Object of Studies
Materials Science and Technology is a relatively young interdisciplinary field, that has emerged in order to address the increasing needs of modern society with respect to the design and manufacture of complex materials that accommodate a variety of environmental, economic, safety, durability, and efficiency constraints, in addition to the specific needs such as biocompatibility, mechanical strength, transparency, conductivity etc. The field of Materials Science researches all classes of materials with an emphasis on the correlations between the structure and the properties, processing and performance of the material. It involves the design, synthesis, characterization, control and modification of materials that meet requirements of the contemporary technical era. Such materials are utilized in the fabrication of nearly every product from mechanical constructions and machines to advanced electronics and a myriad of consumer products, new type of drugs and bioengineering materials. In general, the production of materials comprises a great part of the gross national product (GNP) of most developed countries (e.g., 20% of USA's GNP). This translates to excellent job opportunities in the materials field. Materials research and development will continue to play an essential role in alleviating many of the most pressing problems of today's society such as shortage of critical raw materials and energy. New and/or dramatically improved materials will be crucial to progress in every aspect of energy generation and distribution.
What the Department offers to its students
Access to the reasearch labs of FORTH
The Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH) is one of the two main national research centers in Greece and the only one located in the periphery. It consists of six Institutes located in the cities of Heraklion, Rethymno, and Patras. FORTH belongs to the wider public sector, supervised and partly funded by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Hellenic Ministry of Development. FORTH, recognising the importance of science, technology, and innovation in today's world, is actively pursuing high quality basic research, development of innovative technology, collaborations with industrial partners within and outside Greece, creation of spin-off companies, promotion of specialised services and products, development of Science and Technology Parks, and educational activities in collaboration with universities.Also its research laboratories are of competing quality to the most advanced worldwide scientific laboratories. Relevant for the materials science activities are developed in the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (IESL) and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB). Such activities are located in the following laboratories:
- Laboratory of lasers and applications
- It is the only laboratory in Greece characterized as a European Large Scale Facility, a laboratory that can be used by European researchers for their experiments. The laboratory, besides its fundamental research on ultra-short (femto seconds) high intensity lasers is developing novel applications on medicine, analysis, authentication and art restoration, advanced diagnostic techniques of materials wear, optoelectronics etc.
- Microelectronics laboratory>
- It is the only laboratory in Greece for constructing microcircuits (chips) in complex semi-conductors with applications on high frequency telecommunications. In addition, it provides advanced facilities for the production of thin single crystal films utilizing molecular epitaxy.
- Polymer laboratory
- It provides facilities and expertise on the study of polymer properties by x-rays, laser light scattering, rheology, dielectric spectroscopy, thermal analysis and other techniques. The linkage of the microscopic structure/dynamics to the macroscopic behavior promotes the soft condensed matter research field leading to the optimization of the natural processes and properties during the designing and creation of new advanced materials. The laboratory's goals are the development of modern experimental techniques for polymer research, the training of new researchers in the field and the exploitation of the research experience for solving problems in the plastic industry.
- Laboratory for the photovoltaic conversion of solar energy
- The laboratory develops materials which allow for the conversion of solar energy into electricity. It also tests and studies the functioning of integrated systems of photovoltaic conversion.
- Protein structure laboratory
- The elucidation of the three-dimensional protein structure is of crucial importance for the comprehension of the enzymatic activity. This knowledge is necessary for the development of protein engineering, thus enzymatic modification leading to new and advanced enzymes.
- Laboratory of enzyme technology
- Enzyme technology is an inter-disciplinary field with emphasis on biotechnology, synthetic chemistry, pharmaceutical technology and agriculture. It develops new biologically active compounds for the production of novel materials and new techniques for the isolation of enzymatic products.
- Microchemistry laboratory
- Molecular biology has brought about a rapid development in the genetics allowing for direct applications in the field of decease diagnostics. The microchemistry laboratory produces and delivers synthetic DNA products meeting the needs of most Greek hospitals and research institutes in the field of decoding and localizing causing deceases genes. It also deals with DNA sequencing and investigating genetically modified products.
In the framework of the collaboration of the Department of Materials Science and Technology with the Foundation of Research and Technology, the abovementioned laboratories are available to students either for training or for scientific research.
The Research Library of the School of Sciences with the current subscriptions in the most significant international magazines, electronic access to Greek and foreign databases and thousands monographs in all Science Fields, comprise a substantial tool for researchers, teaching staff and students.The direct cooperation of the Library of the University of Crete and the one of FORTH via internet with other libraries of Universities and Research Centers in Greece, ensures the almost immediate access to magazine titles and books not existing in the Department. Finally, the air-conditioned reading room in Voutes' campus, open 24-hours a day, and the lending department of the library provide a cozy, civilized environment and a rich collection of books for the educational and cultural needs of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Since autumn 1996, the Students Union of the Physics Department has organized a small lending Literature Library, which aims at expanding the spectrum of the students' interests. The first year the library hosted almost 70 book titles although thanks to the students and other organs of the University has increased at a satisfying level. The Library is housed at the 3rd floor of the Physics Department at the same place where the research library is. There is also a small Lending Literature Library at the central Library of School of Sciences at the University site near Knossos.
