What Do Nanotechnologists Do?

Nanotechnologists manipulate the tiniest of particles (nanomatter) to develop new or existing technology. They work with materials (organic or inorganic) using specialist devices (nanotools) such as microscopes, on the atomic scale (the nanometre, which is one billionth of a metre).

Nanotechnologists manipulate the tiniest of particles (nanomatter) to develop new or existing technology. They work with materials (organic or inorganic) using specialist devices (nanotools) such as microscopes, on the atomic scale (the nanometre, which is one billionth of a metre).

They are also known as nanotechnology engineers.

The Work

Nanotechnology is a combination of science, technology and engineering which has a wide spectrum of applications spanning electronics, biotechnology, health and medicine, robotics and energy production. This could range from developing more effective sunscreens and more potent medicines, to more durable materials and faster electronic microprocessors.

You could be:

carrying out experiments for investigations, such as testing for minute amounts of pollution in air and waterworking with genetic material, such as DNA fragments and proteinscreating new electronics, such as designing microchips that can hold higher amounts of informationcreating high-performance materials and components by integrating atoms and moleculesidentifying new applications for existing nanotechnologiesgenerating high-resolution images or measure force-distance curves, using technologies such as atomic force microscopydeveloping production processes for specific nanotechnology products, processes or systemsconducting medical experiments and writing up detailed reportsapplying to companies and organisations for funding for research. Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

where you workthe size of the company or organisation you work forthe demand for the job.

Salaries for nanotechnology engineers can start at around £20,000 to £27,000 a year. Nanotechnologists working in research earn between £25,000 and £35,000 a year after completing their PhD.

Senior nanotechnologists working in industry earn between £30,000 and £40,000 a year.

Academic professors teaching at a university might earn around £60,000 a year.

ConditionsYou would work around 37-40 hours a week which might involve overtime to reach project deadlines if working in industry or research and development.If you work in industry, you would be based in a laboratory.You would wear a lab coat, and protective gear such as safety glasses.You may have to work with other scientists from other disciplines to collaborate on projects.You might have to travel overseas to work on projects.

Workforce Employment Status

LMI data powered by LMI for All

Getting InMost people entering this profession have a Masters degree or doctorate in nanotechnology.Relevant degree subjects include maths, physics, chemistry, electronics engineering, computer science and nanoscience.Entry requirements for degree courses are usually 4-5 Highers including 2 or 3 from Maths, Chemistry and Physics. You need English and Maths at least to National 5. Individual course requirements vary so check with the institution.Heriot-Watt University offers the MChem Chemistry with Materials and Nanoscience. Entry requirements are 4 Highers at AABB including Maths, Chemistry and Physics plus National 5 English. Check university website for widening access entry requirements.The University of Strathclyde offers the Masters in Nanoscience. Entry requirements are a 2:1 or 2:2 Honours degree in physics, chemistry or related subject.The University of Glasgow offers the Masters in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. For entry you need a 2:2 Honours degree in a relevant subject.You may be able to get a paid studentship for a PhD course at a university or research institute.

You could work in a research centre (perhaps a university or government laboratory) or in industry. You could look for jobs on site such as New Scientist Jobs.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

LMI data powered by EMSI UK

Job Outlook ScotlandJob Outlook Scotland






LMI data powered by EMSI UK

What Does it Take?

You need to be:

scientifically mindedpractical, logical and methodicalpatient and persistenta good communicator to report your findingsable to work in a team and independently.

You need to have:

excellent technical, maths and IT skillsstrong analytical and problem solving skillsan enquiring minda keen interest in science and engineeringexcellent hand to eye co-ordinationan eye for detail. TrainingTraining normally takes place on the job.You would keep up to date with research techniques and new technological developments.You would attend training courses and conferences as part of your continuing professional development. Getting OnWith experience you might move on to senior scientific or management positions, supervising technicians or technologists engaged in nanotechnology research or production.You might move on to teaching at a university.You may become a consultant or adviser to other businesses.There may be opportunities to travel and work abroad. Video Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Was this article useful?

Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.