Georgia Institute of TechnologyNanoscience + Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech
Students conducting researchNanoTECH Student Spotlight: Prashant Jain

PRASHANT JAIN

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Georgia Tech Ph.D. candidate Prashant Jain is using nanotechnology to make a social impact on scientific research. "As my advisor always says, 'Science needs to have a social aspect to it'," says Jain, who says that in the future, nanotechnology will provide better drug delivery and information technology through compact electronic and photonic devices created from nanomaterials and nanoparticles.

A native of India, Jain chose to pursue his graduate studies in physical chemistry at Tech because of its reputation as a university and the reputation of professors such as Uzi Landman and Mostafa El-Sayed. "Georgia Tech is well known in India as a technological school," says Jain, who now studies under School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Regents' Professor El-Sayed.

Georgia Tech also allowed Jain to study nanoscience and nanotechnology. "I was aware of the buzzword 'nanotechnology' in Bombay," says Jain, who graduated from the University Department of Chemical Technology, Bombay, in 2003. "My formal interest in nanotechnology was initiated when I came to Georgia Tech."

At Tech, he took classes within the newly created Nanoscience and Technology Certificate program and quickly found his academic calling. Jain, who plans to graduate in 2008, currently researches the photophysics of gold nanoparticles under El-Sayed's tutelage. "Gold behaves completely differently at the nanoscale," explains Jain, who uses techniques of spectroscopy to answer questions about the nanoparticles' characteristics. "Answers to these questions will be very important in future applications," such as photonic devices and cancer diagnostics and therapy, explains Jain.

He believes so completely in nanoscience's future applications that he joined Nano@Tech, an organization at Tech that helps expose middle and high school students to nanoscience and nanotechnology efforts. "Generating enthusiasm is one way in which I want to be involved with nanotechnology," says Jain, who recently volunteered through Nano@Tech to explain to high school students the fundamental characteristics of nanomaterials. "Nanotechnology is fun; it's exciting," he says. "There's a place for everybody in nanotechnology."

After graduating, Jain plans to find his place in nanotechnology, spending a year as a post-doc before becoming a faculty researcher in the field of chemical physics. He says that Georgia Tech is giving him the right academic foundation in nanoscience for a successful career in a burgeoning field. "I think I made the right decision," he says. "I came to the right place."