The University of Texas will offer this fall one of the first doctoral programs in the nation for nanotechnology research.
"There is a big initiative nationwide and internationally for more educational programs and technology development in this field," said Brian Korgel, the education director for the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology.
Nanotechnology is used to create complex devices at the molecular level and is expected to impact medical and engineering fields, said Korgel. The University has been working with nanotechnology since 2001.
"People are just now beginning to understand these materials and make them," Korgel said.
The CNM, which is offering the new doctoral program, operates through the Texas Materials Institute but is staffed by UT students.
Preliminary approval for the program was given by the provost's office. Students will attend weekly seminars and write nanotechnology research papers.
Korgel said the program is intended to promote interactions between chemistry, engineering, physics and various other disciplines, because nanotechnology is applicable to all. Doctoral students in most natural science disciplines are eligible for the program, Korgel said.
"One of the challenges in the training and education of nanotechnology is the fact that the field is very multi-disciplinary," Korgel said.
The CNM was launched in 2001, and since that time the UT System has appropriated millions for technology research within the System, said Anthony de Bruyn, a spokesman for the UT System. In 2002, the University formed a partnership with UT-Dallas, Rice University and UT-Arlington to promote Texas as a leader in the nanotechnology industry.
"It's an area of need, educationally for our country and in terms of the U.S. economy," Korgel said. "Hopefully, we can help contribute to that."