Convergence of Technologies
Following is the text of the President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s address
at the National Centre for Scientific Research
in Demokritos, Greece today :
“I am delighted to be here in this beautiful environment
and address the scientists and technologists of the National Centre for Scientific
Research (NCSR). I greet Dr. Dimitrios Niarchos, Director, NCSR and researchers
of this important institution in Greece. I find that the Centre is carrying out
scientific research in biology, material science, micro-electronics, informatics,
tele-communications, nuclear technology, nuclear physics, radio isotopes and physical
chemistry. The core competence of India and Greece can be identified by a joint
task team which will enable establishment of collaborative ventures for synergizing
the strengths of two nations leading to the design, development, production and
marketing of products and systems in the world market.
India is well on its way to become a knowledge society. There
is all round growth in all sectors of the economy namely agriculture, manufacturing
and services. Today we have an opportunity to take the leadership in the knowledge
revolution. Knowledge Revolution is indeed the foundation for leading India into
a Developed Nation. For this, the time is ripe because of the ascending trajectory
of the economy, availability of great institutions for capacity building of the
human resource, abundant bio-diversity, and other natural resources and above
all, our 540 million youth who are determined to make the nation prosperous, happy
and a safe place to live well before 2020. With this background India is taking
the lead in mobilizing and integrating national and international knowledge resources.
Keeping this in mind, I would like to discuss with you on the topic, ‘Convergence
Convergence of Technologies
Information technology and communication technology have
already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information
Technology combined with bio-technology has led to bio-informatics. Now, Nano-technology
is knocking at our doors. It is the field of the future that will replace microelectronics
and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine,
electronics and material science. When Nano technology and ICT meet, integrated
silicon electronics, photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence
will happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science
called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free,
happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities.
Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano
robots. Nano robots when they are injected into a patient, my expert friends say,
will diagnose and deliver the treatment exclusively in the affected area and then
the nano-robot gets digested as it is a DNA based product.
Convergence of ICT, aerospace and Nano technologies will
emerge and revolutionize the aerospace industry and electronics leading to nano
computing systems. This technological convergence will enable building of cost
effective low weight, high payload, and highly reliable aerospace systems, which
can be used for inter-planetary transportation.
Till recently, silicon and its siblings were considered to
be inefficient as sensors, actuators and for photosynthesis. Things are changing.
The convergence of computers, communication and sensing into a single smart device
and the ability to have mobile and communicate between them is leading the research
and development in an important area of Sensor networks. This research is revolutionizing
our monitoring systems be it in the area of environment and pollution control,
be it in the area of agriculture for crop health monitoring or be it in the area
of surveillance. The sensor networks are finding newer applications. This is another
convergence of functions that will be very important in our future systems.
With this background of convergence of technologies, I would
like to discuss some of the nanoscience and technology products in which India
has made certain progress.
Products progress in Nano Science
& Technology in India – some examples
Water: Nano tube filter – water purification
The scientists from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi have
devised a simple method to produce carbon nanotube filters that efficiently remove
micro-to nano-scale contaminants from water and heavy hydrocarbons from petroleum.
Made entirely of carbon nanotubes, the filters are easily manufactured using a
novel method for controlling the cylindrical geometry of the structure. The filters
are hollow carbon cylinders several centimeters long and one or two centimeters
wide with walls just one-third to one-half a millimeter thick. They are produced
by spraying benzene into a tube-shaped quartz mould and heating the mould to 900°C.
The nanotube composition makes the filters strong, reusable, and heat resistant,
and they can be cleaned easily for reuse.
The carbon nanotube filters offer a level of precision suitable
for different applications. They can remove 25-nanometer-sized polio viruses from
water, as well as larger pathogens, such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus
bacteria. The researchers believe this could make the filters adaptable to micro
fluidics applications that separate chemicals in drug discovery.
Power: Gas flow induced generation of voltage from solids
Prof AK Sood, Professor of Physics at Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore and his student have studied, experimented and found that the
liquid flow in carbon nano tubes can generate electric current. One of the most
exciting applications to emerge from the discovery is the possibility of a heart
pacemaker – like device with nanotubes, which will sit in the human body and generate
power from blood. Instead of batteries, the device will generate power by itself
to regulate defective heart rhythm. The Indian Institute of Science has transferred
the exclusive rights of the technology to an American start-up Trident Metrologies.
They will develop the prototypes and commercialize the gas flow sensors.
