EVOLUTION OF NANOTECHNOLOGY IN INDIA

Year 2001 was a milestone in the history of evolution of nano science and nanotechnology in India. But, researches had been carried out at individual and institutional level in this field before 2001 also. In October 2001, Department of Science and Technology (DST) launched a modest programme in Nano Science and Technology, Nano science and Nanotechnology Initiative (NSTI). The main motive of launching this initiative was to promote basic research and create research infrastructure in nanotechnology and nano science. The first phase of the programme continued till 2006.

During 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012), the need for projects to create high value and large impact on socio-economic delivery involving nano devices and nano material in health was felt. Thus, in 2007, Mission on Nano science and Nanotechnology (Nano Mission) was launched as the second phase of the earlier programme. A corpus of Rs. 1000 crore was allocated to the mission under the five year plan. Under NSTI, and since May 2007 under the Nano Mission, DST has supported a number of activities in Nano Science and Technology.

In the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017), the government gave its approval for continuation of the Mission on Nano Science and Technology in its Phase-II. The government allocated a corpus of Rs. 650 crore for it. All scientists, institutions and industry in the country were made the Mission's target. The Nano Mission, in this new phase, was envisaged to make greater effort to promote application-oriented R&D so that some useful products, processes and technologies also emerge.

NANO MISSION

National Mission of Nano Science and Technology (Nano Mission) was launched in 2007 as an umbrella programme. The Department of Science and Technology is the nodal agency for implementing the Nano Mission. The main purpose of the mission is to develop and promote all aspects of nanotechnology and nano science in the country and to harness its potential for our development. The Nano Mission will strive for development of products and processes for national development, especially in areas of national relevance like safe drinking water, materials development, sensors development, drug delivery, etc.

For this, it will forge linkages between industry and educational and research institutions and promote Public Private Partnerships. The mission is guided by Nano Mission Council, at apex level, which is headed by Professor CNR   Rao. Nano Applications and Technology Advisory Group (NATAG) and Nano Science Advisory Group (NSAG) are the two advisory groups to guide technical programmes of the Nano Mission.

Following are the main objectives of Nano-Mission:

  1. Basic Research Promotion
  2. Development of infrastructure for Nano Science & Technology Research
  3. Nano Applications and Technology Development Programmes
  4. Human Resource Development
  5. International Collaborations

MAJOR ACTORS IN THE FIELD OF NANOTECHNOLOGY

Indian Government has played a major role in promoting research and development in nanotechnology in India. Several schemes have been launched for human resource and infrastructure development. Many regional, bilateral and multilateral initiatives are taken with other countries to promote nanotechnology development, innovation and research. For development of nano-based product , Public Private Partnerships model is also encouraged. The main department which is involved in nanotechnology development, innovation and research is Department of Science and Technology.

Along with the DST other ministries and organisations such as DBT, DIT and CSIR are also important stakeholders in India’s nanotechnology development. Other stakeholders such as research institutes, universities and private firms have also become important players in this area.

Different scientific agencies and departments also make their own allocations for nano science and technology programs and activities. They have directed focus to target key areas such as DIT in Nanoelectronics; DBT in Nano-Medicine; CSIR in Energy, Metrology and Nano-medicine; ARCI in Water, Textile and Smart Materials; NIPER in Nano-Pharmaceutical and Toxicology.

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (DST)

It is the nodal agency in the Indian nanotechnology innovation system. It has launched many programmes to foster Research and Development on nano-scale. Major programmes are:

  • National Programme on Smart Materials: It was a six year programme, launched in 2000 jointly by Department of Space, DST, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ministry of Information Technology and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • Nano Science and Technology Initiative
  • Nano Mission

  1. Establishment and mentoring of various units: DST has established Centres of Excellence for Nanotechnology, Units on Nano Science and Thematic Units of Excellence on Computational Material Science for developing physical infrastructure in various laboratories and universities across the country.

These Centres of Excellence in Indian institutions are supported by Indian Government. These include the Institute of Nano Science and Technology- Mohali (INST-Mohali), Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences- Bengaluru (CeNS), thematic centres of excellence and organisation of national and international workshops and conferences to give impetus to nano science and technology.

INSTITUTE OF NANO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (INST)

Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali (Punjab), is an autonomous institute supported by Department of Science & Technology. It was established under the umbrella of Nano Mission to boost research and development in the field of Nano science and Nanotechnology in India. INST started its activities on 3rd January 2013.

INST aims to bring together chemists, material scientists and physicists at the forefront of the science of characterising and making materials at the nanoscale, with biochemists and biologists applying these discoveries in the medical, agricultural, biological sphere. It brings together scientists from different backgrounds in an intimate atmosphere to learn about the needs and scientific advances in their respective fields and to build collaborations and interactions.

Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS)

The Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) is an autonomous research institute under Department of Science and Technology. It is located in Jalahalli, Bengaluru. It was established in 1991 as Centre for Liquid Crystal Research by Professor named S. Chandrasekhar (an eminent liquid crystal scientist). Later in 2003, the centre was brought under DST. In the year 2010, its name was changed to Centre for Soft Matter Research. In 2014, the Centre has further widened the scope of research activities to embrace nano technology and science. It is now known as Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences. It is being supervised by Nano Mission of the Government of India.

In the form of grant-in-aid the DST provides core support to the Centre for conducting basic and applied research in nano and soft matter sciences. It is engaged in materials research at all relevant length scales. The current activities are focussed on a variety of semiconductor and metal nano structures, gels, membranes, liquid crystals and hybrid materials. It has close interactions with many Industries and institutions in India and abroad.

Nanotechnology Initiative Division

NANOELECTRONICS CENTRES

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has established major Nanoelectronics Centres of international standards at premier institutes in India.

INDIAN NANOELECTRONICS USERS PROGRAMME (INUP)

It is an initiative by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It is being implemented at  

Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at IIT and IISc Bombay. This programme has provided greater opportunity for research and development community all over India for skill development in Nanoelectronics.

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