What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology has been defined as “the creation of functional materials, devices, and systems through control of matter at the scale of 1 to 100 nanometers, and the exploitation of novel properties and phenomena at the same scale.” Put succinctly, nanofabrication is “manipulating and assembling materials atom by atom” and it is used to create materials, devices, and systems with new and unique properties.
What is the Pennsylvania NMT Partnership?
The Pennsylvania Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology (NMT) Partnership is a higher education collaborative dedicated to creating and updating a workforce in Pennsylvania trained in the exciting field of nanotechnology. The NMT academic programs are offered by partner institutions and include associate degree , baccalaureate degree , and certificate pathways to an education in nanotechnology. These pathways can open the door to well-paying careers in a variety of industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, micro-electromechanical devices (MEMs), opto-electronics, sensors, information storage, power electronics and, of course, microelectronics (chips). The NMT “updating” activities include workshops for industry and for teachers as well as Nanotech Camps for secondary school students.
How the NMT Partnership Works
The defining feature of the partnership is the sharing of the nanofabrication facilities, staff, and faculty at the Penn State University Park Campus with educational partners across the Commonwealth.
These NMT educational partners include:
All the activities and programs of the NMT Partnership are coordinated by the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) at the Penn State University Park campus.
Nanofabrication Degree and Certificate Program
All students enrolled in nanofabrication degree and certificate programs at any partner institution attend the six-course, 18-credit NMT capstone semester in nanofabrication at Penn State . The NMT capstone semester utilizes the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility’s multi-million dollar class 10 clean room and equipment, and is taught by the Penn State CNEU staff. By sharing this resource, partner colleges and universities across the state can offer their students the most current hands-on exposure available in nanofabrication manufacturing technology.
Click on the links below to learn more about the capstone semester and the ways it is used in associate degree, baccalaureate degree, and certificate programs.
- Capstone Semester
- Follow this link to see the descriptions of the six Capstone semester courses.
- Baccalaureate Degree Programs
- If a student is enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program incorporating the NMT capstone semester they will schedule this hands-on semester as directed by their institution. Depending on the degree options at the student's institution, this semester may be used as a minor, concentration, or option which is part of a four-year degree in chemistry, physics, biology, industrial technology, or science. Click the above link to find contact information and web links for NMT baccalaureate degree programs.
- Associate Degree Programs
- If a student is enrolled in an NMT associate degree program, they will attend the capstone semester near the end of their studies (usually the last, or next to last semester). Click the above link to find contact information and web links for NMT associate degree programs.
- Certificate Program
- If you are a recent college graduate, or working professional looking to upgrade your skills through the hands-on training that the NMT program provides, click the link above to find out how to enroll in the NMT certificate program.
Degree Programs of the Pennsylvania NMT Partnership
To date, the NMT Partnership has developoed 54 associate and baccalaureate degree programs in nanofabrication at 27 institutions across Pennsylvania including at Pennsylvania community colleges, as well as bacalaureate programs in nanotechnology at State System universities and Penn State. [Download current listing of degree programs.]
Steps to Pursuing a Degree or Certificate in Nanofabrication
If you are interested in pursuing an associate degree, baccalaureate degree, or certificate offered by a NMT Partner institution, you should:
- Learn more about the NMT program by meeting with the NMT contact person at your college or university.
- Discuss your academic background and interests with your college or university NMT contact person.
- If the NMT Partnership seems right for you, enroll in the NMT degree or certificate program at your college or university.
- Apply for funds to help defray your NMT educational program costs.
- Have your college or university NMT contact person reserve your place in the NMT capstone semester at Penn State University Park
Students are encouraged to apply for funds to help defray their educational program costs. The financial aid offices at the partner colleges and universities can provide information about the types of financial support available to students, and the application process.
Workshops For Educators and Industry Personnel
The NMT Partnership also offers professional development workshops in nanofabrication throughout the year for industry personnel and for both secondary and post-secondary educators. Information is available at www.cneu.psu.edu.
Orientation programs are also offered for high school students interested in learning more about nanofabrication. These include one-day experiences during the school year, and the extremely popular, three-day Nanotech Camps during the summer months.