Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Establish Designated Emphasis in Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Description of and Reasons for Anticipated Action

Nanoscale science and engineering is currently one of the most rapidly growing fields in the natural sciences and in engineering.  Because of the critical role that nanoscale science and education is playing in physics, chemistry, engineering and biology, it is anticipated that all major research universities will have some level of activity in this important area of research and education.  The proposed Designated Emphasis (DE) will be administered by a new interdisciplinary graduate group. 

Relationship to Existing Campus Programs, Units, and Mission

The DE in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NSE) will be an interdisciplinary effort of faculty from the departments of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Physics. A Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute will be formed on the Berkeley campus, to assist in attracting outstanding graduate students, post-docs and faculty.


Initially, no additional resources are requested.  As the program progresses, the allocation of 8 new faculty FTE positions in this field will be proposed, as well as the formation of an administrative infrastructure, including office space, that will be of great benefit for the NSE Graduate Group.


No extra funding from the campus is requested.  Extramural funding will be sought for the formation of the Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute, which will provide the necessary means for the administration of the new Graduate Group.  Graduate student training grants, e.g. from NSF, will be applied for.


Several dozen students are expected to select the DE for their Ph.D. program of study.  This number will likely increase if sufficient training grants (e.g., from NSF) can be obtained for this field of study.

Employment Implications

With the rapidly increasing interest in this field the formation of the DE in NSE is expected to result in significantly improved employment opportunities for students looking for positions in industry and academia related to this field.

UC Campuses and Other California Institutions with Similar Offerings

Nanoscale Science and Engineering has been recognized as a key, enabling research topic at most UC campuses. UCLA and UCSB have recently launched the California Nanosystems Institute, one of the 4 California Institutes for Science and Innovation.  Berkeley faculty are working closely with LBNL, which is also making this a top priority.  LBNL has been awarded $85 million for a Molecular Foundry, a national user facility for nanoscale fabrication.  UC Davis has an ORU in Nanophases in the Environment, Agriculture and Technology (NEAT). 

Anticipated Campus Review and Implementation Date

The proposal is being developed by a group of faculty.  Anticipated implementation is Fall 2003.

Campus Contact Person

Professor Eicke R. Weber, Professor of Materials Science, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

374 Hearst Mining Building, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1760

phone: (510) 642-0205

fax: (510) 642-2069