The science of the very small

Nanotechnology is the science dedicated to understanding and controlling materials at the nanoscale. It is the science of the very small - working on a scale of nanometres, a millionth of a millimetre. The capacity to manipulate matter at the level of nanometres offers enormous potential to revolutionise our lives by transforming areas such as energy production, manufacturing, communication technology, electronics and more.

Specific examples that indicate the breadth of nanotechnology applications include:

  • Semiconductors where it is hoped that very small components will continue the increase in computational speed predicted by Moore's Law.
  • Chemical systems that expect nanotechnology to provide sophisticated sensors for chemicals at low concentrations with applications to biological systems.
  • Biology, where biologists seek means of manipulating and sensing biological processes within cells.

Watch 'Decoding Nano', a video created by the Australian Government with La Trobe University and the Australian Synchrotron to learn more about nanotechnology.

Where can Nanotechnology take me?

New products and processes are developed where physics, chemistry, biology and engineering meet. Nanotechnology applications include computer technology, healthcare, sustainability and helping to make vehicles and machines faster, lighter and stronger.

You can find work in roles such as physicist, chemist, space physicist or research scientist.

Our graduates have been placed and employed in businesses such as SGS, Rio Tinto, Dulux, Starpharma, Air Services Australia, Crocodile Gold Corp., Australian Radiation Services, CETEC-Foray and the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.

Why La Trobe?

La Trobe University's nanotechnology program is unlike any other course in Australia. It has been specially designed to offer a comprehensive, hands-on education with industry integration to prepare you for a career in nanotech.

Our course structures provide full coverage of subject areas, avoiding the compromises of shorter niche degrees where the supporting sciences are reduced in importance. At La Trobe you will take part in unique courses, seminar series and could even take part in international travel as part of your nanotechnology major.

Further study options

You conduct research into specific topic within Nanotechnology by studying a one-year Bachelor of Sciences with Honours in Nanotechnology. Or if you want to further advance your knowledge, a Master of Nanotechnology could be your next step!

Get to know our staff

You'll get to meet a large number of academic staff during your studies, from tutors through to lecturers and supervisors.

Master of Nanotechnology Course Coordinator Honoured

La Trobe academic and nanomaterials and nanofabrication expert, Dr Grant van Riessen, has been nominated to be an Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Ambassador. The award includes $100,000 in research resources at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication and Dr van Riessen will now train fellow scientists in new techniques.

The award will help to fund projects on photonics for imaging applications, devices for serial crystallography, and sensors, to be led by Dr Shanshan Kou, Dr Brian Abbey and Dr Dongchen Qi respectively. Dr van Riessen will focus on three-dimensional patterning of nanostructures using advanced methods and tools in electron beam lithography. “It is like 3D printing on the nanoscale, except that what we 'print' is primarily used as a mask for transferring a 3D pattern into membranes that are themselves only tens of nanometres thick,” Dr van Riessen said. “For the first time, we will be able to create optical nanostructures with the ideal geometry predicted by simulation.”

Dr van Riessen says the award will also provide an opportunity to contribute to the broader scientific direction of ANFF Victoria. “The scheme encourages us to develop new ways of doing things, and to share these methods with the scientific community,” he added. “It’s exciting because it will inevitably lead to new and unexpected research opportunities along the way.”

How to apply

Apply through VTAC or UAC if you're applying to more than one institution, or if you are currently in Year 12.

If you intend to apply only to La Trobe you can apply direct to the University until applications close in December. Late direct applications may be accepted.


VCE Units 3 and 4: a study score of at least 25 in English (EAL) or 20 in English other than EAL; and a study score of at least 20 in Maths (any).


Sherween Chew, Bachelor of Nanotechnology/Bachelor of Science

I found that as an International student from Taiwan, La Trobe was a wonderful environment for me to pursue my interests in nanotechnology and science.

This double degree program was perfect for me as I feel there are many interesting career options now that I’ve graduated. My course offered very good placement opportunities in companies such as Rio Tinto and Starpharma which helped me understand how my knowledge applies to the industry.

I felt I had a lot of support during my study as the course content was always interesting and the teaching staff within the Department of Physics were very nice.

When you are choosing a course, my advice is to choose something that you really want to do so you will enjoy it even more in the long term.

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