Nanotechnologists / Nanoscientists manipulate matter on the nanoscale (one billionth of a metre), developing new materials and equipment as well as drugs and diagnostic tools. Nanotechnology encompasses science, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and computer science.
Their work involves designing and conducting experiments based around observing nano-scale systems (either organic or inorganic) in their given field, often with the aid of other researchers across several disciplines. The information is then analysed to develop practical applications of the results, such as a new material, device or procedure.
Computational research can also be carried out using simulated nano-scale experiments and systems to increase theoretical knowledge and aid in the design and development of practical experiments.
Employers of nanoscientists
- Universities and research institutes
- Electronics and semiconductor manufacturers
- Aviation and aerospace engineering companies
- Medical device manufacturers
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Food and drink manufacturers
- plan and conduct experiments to investigate and analyse nano-scale systems
- operate, or design and construct, complex instrumentation
- extrapolate data to develop theories to explain experimental results
- write up results in reports and/or scientific papers or books
- arrange the testing of products or materials
- develop new products and ways of applying new methodology
- maintain accurate records of results
- write applications for funding
- collaborate with other scientists, often including those from other disciplines
- develop specialist skills and expertise
- work within health and safety regulations
- teach or lecture students or trainees
- develop innovative methods to improve existing products or procedures
- consider profit/loss margins in any work carried out
- keep well-informed of advances in your field of study and wider research through specialist literature and meetings
- disseminate new findings at departmental, institutional or national meetings and conferences, including presenting to a variety of audiences
- manage individual projects and pieces of work
- at higher levels, manage a research team (including technicians and support staff) or a group of research students.
For nanoscientists who want to work in applied or research jobs in industry, a bachelors degree is essential. Relevant degree subjects include maths, physics, chemistry, engineering, microbiology and materials science. A postgraduate qualification such as a masters or PhD may be necessary.
Other beneficial degrees include:
- biochemistry or chemical biology
- computer science
- A meticulous approach to work
- Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
- Ability to interact and communicate effectively with a wide range of people
- A systematic approach to tasks
- Excellent IT skills
- Good interpretative skills
- Ability to work in teams
- Good at maths