Frequently Asked Questions
What is the future of nanotechnology?
The National Science Foundation estimates that two million skilled nanotechnology workers will be needed worldwide by 2015 – one million of them in the United States.
High-tech industries like optoelectronics, microelectronics, pharmaceuticals, and those that produce flat screen televisions and computer screens are likely to experience the most growth.
Where can I expect to find a job?
There is a broad spectrum of industries that use nanofabrication technology. The Federal Government states that nanotechnology "is likely to change the way almost everything – from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imaginable – is designed and made."
What is the work environment like?
You can expect to work in a cleanroom—a highly disciplined, ultra-clean world of machining at the atomic level. To put it into perspective, the cleanroom facilities at Penn State’s Nanofabrication Facility are 10,000 times cleaner than a typical hospital operating room.
What type of equipment will I use?
The equipment used for machining at the atomic level falls into three categories: tools that deposit films, tools that remove films, and patterning (lithography) tools that lay out where the deposition and removal will occur.
The sophisticated equipment used usually requires a team of operators, technician, and engineers.
What science and math skill sets are needed to be accepted into the program?
You will need some chemistry background and a basic understanding of physics, as well as computer and algebra skills. You can discuss the requirements in more detail with your advisor.
Do I need to be a student to take the Capstone Semester?
You do not have to be enrolled in any community college or university to earn a certificate in nanofabrication from the Capstone Semester. You must, however, demonstrate that you have required foundational and technical skills to successfully complete the Capstone Semester.