Scope of Nanotechnology


Photo courtesy of UCL

Are you interested in pursuing a career in Nanotechnology? This article covers everything you need to know about Nanotechnology including the following topics.

  • What is Nanotechnology?
  • Scope of Nanotechnology in India and Abroad
  • Higher studies options in India and Abroad
  • List of Nanotechnology companies and research centers in India
  • Useful links

What is Nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the smallest scale (in the order of a nanometer) to produce enhanced products that are more durable, effective and economical. To explain the size in visual terms, one strand of human hair is 80,000-100,000 nanometers in width. Yes, it is that minute!! Nanotechnology researchers and engineers work at manipulating the structure of materials at the nanoscale level to alter their properties to make materials more durable, stronger and effective.

Nanotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary field and and is considered to be a confluence of engineering, technology and pure sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology and material sciences. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in Nanotechnology must be willing to learn from different fields.

Applications of Nanotechnology are widely prevalent in numerous industries such as cosmetics, food and agriculture, consumer products, medicine and pharmaceuticals, electronics and biomedical engineering. For a detailed list of the applications of Nanotechnology, please refer to this link.

What undergraduate degree will be perfect for a career in Nanotechnology? This depends on which area of Nanotechnology you want to work in. If you are interested in the engineering part of Nanotechnology, you can choose either chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. Even biotechnology at the undergraduate level will be suitable for a future career in Nanotechnology.

If you are interested in the sciences part of Nanotechnology, then a BSc degree in either physics or chemistry will suit you perfectly. BSc students can follow up their degree with MSc degree in Physics/Chemistry/Electronics etc and then a PhD in Nanotechnology.

During the course of your undergraduate studies, make sure to do projects and internships related to Nanotechnology. Also, taking nanotechnology related courses online from the various MOOCs such as Coursera or EdX will help develop your knowledge in this area. You can also do projects with professors in your departments on any area of nanotechnology that is related to your area of engineering discipline. For more details on how to prepare for a career in Nanotechnology, please read this interview.

Scope of Nanotechnology: India: India is still in the development stage for Nanotechnology and it will take quite a few years for this field to become established in India. Research labs and institutions such as IISc, TIFR, NCBS, IITs etc are performing excellent research in India. However, when compared with countries such as UK, Germany and USA, output of high quality research pales significantly. This is due to several reasons such as lack of integration between different departments for R&D in Nanotechnology. Students interested in the research aspect of Nanotechnology can join any one of the prestigious institutions listed below. On the other hand, students interested in working in the Nanotechnology industry have limited options.

Abroad: Nanotechnology is doing very well abroad in nations such as USA, UK, Singapore, Germany, China etc in terms of R&D. There has been significant development towards the usage of Nanotechnology in cosmetics, food and textiles. Nanomedicine is still in the R&D stage and widespread growth is yet to be expected and intensive research is being conducted in breakneck speed. For scope of this field abroad, please read Professor Mukhopadhyay’s interview here.

Universities that offer MTech & PhD in Nanotechnology in India: Many universities in India offer Nanotechnology and related courses for MTech and PhD studies and some of them are as follows

  • NIT, Calicut (MTech in Nanotechnology)
  • JMI, New Delhi (MTech in Nanotechnology)
  • IIT, Roorkee (MTech and PhD in Nanotechnology)
  • DTU (MTech in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology)
  • IISc (MTech and PhD in Nanoscience and Engineering)
  • NIT, Bhopal (MTech in Nanotechnology)
  • NIT, Kurukshetra (MTech in Nanotechnology)
  • MANIT, Bhopal (MTech in Nanotechnology)
  • IIT, Patna (MTech in Nanotechnology)

MS & PhD abroad:

  • Numerous universities in the US offer programs in Nanotechnology at the undergraduate and graduate level. Some of these Nanotechnology programs are offered as specializations/concentrations in chemical engineering and electrical engineering programs. For a full list, please refer here.
  • UK is another great option for students interested in pursuing higher studies in Nanotechnology. Apart from being offered as a specialization/concentration along with other majors, there are many universities that offer stand alone courses in Nanotechnology such as an MSc in Nanotechnology and Nanoelectronics.
  • Germany is also home to many specialized nanotechnology programs at the undergraduate and graduate (MSc and PhD) level.
  • Singapore’s NUS offers a PhD program in their Nanoscience and Nanotechnology institute. NUS’s electrical and chemical engineering department also offers nanotechnology related specializations at the masters and PhD level. NTU offers Nanotechnology related specializations in the department of chemical and bioengineering.
  • Canada is also home to numerous programs related to Nanotechnology. Some of these programs are specialized while some of them are offered as concentrations in the department of electrical, chemical and bioengineering.
  • In Australia, Flinders, La Trobe University and University of Melbourne offer specialized programs in Nanotechnology. Most other universities have nanotechnology as a specialization/concentration coupled with major engineering courses.

Companies, Universities and Research Institutions in India for Nanotechnology: Following is a list of reputed institutions and research centers in India for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology with high quality publications in world renowned journals for Nanotechnology.

  • Centre for Research in Nanotechnology & Science (CRNTS), IIT Bombay
  • Centre of Nanotechnology, IIT Roorkee
  • Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai
  • Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Punjab
  • IBM Semiconductor Research and Development, Bangalore
  • Centre for Nanotechnology, IIT Guwahati
  • Centre for Nanotechnology and Nanoscience, Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli

Apart from the above mentioned institutes, Nanotechnology research is also conducted in the Physics, Chemistry, Materials Sciences and Biological Sciences departments of famed institutions such as NCBS, IISc, TIFR, JNCASR, IITs and NITs, IISERs, BITS Pilani, BARC, University of Hyderabad, CSIR etc.

Useful links:

Journals: Nature Nanotechnology and Nano Letters are two of the best journals for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Apart from these two sources, students can also check out pubmed and google scholar for more articles related to Nanotechnology.

NanoHub: This site is a great resource for all things related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, specifically in the area of computational Nanotechnology. Nanohub has plenty of resources such as simulation programs, lectures, courses, teaching materials and many more.

NNI: National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a US government R&D initiative that aims to bring about significant advances in the field of Nanotechnology. The NNI website has great resources such as articles pertaining to Nanotechnology, courses available in the US etc.

Nanowerk:Nanowerk is another great website where you can find the latest developments in the field of Nanotechnology and Nanoscience. This website also has other useful features such as a nano database consisting of nano companies and degrees worldwide, a jobs site and plenty of other resources. feautures the latest articles, research news and upcoming developments in all areas related to science, engineering and technology. The site boasts of 1.75 million readers a year that includes researchers, scientists, professionals and students. They also have a separate category for Nanotechnology which is subdivided into topics such as nanophysics, nanomaterials, bio and nanomedicine.

Physics Forum:Do you have pressing questions about Nanotechnology? Physics forum is one of the premier most forums online for all science and engineering disciplines. Based in the US, Physics forum has members from all over the world and if your question is a good one, be sure that it will be answered.

Coursera: For all those interested in taking a course in Nanotechnology, Coursera offers a course titled “Nanotechnology: The Basics” that is 9 weeks long and offered at specific time periods during the year.