India will soon set up an international nano-science centre for material sciences to undertake research and development (R&D) projects in the application of nano-technology.
Announcing this in Bangalore on Saturday, Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said the centre would be thrown open also to non-resident Indian (NRI) scientists and technologists to take up research projects and collaborate with other public and private institutes for developing nano products.
"We have earmarked Rs 10 billion for investing in nano-science and nano-technology over a five-year period. During the current fiscal (2006-07), Rs 1.8 billion are being spent to set up seven-eight nano-science and nano-technology centres in the country," the minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function.
Earlier, inaugurating the country's first nano lab at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Sibal said though India had missed the semiconductor revolution, efforts were being made by the government and the scientific community to tap the potential of nano-technology fully to develop a host of applications across verticals for the benefit of the common people.
"The nano lab at the JNCASR will focus on the energy sector to develop devices like super capacitors for batteries and photo voltaic cells to tap solar energy optimally. Similar nano labs in other cities will develop technologies to devise applications or sensors that can be used in healthcare, agriculture, electronics, hardware and life sciences," Sibal said.
The nano-science labs will undertake fundamental research to develop modules for using nano-technology in diverse fields, while nano-technology centres will device applications and products for mass production by the private sector.
CNR Rao, national research professor and chairman of the prime minister's scientific advisory council, said advances in nano-science and nano-technology during the last five years have brought about phenomenal changes in material manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceutical and catalysis industries.
"Nano-science and nano-technology pertain to the synthesis, characterisation, exploration and utilisation of nano-structured materials, which are characterised by one dimension in the nano-metre range. These constitute a bridge between single molecules and bulk systems.
"Individual nano-structures involve clusters, quantum dots, nano-particles nano-wires and nano-tubes, while collection of nano-structures involve arrays, assemblies and super-lattices in one, two or three dimensions," said Rao.