R&D in Nanoelectronics: India getting ready to be a Global Player!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Nanotechnology Initiatives Programme of Department of Information Technology (DIT) was initiated in 2004. The focus of the programme is on Institutional capacity building, human resource development, Infrastructure creation and research & development in Nanoelectronics.  In the long run, the programme is expected to create a synergetic environment for creation of vibrant Nanoelectronics industry in the country.  

Centers of Excellence in Nanoelectronics

Nanoelectronics Centres at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Mumbai and Indian Institute of Science, Bangaluru

A joint project for   setting of two Nanaoelectronics Centers at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Indian Institute of Science Bangalore was initiated with a   cost of ` 100 Crores in the year 2006 as a Phase I.  This project has been unique in the manner   in which two top level academic organizations in India have come together with an MOU between them to take up an R&D project of this magnitude. The objectives of these Centers have been:

·         Embark on R&D activities in the areas of nanoelectronics including materials, devices and sensors, nanosystems and their characterization and modeling.

·         Networking with other agencies, institutions, national labs and industry working in the area of nanoelectronics and create a nanofabrication facility accessible to all researchers.

·         Generate trained human resources suitable for nanoelectronics research, engineering and manufacturing.

·         Demonstrate that the nanofab facilities created and human resources generated can be used to develop socially relevant systems with nanostructured materials and systems.

·         The deliverables at the Center of Excellence at IIT Bombay included development and establishment of sub 100 nanometer CMOS process, development of nanosystems for Healthcare and environmental monitoring, development of organic and biopolymer devices, GaN devices, and characterization, modeling and simulation of nanoelectronic devices.

·         The deliverables at IISc included magnetic materials for LC resonator, acoustic sensors, ferroelectrics for Ferratic RAMs (FRAMs) and phase shifters, rare earth metal oxides for MOS gate dielectrics, molecular rectifiers based on organic thin films. 

Centres of Excellence in Nanoelectronics  Phase I

The first phase has been very successful in establishing major nanofabrication facilities of international standards at the two institutions and providing a catalyst for ambitious research initiatives in the area of nanoelectronics. Within a short span of five years, state-of-the-art facilities in nanoelectronics have been set up and used by a large number of faculty and students at the two Institutes as well as researchers from other institutions under the satellite “Indian Nanoelectronics Users’ Programme”. Significant research output as well as training of manpower has been accomplished in this project during a relatively very short span of time.   These centres have attracted international attention and talent (as faculty) to these institutions and   have become “Centres of Excellence in Nanoelectronics”.  This project has provided confidence that academic organizations can take up large R&D projects effectively and has become a model project for funding of   large R&D projects by other Government departments and organizations at academic institutions. 
Centres of Excellence in Nanoelectronics Phase II

Based on the experience and success of the phase I   project, the phase II project at a cost of  Rs. 146.91 Cr was initiated in December 2011 for execution by IIT Bombay and IISc over a period of 5 years.  While the previous project was largely focused on infrastructure creation for nanoelectronics research, the Phase II project focuses on research in frontier areas of nanoelectronics, technology generation, closer interaction with industries for commercialization and scaled up effort in high quality R&D manpower generation.
Nanoelectronics Centres at IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and IIT Kharagpur

Inspired by the success of the Nanoelectronics Centres project at IIT Bombay and IISc, setting up of 3 more Nanoelectronics centres has been taken up by the Department of IT at IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, Chennai and IIT Kharagpur on different aspects of Nanoelectronics. 
R&D Projects

In addition to establishing Centres, several small and medium scale projects have also been initiated for capacity building for R&D in the areas of   nano materials, nano devices, nano subsystem and nano systems at various institutions across India including Indian Institutes of Technology at New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee,  IISc Bangalore,  C-MET Pune,  CEERI Pilani, CSIO Chandigarh,   Jadavpur University Kolkata, Jamia Milia Islamia, Visvevaraya Institute of Technology Nagpur  etc.  The specific R&D areas   included Nano silver oxide, nano-particles of noble and transition medals, nano-sized metals/metal oxide/metal nitrides, nanocrystalline silicon MEMS Pressure Sensor, technology for quantum structures, organic thin film transistors, quantum-well infrared photodetectors, Carbon Nano Tubes (CNTs) for targeted drug delivery, tin oxide powder and tin oxide   thin films for gas sensing, CNTs for field emission devices, simulation of Nanoscale MOSFETs, Nanosized SiC based quantum structures, Quantum-semiconductor-glass-nanocomposites, porous silicon for sensing of gas and biological spices, simulation of nano-devices, oxide based functional thin film nano-structures for Spintronics and quantum informatics, GaN, InGaN based quantum dots for LEDs, Nano silver oxide doped/ mixed with gold and copper for ultra high density storage devices, III/ V compound semiconductor based quantum dots technology, wide band gap semiconductors nanostructured materials and devices, semiconducting  Single Wall Carbon Nano Tubes (SWCNTs), CNTs based Gas sensor and Multi-functional magnetic nano particulates for cancer therapy.


In order to implement the Nanoelectronics development program successfully, nanometrology (science of measurement at nanoscales) is also an requirement. The general trend towards increased miniaturization in manufacturing   to micro to nano  is not simply a scale problem, but involves facing new physics.

A project has been taken up at National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi to address the issues of nanometrology by establishing a National nanometorlogy laboratory. This laboratory provides calibration and traceability for physical dimensions like linewidth, step height, surface texture and calibration of electrical parameters like low voltages in nanovolts, low currents in picoamperes, electric charge in femtocoulombs (fC).  It is expected to cater to the nanoscale measurements for various industrial applications including automotive, biomedical and semiconductor industry. 

Indian Nanoelectronics User Program

The Indian Nanoelectronics User Program (INUP) has been conceived and initiated by the Department of IT to facilitate and support generation in India of expertise and knowledge in nanoelectronics through participation and utilization of the facilities established at the Centres of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at IISc, Bangaluru and IIT Bombay, Mumbai by external users from academia, R&D institutions and Industry.  The INUP program aims to:

·         Impart hands-on training in nanoelectronics to researchers from other institutions in the country and help train researchers in Nanoelectronics. Users from academic, research and industrial R&D institutions are trained through this project at three levels.

-          Short-term workshops to disseminate the outcome of the research activities. These workshops are also expected to provide exposure and awareness.

-          Hands-on training for selected researchers. 

-          Execution of collaborative research projects by external users by providing support for fabrication and expert guidance.

·         Assist in the initiation of research in nanoelectronics at various institutions in the country by enabling the execution of the work of external users at these centres.

·         Collaborate with research teams at various Indian organizations and develop joint projects in nanoelectronics.

·         Provide a platform for researchers in Naoelectronics to come together and benefit from complementary expertise.

·         To generate more than 750 trained students, professional scientists and engineers etc., at various levels and take up about 40 research projects in Nanoelectronics.

The INUP has been utilized by researchers and engineers from academia, R&D organizations and industry.    More than 110 R&D projects from more than 100 external organizations across the country have been taken up so far under INUP. About 1150 researchers and students   from across India have been trained through INUP.

Patents, Publications

More than 500 articles have been published and more than 20 patents have been filed in the projects initiated under this programme.

Industry Participation and Commercialization

While initiatives have already been taken for establishing the R&D infrastructure for Nanoelectronics, the focus of programme is now progressively leaning to technology transfer, product development and commercialization.  A startup company viz. Nanosniff has been incubated at IIT Bombay for product development. A mechanism for incubation of startup companies and commercialization of technologies is being contemplated by the Department of IT in collaboration with other organizations. (PIB Feature).
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