Science, Technology & Environment
Nanotechnologists perform research and design and build devices and materials based on atomic and subatomic structures.
What does a Nanotechnologist do?
Nanotechnologists perform research use their scientific knowledge to and design and build the tiniest of devices and materials based on atomic and subatomic structures.
As a nanotechnologist, you would:
- work with structures at the atomic and subatomic levels
- perform research relating to structures at the atomic and subatomic levels
- work with materials that range in size from 1 to 100 nanometers
- use specialised equipment and nanotools to manipulate nanomatter
- use computers to analyse and interpret data
- develop new products based on nanotechology
- create high-performance materials and components by integrating atoms and molecules
- perform experiments to test the nanotechnology produced.
Nanotechnologists work in a wide range of industries, including medicine / pharmaceuticals, electronics, aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and food science. The types of products they develop range from range from more effective medicines and medical treatments, to stronger and more durable materials, to faster computer microprocessors.
Key skills and interests
To become a nanotechnologist, you would need:
- a keen interest in science and engineering
- practical scientific skills
- excellent hand-eye coordination in order to work with specialised instrumentation
- strong attention to detail
- an enquiring mind
- an understanding of the properties of materials
- the ability to think clearly and logically
- patience and and persistence.
Working hours and conditions
You would usually work standard hours, Monday to Friday, in a full-time role.
If you were undertaking research, you would work in a laboratory, either in a specialised research facility or as part of a larger manufacturing operation. You would spend a lot of time using specialist scientific equipment and would wear protective clothing such as a lab coat and safety glasses.
At other times, you would usually work in an office environment.
How to become an Nanotechnologist?
Entry Level Education
Nanotechnologists are usually physicists, chemical engineers, electrical engineers or materials engineers who specialise in nanotechnology. You would usually need to have a degree in one of these disciplines, along with a major in nanotechnology. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Alternatively, you could have a bachelor's degree in one of these disciplines, and a master's degree in nanotechnology. Some employers may also expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD.
Nanotechnologists can expect positive future employment prospects.
Nanotechnology now reaches into many industry sectors. Companies that are developing products and processes that use nanotechnology will be seeking a global workforce. Nanoscience and nanoengineering opportunities are expected to be strongest in the USA and Japan.