Mumbai University's most ambitious and state-of-the art project - the National Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology- which was commissioned three years ago through a Rs100 crore grant of University Grants Commission (UGC), is finally ready to be kicked off.
The ground plus two-floor centrally air-conditioned premises of the centre houses half a dozen specialized laboratories with highly advanced machines including those which work on a single atom. A dozen MPhil students along with four professors have already started their work in the centre which is yet to inaugurated formally.
UGC allotted this centre to Mumbai University in the year 2007. The grants to the tune of Rs50crore were given to the university in the first phase. The release of the remaining Rs50 crore has got a green signal after the "positive appraisal" report given by UGC review team which visited the centre between January 30-31.
Prof Sundar Manoharan, director of the centre has confirmed the development. "I am happy all the hard work we have put in has been appreciated by the UGC experts. They have decided to give us additional Rs15 crore for the recurring expenses. We will now focus on filling teachers and scientists posts."
"The centre which is located near the Exam House in Kalina campus has already installed laser Molecular Beam Epitaxy System, Pulse Laser Depositor, Glove-box, Scanning & Transmission electron microscopes -- all worth between Rs2-7 crore," says Prof HMuthurajan, who left his job at Singapore's Nanyang Institute of Technology a year ago in order to be associated with this centre.
The major thrust area of the lab would be the stem cell research mainly on bone marrow so as to develop low cost medicines for blood cancer,semiconductor base fabrication to develop efficient low cost solar cells and to develop highly efficient organic light emitting diode (OLED) so that mobile and laptops can work longer once charged and preparing laser based lithography system, which would be the first in Asia and would revolutionise the chip technology.
DRDO and Nanyang Institute of Technology Singapore have already given two big projects to the centre.
Director set to quit soon?
Sundar Manoharan (51) who was brought in from IIT Kanpur in December 2011has decided to call it quits.The tenure of the director is of five years. Though he has taken avoluntary retirement from the IIT recently, he is set to join a private institution — Karunya University at Coimbatore — as vice chancellor in the next couple of months, said an official privy to the development.
However, Prof Manoharan says, "I am not leaving this centre for the next five-six months. I have put in a lot of effort and wish to see this centre running successfully."