EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES. In today’s technological landscape, where benefits of nanoscale research are being touted by every level of government and industry, graduates with interdisciplinary education and research experience are in demand. For example, Mihail Roco of NSF states in a Nature article that “a key challenge for nanotechnology development is the education and training of a new generation of skilled workers in the multidisciplinary perspectives necessary for rapid progress of the new technology”. VINSE and Vanderbilt have demonstrated their commitment and leadership to this ideal by building and promoting a program that emphasizes interdisciplinary education. Vanderbilt students will be some of the first to fill this scientific/engineering deficit.
VINSE and Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Materials Science (IGPMS). VINSE is aligned with IGPMS, the basic materials science graduate program at Vanderbilt. The curriculum of IGPMS is built around a large variety of departmental courses to offer graduate level education in the fundamental underpinning of nanoscale science and engineering. See www.ims.vanderbilt.edu .
Traditional Departments: Students wishing to work within VINSE scientific areas can apply for admissions either through the IGMPS program or through the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, and all Engineering departments.
Nanoscale Science and Engineering Course. Seventeen faculty members in VINSE and the Vanderbilt University Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Materials Science (IGPMS) have combined their expertise to offer a new and innovative graduate course entitled “Nanoscale Science and Engineering” (IMS 320). The content of the course consists of the science and engineering of nanomaterials, methods for synthesis and fabrication, techniques for characterization, and the attainment of special properties at the nanoscale. The course culminates with present and future applications in biotechnology, medicine, and engineering, thereby promoting a distinct interdisciplinary nature. *The course is expected to be offered Fall 2013.
Minor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Faculty in the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Science offer an interdisciplinary minor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The minor is administered by the School of Engineering. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are based on the ability to synthesize, organize, characterize, and manipulate matter systematically at dimensions of ~1 to 100 nm, creating uniquely functional materials that differ in properties from those prepared by traditional approaches. At these length scales, materials can take on new properties that can be exploited in a wide range of applications such as for solar energy conversion, ultra-sensitive sensing, and new types of vaccines. These activities require the integration of expertise from various areas of science and engineering, often relying on methods of synthesis, fabrication, and characterization that are beyond those encountered in an individual course of study. Students who minor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology learn the principles and methods used in this rapidly growing field. Its core originates in the physical sciences by providing key approaches for describing the behavior of matter on the nanoscale. Synthetic approaches are used to manipulate matter systematically, for creating uniquely functional nanomaterials that can be inorganic, organic, biological, or a hybrid of these. With a third component of characterization, a process for designing systems to have particular properties as a result of their composition and nanoscale arrangement emerges. Students are introduced to these areas through foundational and elective courses for the minor that are specified below, the latter of which can be selected to fulfill the degree requirements for their major. The minor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is supported by the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) that brings together faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Medical Center. A specialized laboratory facility maintained by VINSE provides students in the minor with capstone experiences that allows them to prepare and characterize a variety of nanostructured systems using in-house state-of-the-art instrumentation. This hands-on laboratory component enhances the attractiveness of students to both employers and graduate schools.