in EE or ChemE will not prepare you adequately for research in the field of nanotechnology. You didn't say you want to do an MSc, but it sounds like you do. Try to make sure that your bachelor gives you access to the MSc you are eyeing.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  10. Sep 4, 2016 #9
    Thanks a lot Asteropaeus for taking the time to help me out, and I want to pursue an MSc in the future.
  11. Sep 21, 2016 #10


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    I just noticed this thread and just wanted to add that whereas the advice given so far is correct, it is also -in my view- incomplete.

    The problem is simply that -as has already been pointed out- "nanotechnology" has become such a broad term that is it virtually useless. The advice about getting a good grounding in chemistry and physics is correct, but only for SOME types of nanotechnology. If your "definition" of nanotechnology is to be able to e.g. fabricate very small devices in a cleanroom using e-beam lithography you do not need to know much chemistry (beyond the usual high school stuff) at all (what you study would depend on what the devices does, usually physics or EE); but someone who works on e.g. self-assembles systems will need to know a LOT about chemistry (and possibly also biology).

    Hence, my advice would be to forget about "nanotechnology" as such. Focus on looking at the actual content of the programs when trying to decide what do study.
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