Nanotechnology is concerned with insights from a world that is hidden from the human eye and often also from the human imagination.
The field of study at a glance
Nanotechnology is the collective term for a wide range of technologies that deal in a variety of ways with the analysis and processing of materials that have one thing in common: their size is one to one hundred nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter (a human hair is therefore several tens of thousands of nanometers thick). This is a limit area in which quantum physical effects play an important role.
To put it very simply: Nanotechnology exploits the fact that materials and structures can lead to new or improved product properties simply due to the small size of individual components. This makes it possible to build new products with tailor-made properties from nature's building blocks - atoms and molecules. Examples of this include significantly higher hardness and breaking strength of materials or the self-cleaning properties of surfaces.
Various scientific areas, such as chemistry, materials science, physics, biology, medicine and computer science, are involved in developing nanostructures. Nanotechnology is therefore seen as a cross-sectional technology. Their findings are relevant to a large number of scientific and technological fields.
Courses in this field are offered primarily at universities, and only occasionally at technical colleges. The courses have names like “Nanoscience”, “Nanotechnology” or “Nanoscience”.
Contents of the course
The course can have a more engineering and materials science component or focus on physical education. The bachelor's program imparts knowledge of mathematics, experimental and theoretical physics, chemistry, engineering and nanotechnology.
In engineering and materials science modules, students in the master's program have the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge in a selected application area (e.g. energy technology, electronics, biophysics) or in a technological field (e.g. materials science, nanostructuring technology, components). Internships, laboratory assignments and specialist excursions build the bridge between theoretical knowledge and industrial application.
Admission criteria & application for study
Depending on the university, a preparatory internship lasting several weeks before starting your studies and/or a ten to twelve week industrial internship integrated into your studies is mandatory.
Career opportunities after graduation
The graduates work primarily in companies and institutions that research or apply nanotechnology processes. In addition to the chemical industry, these include the areas of information technology, energy technology, semiconductor production, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, medical technology and genetic engineering. Research institutes and universities as well as environmental authorities offer further employment opportunities.