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What sort of professionals work in nanofabrication?

  1. Jun 4, 2014 #1
    For the past few months I have been working in an CM experiment lab at my university (I just wrapped up my first year of undergrad) and am now working for the same professor in an REU over the summer. Though my work, I have come into a lot of contact with nanofabrication techniques (Lithography, chip production, etc) and have become totally fascinated by it.

    I am beginning to consider this as a career path and am wondering what sort of educational background someone who works on chip development (or any nanofabrication) at, say, Intel or IBM would need.

    I am currently a Physics major and would like to stay one - for both sheer interest in the topic and a bothersome scholarship that I lose if I change my major. Is this something a physicist would do? I am also open to grad school in other fields (Materials Science? EE?).

    Any insights are much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2014 #2


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    First off, chip development is distinct from chip fabrication. Chip fabrication is *heavily* being offshored and Intel is one of the last companies to be really innovating. All signs are that IBM is slowly getting out of the chip fab business (but who knows what their plans are?). There are some niche operations here and there but most process development is happening overseas. Sorry. If you want a job in a sunset industry, most engineers in that area have EE degrees, even though they study a lot of chemistry and materials science in their graduate programs. I'm sure they would be open to hiring a physicist with specific experience for that type of work but like most engineering specialities having a physics degree would be something you would need to overcome, it wouldn't be an asset.

    If you're interested in chip development, that's EE all the way. It is a highly technical and specialized field.

    I should add that there are a lot of interesting things being done in nanofabrication but it is very much in the competitive / R&D phase. Most people I know in the area studied EE, Materials Science, or Physical Chemistry.
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