The Vikelaia Municipal Library in the center of Heraklion town, is at the disposal of any citizen, visitor, and, of course, member of the academic community. A visit there gives the chance to come in touch not only with the world of Books but also with really old archives of documents, newspapers and magazines. In addition, it hosts the "Seferi" and "Vikela" Libraries, the Venetian Archive and the Turkish Archive as well as thousands of book titles for reading or lending.
The Department of Materials Science and Technology offers its students the opportunity to become familiar with modern experimental techniques on the study of structure and materials' properties. All undergraduate students of the Department practice on a series of compulsory laboratory courses: Laboratory of General Chemistry, Laboratory of Mechanics and Heat, Laboratory of Electricity-Optics, Laboratory of Preparation of Materials, Laboratory of Materials Characterisation. Some of the aforementioned labs are hosted in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry while an effort to develop autonomous labs is being carried out with the attainment of equipment for the educational labs, aiming at the continuous quality improvement of education and its adjustment to the constant complexity of the experimental techniques. Except for compulsory labs classes, the Department offers optional educational lab classes with subjects relating to the research activity of the new members of the teaching staff who comprise the Department. All interested students who have attained a satisfying record would also have the opportunity to work mainly in the framework of their dissertation, at the research labs of the Department and FORTH labs in the sectors already mentioned.
The Physical Education & Athletics Office of the University of Crete informs students on different sports and offers them the chance to participate in various athletic activities such: Football, Basket-ball, Volley-ball, Ping pong, Shooting, Chess, Swimming, Classic Athletics, Cross-country race, Street Ball.
The University of Crete organizes internal championship and sets up groups who participate in these, comprised of students from one or more departments. The championships are monitored by evaluated referees from local unions and national rules are applied.In addition, the Office for Physical Education and Athletics co-operates with different athletics associations on teaching the University's students i.e. Heraklion Yachting Club for the acquisition of Open Sea Diploma, Heraklion Sailing Club for rowing, Flying Center Kreta for paragliding.
The University of Crete participates in all Pan-Hellenic Students Championships (organized by the Athletics Committee of Tertiary Education sponsored by the Ministry of Education), which take place in various cities-chairs of Universities and Technological Educational Institutes. The students' performance is remarkable and it is translated into personal and group medals.
Various cultural teams of the University of Crete give students the opportunity to spend creatively their spare time and discover their talents. The viability of these teams is based on the interest of the students. Their attempt is supported (financially and morally) by the Students' Union and the University's Rectorate. Indicatively, we mention some of the most active teams: Astronomical, Painting, Cinema Club, Photography, Mountaineering, Dancing.
Special mention must be made to the Choir "Fragkiskos Leontaritis" team, to the Theatrical Team and to the University radio station:
The Choir Team was founded in the Spring of 1994 with the initiative of selective members of the academic community akin to music. Presently, it consists of more than forty people, most of whom are students or employees in the University of Crete.
The Theatrical Team together with the Choir are the most organized groups since it stages one play per year and has been credited with exquisite critics on the outstanding performances.
The radio station broadcasts in Heraklion since 2000 and consitiutes the voice of the academic community.
In the relevant webpage of the Students' Center more information on the groups can be found.
Computational Facilities and Internet
The Department focuses on, among other goals, training of its students in the use of comuters and programming. Fully equipped rooms with tens of relatively new PCs are at the disposal of students for their training and projects. Additionally, the University has aquired the license to distribute free-of-charge to its students specific computer applications and Operating Systems.
The Univerity of Crete is connected, with ultra high-speed (2.5 Gbs) bandwidth, via ΕΔΕΤ-2, to other Research Centers in Greece and Europe. The University offers free-of-charge to its members dial-up residential access to Internet, as well as wireless access to all in the campuses.
Materials science and technology graduates can be employed in a wide range of industries and technology businesses, such as those involved with metals (steel, aluminium), ceramics (tiles, insulation), glasses (and fibre optics), polymers (formation, properties, polymers of wide applications, mechanic plastics), electronic materials (microelectronics, opto-electronics, batteries, cables, magnetic materials etc.), colloids (paint, medicine), and biomaterials (biosustainable products, prosthetics, biomedical applications).
Public and private power and telecommunications organizations can also employ materials scientists, since research and development of new and/or altered materials will be crucial to progress in every aspect of energy generation and distribution. Services of the wider public field would be in need of materials scientists for designing and controlling materials specifications and constructions. In addition, due to their interdisciplinary education, graduates can teach Physics, Chemistry, basic Biology, Technology of materials and processes and other relative subjects that might be introduced to Higher Education. Finally, they will be legitimate to elaborate relevant studies and to participate in materials quality control boards for constructions of various types.
Postgraduate Studies and Research
The graduates of the Department of Materials Science and Technology can pursue a postgraduate degree in relevant graduate programs in Greek Universities and abroad. The Department has also developed its own graduate program leading to a Masters Degree and PhD.