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    South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
  Sep 26, 2017
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog

Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Dr. Steve Smith
Nanoscience and Nanoengineering
(605) 394-5268

Advisory Council

Professors Ahrenkiel, Fong, Salem and Smith (Chair); Associate Professors Yang and Zhu; Assistant Professors Anderson and Wood; Dean Price (ex-officio).

Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

The Nano Science and Engineering Ph.D. (Nano SE Ph.D.) Program at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program focusing on the science and engineering of nano-scale materials, nano-metrology, and nano-biotechnology. The goal of nanoscience and nanotechnology is to manipulate matter at the atomic and “nano” length scales (dimensions from a few to 100’s of atomic radii), e.g. the molecular to mesoscopic levels, where new materials and phenomena have been discovered. The ability to engineer systems at these length scales will require professionals with a broad understanding of fundamental principles and the ability to cross-over into other fields. The nano program provides the training to allow scientists and engineers to address these challenges, and the opportunity for students to engage in such research at the School of Mines while pursuing the Ph.D.

The Nano SE Ph.D. program offers a research-intensive degree focused on nanoscience and nanotechnology, with an emphasis on nano-scale materials. A multi-disciplinary core curriculum is taken by students from diverse science and engineering backgrounds. These “core” courses are intended to introduce students to contemporary topics in nanoscience and nanotechnology, and to initiate a cross-disciplinary approach to research and learning. These courses can usually be completed in one, or at most two years. In addition to this core, students entering with an M.S. degree are required to take at least two electives outside the student’s traditional area of training. Students entering at the B.S. level will be expected to pursue, or take coursework equivalent to, an M.S. degree, in addition to the nano core curriculum.

Students from traditional science and engineering backgrounds enter the program with well-defined research interests and affiliate themselves with a research group and a faculty mentor. Current nano program participants draw from the Departments of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Physics, Chemistry, Chemical, Electrical, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering. Students with traditional training in these areas participate in cross-disciplinary research with a nano focus. Three major focus areas of the program are Electronic-Photonic Materials, Nano-Bio Imaging, and Nano-composites. Examples of research projects are: synthesis and characterization of nanocomposite materials, photo-activated nano-inks for direct write applications, nano-energetic materials, polymer chemistry, theory of spintronic devices, structural and optical characterization of nano-materials for solar energy, bio-fuels and other forms of renewable energy, superresolution optical imaging methods and nonlinear optics applied to the imaging of nano-scale bio-materials and systems.

Convergent Beam Electron Diffraction montage of lattice mismatched III-V multilayer (multi-junction solar cell research in Ahrenkiel Lab Scanning tunneling microscope image of self-assembled quantum dots grown by MBE (quantum dot solar cell research in Yang lab) Fluorescence image of Electrospun conjugated polymer nanofibers (organic electronics for optoelectronics researchin Zhu lab)

The Nano SE Ph.D. program builds on traditional science and engineering disciplines, and offers a “core” curriculum which introduces students from varying science and engineering backgrounds to contemporary topics in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Students are expected to obtain graduate level training in a traditional discipline, designated as the “program major emphasis”, and take a minimum of 6 elective credits outside their own area. Students entering the program with an M.S. may apply up to 24 transfer credits toward fulfilling the program major emphasis requirements. More information is available in the Nano SE Ph.D. Program Handbook.

Students with an M.S. degree in science or engineering are eligible for admission. However, students with a B.S. degree only will also be considered for admission when the student has proven to possess exceptional qualifications. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), three letters of recommendation, and a GPA of 3.00 or better are required of all applicants for the Ph.D. program. The TOEFL exam is required for students whose native language is not English.

All candidates for the Ph.D. program are required to successfully complete the following minimum credits and earn a grade of “C” or better, except for a final grade of “S” in NANO 898:

The program of study must be filed with the graduate office , and approved by the Nano SE Ph.D. program director before midterm of the second semester of residence, and again before the qualifying exam. Below is the summary of the required course of study.


Total: 80

Curriculum Notes

1 Course taken three times for a total of 3 credits.

General Program Requirements

(Minimum program requirements: (80 credits)

M.S. Degree (24 credits)

Students entering the Ph.D. program with a previous M.S. degree in a relevant discipline are allowed to apply a maximum of 24 semester course credit hours toward the course credit requirements subject to approval of the Dean of Graduate Education.

The following is a list of electives for each focus area of the program. Graduate level courses which serve the needs of our other graduate programs are also available as electives.

Additional Information

For program supervision purposes, the nano SE Ph.D. program director is the graduate advisor until the major professor is appointed. The major professor is responsible for the student‘s dissertation research. The graduate office representative on the student‘s dissertation committee must be selected from outside of the department with which the major professor is affiliated, and should also be a member of the Nano Ph.D. Advisory Council. It is not necessary that the student be associated with the department of affiliation of his or her major professor. Detailed information on examination policy, admission to candidacy, and defense of dissertation are included in the School of Mines nano science and engineering Ph.D. Program Handbook.