Careers in Nanotechnology in India
From a scientific viewpoint, nanotechnology marks a new access into the realm of opportunity since it emancipates the sciences from the restraints of space and material precincts. From a research perspective, nanotechnology facilitates scientists to experiment at the molecular level by overcoming practical limitations. Miniaturization is essential to progress towards smaller, faster, and more powerful. Therefore, the manipulation and control of matter at atomic, micro-molecular and macromolecular scales to attribute varied functional properties that differ significantly from the bulk materials create Nanomaterials. The principles of classic physics/chemistry are no longer applicable at nano-dimensions, as the behaviour dramatically changes and the principles of quantum mechanics no longer apply e.g. gold at the nanoscale have optical, mechanical and electrical properties that are very different from the inert properties of bulk/macroscale. The propertieslike strength,colour, electrical conductivity and weight change at nano-levels; a metal can become a semiconductor at bulk level or an insulator at nano-level. Nanotechnology is the control on design, synthesis, characterisation of matter by monitoring shape and size to maintain the nanoscale, at least in one dimension.So, nanotechnology focuses on matter at the scale or dimensions that are roughly 1 to 100 nanometers (1nm = 10-9 m) and this measurement science is termed ‘Nanometrology’. Transmission Electron Microscopy TEM, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SPM) as well as Optical tweezers (single beam gradient trap) are the equipments used for their measurements. Naturally occurring nanoparticles are categorised as ultrafine particles owing to their heterogeneity both chemically and physically, that are the incidental by products of combustion processes like volcanic ash, soot from forest fires, welding, diesel engines. Alternatively, engineered nanoparticles designed to produce specific properties in terms of shape, size, surface charge, functional properties and catalytic chemistry. These properties are evident in colloids, aerosols, or powders. The functional behaviour of nanomaterials depends on surface area than particle composition itself. To enhance its reactivity, electrical properties and strength, relative-surface area is the key factor. Synthetic nanoparticles can be purchased or synthesized in the laboratory e.g., laser ablation can be used to synthesize CNTs. Nanomaterials can be fabricated, atom by atom by a process called “bottom-up” or “Top down”. The information for this fabrication process is embedded in the material building blocks so that these can selfassemble in the final product. Nanomaterials have an increased surface-to-volume ratio compared to bulk materials. This has significant concerns for all those processes that occur at the surface of a material, such as catalysis and detection.
Fabrication of Nanoparticles
Nanotechnology in its very essence is an interdisciplinary and integrating science that cuts across all basic sciences and engineering
disciplines for industrial applications leading to commercialization. A major challenge that nanotechnology faces today is the lack of educated, trainedand skilled workers. Paradoxically working on ‘small things could lead to a big career’, whereby, nanotechnologists are involved in developing nove linnovations and applications regularly thereby offering plenty of job opportunities to skilled manpower.Nanotechnology can be applied and has infiltrated in almost every aspect of human life. Nanotoxicology’ is the study of interaction of physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles with biological systems that may induce biological insults resulting in toxicity. ‘Bionanotechnology’ is the analysis of the working of biological “machines” and creating new technologies with existing biological motifs. But ‘Nanobiomechanics’ combines biomechanics and nanomaterials to create efficient and powerful machines to explore the fundamentals of biological systems.
Applications of Nanotechnology :-
- Nanotechnology in Food Science
- Nanotechnology in Engineering disciplines
- Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy
- Nanotechnology in Textile Industry
- Nanotechnology in Defence
Education Requirements for pursuing Nanotechnology
Interested students from any field of science /engineering can initiate work in nanotechnology at any level as a skilled workforce trained at varied stages are required to meet the estimated personnel challenge. Education levels include a Class XII degree plus rigorous training to qualify as a Technician, an Associate’s degree that includes two years of college plus training, a Bachelor’s degree that may be a basic science degree (3 years) or a Technical degree (4 years) of college. A Master’s degree i.e. about 6 years of total college time is preferred as a skilled manpower. A Doctorate
(about 9 years of college total) is the highest level of training that is sought for a career in Nanotechnology. Associate degree programs may include understanding the instrumentation and the techniques to manufacture and characterize nanomaterials. Nanotechnology internships are important to apply for jobs as Associates.Food and agricultural scientists can apply with only a bachelor’s degree, but a medical/biomedical professional should pursue a doctorate degree to enable them to conduct advanced research projects.Although the development and application of nanotechnology is still at a nascent research phase, specific engineered nanomaterials have been produced and commercialized eg. Sun screens and cosmetics,light-weight, stronger racquets and long-lasting tennis balls, conceptualizing stain-free clothing and mattresses,Polymer films used in displays for cell phones, digital cameras and laptops, glass coatings for faster cleaning,protective and glare-reducing coatings for eye glasses and cars. As nature exists successfully in nanoscale, so there is ample optimism in a career in nanotechnology.