Penn State


Nanotechnology for Students: The New Frontier of Inner Space

Not since the days of the United States' mission to put a man on the moon has science had so much to offer aspiring young scientists. Nanotechnology is a new branch of science that explores not the outer space of the moon and stars, but the inner space of atoms, molecules, cells, and particles at infinitesimally small sizes. A nanometer measures one billionth of a meter. The head of a pin is about one million nanometers across. Generally speaking, nanoscale objects and events are about the size of a few molecules: larger than elemental atoms, smaller than biological cells.

students at nanocamp

Nanoscale materials are important because they frequently behave differently than the same materials in bulk form. These new properties promise to provide revolutionary benefits for humanity.

The field of nanotechnology has grown out of advances in high power microscopes and computers over the past twenty, or so, years. These new instruments make it possible to image objects and events that could never be seen before. As a result, nanotechnology has opened new, unexplored frontiers across the sciences, in physics, chemistry, biology, electronics and medicine.

In response to this expansion of the sciences, Penn State has incorporated nanotechnology into all of its science programs. Penn State's undergraduate focus on nanotechnology is designed to enrich students' knowledge and understanding of their core disciplines and enable them to bridge the gaps between the sciences in the commercial sector.

For undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in nanotechnology, Penn State's College of Engineering Science and Mechanics offers a nanotechnology minor, which is designed to prepare students from diverse disciplines for careers in a broad range of industries innovating with nanotechnology. The minor provides students with fundamental knowledge and skills in simulation, design, modeling, synthesis, characterization, properties, processing, manufacturing, and applications at the nano scale. The nanotechnology curriculum builds on the outstanding strengths of Penn State's nanofabrication facilities, including its class-one and class-ten clean rooms; its world-class faculty; and its renowned academic programs in science and engineering.

In addition to the nanotechnology minor, and available to students at all of the two-year and four- year colleges and universities in the Commonwealth System, an intercollegiate capstone semester of six courses is offered at Penn State's University Park campus. This one- semester, hands-on, clean room-based laboratory program is designed to prepare students to enter the commercial world of nanotechnology and to meet the demands of a constantly advancing workplace. This landmark program is administered by the Pennsylvania Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology Partnership and led by Penn State's Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.

This web page is designed to give you access to the full range of educational resources in the field of nanotechnology at Penn State. For more education information, please click on the education navigation bar on the left side of this page.

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