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Monday, December 31, 2012

Government of India initiative on Nanoelectronics

India took a major initiative in the 11th Plan to start and strengthen many activities in nanoelectronics, including creation and support of several Centres of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and a nation wide Indian Nanoelectronics Users’ Programme. In the 12th plan it is proposed to scale it up multi-fold through the innovation council, with emphasis on nanoelectronics to cater to India’s expanding requirements in consumer, societal, security, strategic, energy and agricultural areas, and thereby gain technology leadership and economic maturity with more than 10% GDP growth target. With this objective , Department of Electronics and Information Technology, MCIT has formed a sectoral innovation council in order to promote innovation in the area of Nanoelectronics.

Some of the application areas where the Nanoelectronics innovation can have a significant impact are:
1. Societal Electronics: There are many new applications of low-cost nanoelectronics which can transform Indian society, including smart cards (UID), low cost medical diagnostic devices,
pathogen sensors, water purification, environmental sensors, sensors for agriculture and distance education through smarter phones. One needs to realize that, more than half of India’s population is under the age of 25, and one million people a month are expected to join the labour force over the next decade. Therefore we need to develop technologies that help youth excel & acquire skills, which is a pressing need in the country. It could be low cost tablets, training material, distance education tools, IT, or learning aids.
2. Rural Electronics: India’s massive agricultural sector employs about 60% of the population,
yet accounts for only about 17% of total GDP. We need to use innovation/technology as a vehicle to improve productivity in our agricultural sector. It could be by way of sensor networks for agricultural applications or assisting the farmer with low cost easy to use sensor technologies for soil health monitoring. Food security is emerging as the foremost consideration for the inclusive growth of India. The needs in this sector are very specific to our environment and circumstances and the solution should emerge indigenously. Applications of Nanoelectronics in Agriculture is a completely unexplored territory worldwide. An example application is soil health monitoring sensor network which would have a real time sensing and remedial action to assess soil moisture, micronutrients etc. There are several potential applications in enhancing the growth and productivity of this sector.
3. Medical Electronics: Healthcare is a major concern in India and rural health infrastructure is
hardly existent. For example, 14 million persons are infected with TB in India and more than 300,000 deaths occur every year; about 2 million cases of malaria are recorded every year, by 2015 close to 5 million infected with AIDS; 17.1 million lives are claimed by cardiovascular diseases, with 82% of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries like India. India is home to about 40 Million diabetic patients. Add to this: 42% Indians live on $1.25 per day ; 22 Million population pushed below poverty line annually due to healthcare expenditure. We need low cost medical diagnostic technologies, medical equipment, point-of-care systems to address these pressing needs.
4. Consumer Electronics: The large and growing Indian markets in telecom, computers, automobiles and entertainment make it possible to envisage nanoelectronics fabrication in India at the large scales required. The presence of such a sector will also provide the capability of chip fabrication for strategic applications.
5. Strategic Electronics: Security is such a major concern in India. There are hardly any technologies that can prevent recurrence of terrorist attacks, the type that happened in the recent past. The technologies that are protecting our airports are vastly inadequate. Vapour phase or stand-off detection of explosives, sensor networks for explosive detection covering the vital installations, protection of transport systems, detection of chemical warfare agents are all problems that are currently looking for a solution. Nanoelectronics can play a vital role in providing a solution to these problems. Besides explosive detection, there are important requirements for IR detectors and imaging, high-speed and high-power electronics, and lasers, all of which are critical in defence, space and homeland security applications. In addition, strategic requirements often mandate that chip fabrication be in a secure domestic foundry.
6. Energy Electronics: Compound semiconductors offer solutions for high speed electronics, semiconductor lighting, optoelectronics etc. where silicon based solutions are inadequate or not available. Energy is an area where innovation can create a profitable playing field in the solar PV marketplace. India is a fertile testing ground for many of these technologies and offers huge markets, if there are cost effective solutions. This could be by way of developing the new nano-based photovoltaic cells that will be critical for the National Solar Mission, or through the widespread use of smart energy meters, and efficient lighting, including white light emitting diodes and organic LEDs.
For further details:
Dr. G. V. Ramaraju
Senior Director & Group Coordinator (R&D in IT)
Department of Electronics & IT (DeitY)
Ministry of Communications & IT (MCIT)
Government of India
Electronics Niketan, 6, CGO Complex
New Delhi – 110003
Telefax: - (011) 24365415
Email: -

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