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Study Nanotechnology - Nanoscience Degree Options

Updated on March 2, 2012

Purdue Pete In Indiana

Midevial blacksmiths used nanotechnology in some swords that contain carbon nanotubes
Midevial blacksmiths used nanotechnology in some swords that contain carbon nanotubes | Source

Nanohub, Nanotechnology and Purdue

A decision to study nanotechnology is certain to be a wise course of action for anyone just graduating from high school and also those looking to pursue graduate degree programs in nanotechnology. The emerging field looks to be the next revolutionary force in much the same way that the computer was for this and the most recent generations. With the National Nanotechnology Initiative (a federal program to support nanoscience, technology, and engineering R & D), there has been an influx in funding across the nation and this has resulted in more opportunities for students to study nanotechnology at prestigious universities and colleges. Though nanotechnology does not seem to be in the curriculum at the majority of schools, there are certain core courses that transfer over very well. These include the physics such as quantum mechanics and the materials science classes. There are some excellent nanotechnology degree programs in the United States. A potential student should survey his individual situation and make that choice, however, this should give a clear picture as to the types of programs that are out there.

An excellent online resource for the self-study of nanotechnology is The nanoHub is supported by the National Science Foundation as well as top notch universities like Purdue in Indiana. There is an amazing number of nanoscience and nanotechnology courses across the entire spectrum of student level: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, MS and PhD. The nano Hub also has a great deal of computer simulators that can be used to get a deeper understanding about the research being done. While there are some online nanotechnology degree programs that a student can take, the nano Hub is more for self-study and it is a great place for a person considering nano to start. Using the online courses, one can get a better feeling for what specialty within nanotechnology he would like to pursue and be better prepared for offline education. Nothing can replace the actual lab experience and time of the microscopes and other tools that can be obtained from a brick and mortar school, but the nanoHub does a good job of just about everything else. The courses and resources are now available through iTunesU as well.

There is a special area at Purdue University, known as Discovery Park, and it is home to the Birck Nanotechnology Center. It is there that students from various majors and disciplines within the university can participate in research and learning on the nanometer level. Students can collaborate in the nanotechnology center while studying majors such as electrical engineering or the unique multidisciplinary engineering program which allows undergraduates to merge multiple disciplines in order to more closely match the needs of their desired career path. Just about every capability necessary for nano research can be found at the Birck Center. Scanning probe microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy and a range of other nanoscale metrology tools are brought together at the center. Materials growth and deposition tools from cutting edge molecular beam epitaxy to sputter deposition and everything in between. Nanoelectronics and nanofabrication play a key role at the facility, with electron beam lithography machines, reactive ion etching devices, and wet chemical processing par for the course. Nanophotonics, bio-nanotechnology, and nanochemistry all can be performed onsite as well. With such a wide and specialized range of apparatuses there is no doubt that students are being thoroughly prepared for the nanotechnology challenges of tommorow at the Birck Center. The highly esteemed faculty and staff can direct students towards nanoscale discoveries as they study nanotechnology.

Of course Purdue is not the only epicenter of great work at a billionth of a meter. There are other award winning facilities throughout the United States as well. Certain states have set forth their own nanotechnology initiatives in order to leap forward in this arena. The University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are all lucky to have great nanotechnology education initiatives. Everything from a certificate at Northern Illinois University to a PhD program at the University of Washington can be pursued. The standard list of available programs worldwide is available here. Scholarships and grants exist in various forms for those wishing to study nanotechnology. Harness the invisible.


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