The scope and application of nanotechnology is tremendous and mind-boggling. According to the scientists, 21st century would be the nanotechnology century. Many scientific institutions in the country have already begun R&D in this field. With the rapid strides being made in nanotechnology research it is emerging as an area of fast growth and potential employment. This technology holds the promise of exciting applications in bioscience, medicine, environment, cosmetics, electronics, security and a host of other fields.
Nanotechnology refers to components build of the size 20 to 30 nano-meters. They are also supposed to be self replicating or self assembling and this aspect get confused with cloning. Self-assembling implies, you put the ingredients in one place and they assemble into some thing useful where as replicating implies, you have an assembled component and it replicates it self in to thousands of more like itself. Cloning refers to meddling with nature at reproductive level of animals including human. Self replicating or self assembling does not refer to living being but manipulation done on organic and inorganic materials at molecular level. This separation between living and nonliving gets blurred at nano level. Any way whether self assembling or self replicating once the process is on, little effort is required externally to manufacture them. The cost benefit can be immediately sensed.
According to a NASSCOM report, the worldwide market for nanotechnology is estimated to touch $891 billion by 2015 from the current level of $180 billion. This sector is also expected to create 12 million new jobs by 2015. Indian companies have the huge potential to tap the nanotechnology market. Of the current level of $180 billion, electronics and materials account for more than 65 per cent of the market.
Nanotechnology in India
Indian industries have started realizing the commercial viability of nanotechnology-based products and their impact on national economy. Nanotechnology in India is targeted towards the main streams like electronics, healthcare markets, and other industrial products. Though the field is at present in infancy stage, India is making dedicated efforts not to lag behind after starting work in this field. There are many exciting new fields that have opened up for the nanotechnology experts. These fields include:
- Health industry research and consulting- pharmaceutical, medical, agriculture, food and beverage, environment industries.
- Research and development in government, universities and private research institutes
- Education and academics.
- Biotechnology industry.
- Product development and advising.
- Communication and media, interfacing of new technologies.
- Many new industries emerging as a result of advances in nanotechnology.
The NASSCOM report also said that the Indian government has formally allocated about $26 million for nanotechnology, but a higher amount is needed, as there is a huge potential in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. The concept of nanotechnology holds great importance here, as India takes the fourth place after US, Japan and China in terms of investments for the purpose of research, as well as output of nanotechnology and nanomaterials.
Education and institutes
To become a successful professional in the specified field of nanotechnology, it is important that you should have an M. Tech degree in the subject. To get into an M. Tech course, you should have a degree in Physics, Chemistry or Biotechnology. There are many institutions that have started courses in nanotechnology like, Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, National Physical Laboratory, Delhi, Solid State Physics Laboratory, Delhi, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at Kanpur, Chennai, Guwahati, Delhi and Mumbai.
In the private sector also, there is one institute, Amity Institute of Nanotechnology, Noida, which offers a two year M. Tech degree programme.
There are about 150 institutions working on research and about 500 companies in the global market. In India organizations dedicated to nanotechnology include India Nano, Velbionanotech,Yashnanotech and IITs ( Delhi and Roorkee). Apart from these, major biotech and pharma companies are also entering the field of nanotechnology. Hence Indians have a great career opportunity in the country as well as abroad.
Though nanotech on the one hand is a very new area, claims have been made that it has already impacted markets and has been around for thirty or more years. More importantly, new discoveries such as carbon nanotubes and quantum dots are fuelling excitement about future nanotech markets. A review of the growth of patents, company activities, and interviews with company representatives and discussions with nanotechnology scientists and engineers confirm that this excitement is grounded in reality. The reviews and discussions further suggest that nanotech’s first impact will be in the areas of coatings, films, and sensors. It rightfully ranks the materials sub sector as having the largest market followed by the devices and then the nanobio sectors. Most agree that the impact will be significant and could be revolutionizing.