With more than one million people working in Nanotechnology in the United States alone, this field has opened the door to great opportunities in the world and with absolute certainty it could be stated as the science of the 21st Century!
The term nanotechnology was first coined in 1974 by Norio Taniguchi, a professor at the Tokyo University of Science in Japan. In 1986, Eric Drexler’s book titled, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, contributed to its development. The scanning tunnelling microscope, invented by Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer in 1981, is also a milestone in the development of nanotechnology. Another breakthrough came in 1991, with the invention of a carbon molecule with a spherical morphology by Robert Kell, Harry Crotto and Richard Smalley, named the ‘bucky ball’, for which they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. A Japanese scientist and teacher, Dr. Sumio Ijma developed microscopic nanotubes by rolling out delicate nano layers.
What is Nanotechnology?
The word nano is derived from a Greek word which is synonymous with the term ‘dwarf’. A nano is a fraction of one billionth of a meter. As the size of a substance decreases, its surface energy increases. Such materials exhibit several distinct and enhanced characteristics. Nanoscience is the general name given to the field of science based on this principle of knowledge. It is noteworthy that one of the greatest physicists the world has ever seen, Richard Feynman, acknowledged about this field as, “there is plenty of room at the bottom”!
Each object is made up of tiny particles called atoms. Molecules are comprised of a number of atoms and these molecules combine to form a variety of substances. The atomic and molecular arrangement inside a material determines its structure or morphology. Therefore, different materials have different properties based on their morphological differences. Hence, the nature of the material can be changed by making various subtle changes in the basic structure of these particles. Nanotechnology is the art of varying the molecular or atomic packing inside a material, modifying their structure to create new and better morphologies with new features and enhanced properties.
Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary subject which essentially combines physics, chemistry, bioinformatics, biotechnology, medicine, engineering, pharmacy, dentistry, agriculture, food sciences and several other domains. There is rising demand for students who did their MTech in Nanotechnology because of the large number of industries and laboratories in India and overseas that would lab them up. The many new and exciting fields which have opened up for the nanotechnology experts include:
Health industry research and consulting- pharmaceutical, medical, agriculture, food and beverage, environment industries
Research and development in government, universities and private research institutes
Education and academics
Entrepreneurial, management and investment advisors in biotechnology and research and development industry
Product development and advising
Communication and media, interfacing of new technologies
After the completion of Nanotechnology course, splendid opportunities await the graduates in both India and abroad. Nanotechnology is widely applied in the United States, England, Singapore, Germany, China, Korea, and Japan. Jobs await the graduates in the roles of nanotechnologists, scientists, researchers, professors, engineers, medical and food scientists. A beginner graduated in nanotechnology can earn a monthly salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. Based on gathering more experience, one can earn between Rs. 8,00,000 – 15,00,000 per year. Salaries are determined on the basis of market value in each sector.
Courses at Amrita Center for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine, Kochi Campus
The first Nano Bio Center in India was set up by the Amrita Center for Nanoscience and Molecular Medicine at the Kochi Campus under the auspices of Amrita University. Amrita Center for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine provides M.Sc., M.Tech and B. Sc. courses for students in Nanotechnology.
M Tech Programs:
M Tech. in Nanobiotechnology, M Tech. in Nanoscience & Technology, M Tech. in Molecular Medicine
Bachelor’s Degree or B.E/ B.Tech degree in any of the following disciplines – Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Food Process Engineering, Bioinformatics, Agricultural Engineering, Agriculture and Irrigation Engineering, from a recognized university with at least 60% marks or equivalent.
Professional degree or equivalent degree (MSc) in Molecular biology, Medical Biotechnology, Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnology, Botany, Zoology, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Food Science and Nutrition, Environmental Science, Environmental Health Sciences, Applied Psychology, Nursing, Allied Health Sciences, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Agriculture, Horticulture and Sericulture or any bioscience course with at least 60% marks or equivalent.
Professional degree or equivalent degree in Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Pharmacy with at least 60% marks from a recognized University.
