The above photo is of The Singh Center for Nanotechnology viewed from Anthony Smith's sculpture in the front lawn.
Nanotechnology, the application of the science of the very small, is an exciting field that is enabling solutions in alternative energy, electronic devices, medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Engineers are finding that when things are very small, interesting phenomena can occur simply due to their physical size. Examples of these effects include quantum confinement in nanoparticles, which are making electronic display screens with higher color purity as well as tumor and disease diagnostics for cancer detection; and next-generation electronic devices made from low-dimensional materials, which have electronic properties that have the promise to have higher performance than today’s silicon devices. However, this is not the only type of nanotechnology. Engineers are also finding that when things are very small, they can be arranged into systems of remarkable spatial and functional complexity, even if their behavior is explainable by classical physics. Examples include integrated circuit design and fabrication; the highly integrated systems in today’s handheld electronics and smartphones; and applications in the most advanced digital movie theaters, where image projection is accomplished through the coordinated microelectromechanical action of the millions of tiny moving mirrors on a silicon chip.
Penn’s Nanotechnology Masters degree can prepare students for leadership roles, both technical and managerial, in emerging high tech industries as well as traditional industries that exploit nanoscale phenomena. Recent graduates of our program are working at companies such as Lockheed, Global Foundries, and Goldman Sachs, in technical or managerial areas such as development and exploitation of new nanomaterials, analysis of complex integrated circuits, and technology analysis. Some of our graduates continue on for PhD study; some recent graduates are currently pursuing their PhDs in universities such as Boston University, Georgia Tech, and Penn.
The curriculum allows students to match their background and interests while preparing for exciting new challenges. Nanotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary field and students are able to take courses from the Schools of Engineering, Arts & Sciences and the Wharton School of Business. The flexibility of the curriculum and the diversity of the student body create a dynamic learning environment.
Technical courses are organized into three core areas: synthesis, materials and nanofabrication; devices and fundamental properties; and biotechnology. In addition, courses are required in commercialization and entrepreneurship. Students can design an individual curriculum or select a pre-designated plan in the areas listed above. A significant laboratory course experience is available in Penn’s state-of-the-art Singh Center for Nanotechnology, where students in a hands-on approach can learn about the fabrication and characterization of micro- and nanoscale structures, devices, and materials. Experimental experience can be reinforced though our Graduate Student Fellows program, enabling further engagement in Penn’s excellent experimental nanotechnology facilities.
A research thesis is not a requirement of the Nanotechnology Masters Degree, and some students fulfill their degree requirements solely through coursework. However, some students choose to take advantage of research opportunities in the laboratories of Penn faculty working in nanotechnology-relevant areas to conduct independent research as an elective course unit, or as a Master’s thesis.
Students with science and engineering undergraduate degrees are eligible for admission to the Nanotechnology Masters Degree program. A bachelor's degree in any of the following fields is appropriate: physics, chemistry, bioengineering, materials science, electrical engineering, systems engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering and applied science. In addition, students with technology-oriented business backgrounds who have strong analytical skills and have taken science and engineering courses prior the application can apply.