M. SC. Programs: M.Sc. Nanobiotechnology, M.Sc. Nanoscience and Technology, M.Sc. Molecular Medicine
Professional degree or equivalent degree in Medical Nanobiotechnology, Nanotechnology, Biomedical Sciences, Medical Genetics, Medical Microbiology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Health Informatics, Clinical Research, Food Science and Nutrition, Environmental Science, Environmental Health Sciences, Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics or any Allied Health Sciences with at least 60% marks from a recognized University.
Amrita University and University of Arizona Dual Degree
M.Sc./MS or MTech. /MS courses (Two years/Four Semesters): M.Sc. Nanobiotechnology + MS Cellular & Molecular Medicine, M.Sc. Molecular Medicine + MS Cellular & Molecular Medicine, MTech. Nanobiotechnology + MS Cellular & Molecular Medicine, MTech. Molecular Medicine + MS Cellular & Molecular Medicine
Professional degree or equivalent in Molecular Biology, Medical Biotechnology, Medical Microbiology, Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnology, Botany, Zoology, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Health Informatics, Clinical Research, Food Science and Nutrition, Environmental Science, Environmental Health Sciences, and Applied Biology, Applied Psychology , Nursing, Allied Health Sciences, Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture, Forestry or any Allied Health Sciences with at least 60% marks from a recognized University.
As part of the course, students can study for up to a year at the University of Arizona in the United States for a reduced fee. Those who successfully complete the dual degree course will receive a degree from Amrita University as well as a degree from the University of Arizona which is equivalent to an on-campus degree.
B. SC. Programme: B.Sc. Molecular Medicine
Eligibility: Plus Two in Physics, Chemistry and Biology stream with at least 60% marks from a recognized university. Those who have written the final year Plus Two exam and are waiting for the result can also apply.
Postgraduates in Physics, Science and Electronics can also do research in Nanotechnology. These specialisations include Nanotechnology, Ceramic Engineering, Green Nanotechnology, Materials Science, Nanoengineering, Nano mechanics, Wet Nanotechnology, Nano Medicine and Nano Solar.
Major Institutions Teaching Nanotechnology
* Jamia Millia New Delhi (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* IIT Roorkee (M.Tech., Ph.D. in Nanotechnology)
* IISC (M.Tech., Ph.D. in Nanoscience and Engineering)
* NIT Bhopal (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* NIT Kurukshetra (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* M.A.N.I.T. Bhopal (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* IIT Patna (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* Aligarh Muslim University (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* Noida, Gurgaon, Jaipur Campuses of Amity University (M.Tech., B.Tech. In Nanoscience and Nanotechnology)
* Tiruchirappalli and Tirunelveli Campuses of Anna University (B.Tech, M.Tech in Nano Science and Technology)
* Rajasthan University, VIT, Vellore University, Aryabhata Knowledge University, Patna, Barkatullah University, Bhopal, Thanjavur University of Science and Sree Guru Grant Sahib University, Punjab.
* Srinivas Institute of Technology, Karnataka, SRM, Chennai B.Tech. Courses.
* M.Phil in Nanotechnology from Mumbai University
* Amity University Noida (M.Sc Nanoscience)
* Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (M.Sc Nanoscience and Technology)
* Opportunity to do M.Phil and Research in Nanotechnology at Kerala University.
* MSc, M.Phil., PG Diploma (Evening Course) in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Mahatma Gandhi University.
* Department of Nanoscience and Technology, Calicut University, M.Tech., Ph.D. Programs.
* PG Diploma in Nanotechnology, Department of Physics, Nirmalagiri College, Koothuparamba, Kannur University.
* Cochin University of Science and Technology (AIEEE) has a Nano research center. Much of the research is related to energy, communications, the environment, and medicine. The center, which is aimed at research and development activities, does not currently offer masters degrees, however it provides Ph.D. opportunity
* NIT Kozhikode (M.Tech. Nanotechnology)
* Amrita Center for Nanoscience and Molecular Medicine, Amrita University, Kochi Campus (M.Tech., M.Sc., B.Sc.)
(The writer is Research Scholar in Amrita Center for Nanoscience and Molecular Medicine, Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham, Kochi Campus)