Drug delivery system
A research group headed by Professor A. N. Maitra of the
University of Delhi’s Chemistry Department has developed 11 patentable technologies
for improved drug delivery systems using nanoparticles. Four of these processes
have been granted U.S. patents. One of the important achievements at the initial
stage of drug delivery research was development of a reverse micelles based process
for the synthesis of hydrogel and ‘smart’ hydrogel nanoparticles for encapsulating
water-soluble drugs. This method enabled one to synthesize hydrogel nanoparticles
of size less than 100nm diameter. This technology has been commercialized.
Another technology has been transferred to industry deals
with nanoparticle drug delivery for eye diseases. Traditionally, steroids have
been used extensively in the treatment of ocular inflammatory disease and allergies.
However, prolonged use of steroids has many side effects. The Delhi University
group’s process uses nanoparticles to encapsulate non-steroidal drugs. This process
aims to improve the bioavailability of the drug on the surface of the cornea.
The technology has been transferred to Chandigarh-based Panacea Biotech Ltd.
Microwave CNTs Production unit
Defence Materials and Stores, Research and Development Establishment
(DMSRDE), Kanpur is synthesizing non-aligned, quasi-aligned and aligned CNT with
a batch size of 50 grams using a fast synthesis process. It has a maximum operating
temperature 12000 C. The CNTs will have applications in EM absorbers, composites,
gas sensors, flow monitors, field emission devices.
Healthcare: Typhoid Detection Kit
Typhoid Detection Kit has been developed by Defence Research
and Development Establishment, Gwalior using the nano sensor developed by Indian
Institute of Science, Bangalore. Typhoid fever caused by Salmonella typhi is a
major health problem and an important challenge to health authorities of third
world countries due to unsatisfactory water supply, poor sanitary conditions,
malnutrition, emergence of antibiotic resistant strains etc. According to an estimate
the worldwide incidence to typhoid fever is 16 million cases annually and mortality
rate is 600,000 individuals per year worldwide. In India, the morbidity due to
typhoid varies from 102 to 2219/100,000 population in different parts of the country.
In some areas typhoid fever is responsible for 2-5% of all deaths.
In India for routine diagnosis for typhoid disease Widal
test is performed with single serum sample which does not provide the correct
diagnosis of infection. Therefore a Latex agglutination based test has been developed
at DRDE, Gwalior using recombinant DNA technology and immunological technique
for rapid diagnosis of typhoid infection. The test detects “S” typhi antigen directly
in patient’s serum within 1-3 minutes which is very important for initiating early
treatment and saving human life. The collaborative work between DRDO and Indian
Institute of Science, Bangalore has resulted in increasing the sensitivity of
the test by 30 times by applying a small electric charge (1.5 V).
areas of Cooperative Missions
Let me discuss some of the Indian national missions and the
possible areas of research, design, development and production of products with
reference to the areas of importance for development using nano science and technologies.
Some of these technologies may be of interest to the scientists and technologists
Agriculture and food processing: We are in
the mission of generating 400 million tones of food grains with reduced land,
with reduced water and with reduced workforce. It is essential to take up agro
food processing in a big way which will bring employment potential in rural areas.
Some of the possible areas of research in agriculture and food processing
are: Nano-porous zeo-lites for slow-release and efficient doses of water and fertilizers
for plants, and of nutrients and drugs for livestock, nano-capsules for herbicide
delivery, nano sensors for soil quality and for plant health monitoring. Nano-composites
for plastic film coatings used in food packaging, antimicrobial nano-emulsions
for applications in decontamination of food equipment, packaging or food processing
are other important areas of research.
is aspiring to build hundred million houses within next ten years. The infrastructure
development in metropolitan and tier-2 cities needs to be enhanced in the form
of new bridges, airports, marketing complexes and industrial units. 40% of the
rural areas need to be covered with all weather roads; we need to double the present
national highways ratio per 100 square kilometer area.
Nano-science material and technology research can definitely
provide a solution. Our research focus in the nano-material should be towards
cheaper rural housing, surfaces, coatings, use of concrete with heat and light
exclusion. Can we develop heat resistance nano-material to block ultraviolet and
infra red radiation? We should also develop a nano-molecular structure to make
concrete more robust to water seepage, with self cleaning surfaces and bio active
Energy: Energy Independence is India’s first
and highest priority. We are determined to achieve this by the year 2030 through
three different sources namely renewable energy (solar, wind and hydro power),
electrical power from nuclear energy and bio-fuel for the transportation sector.
Energy independence throws very important technological challenges to the world:
The solar cell efficiency has to increase from the present 15% to 20% to 45 to
50% through intensified research on CNT based solar cells. For thorium reactors,
as it is known, thorium is a non-fissile material. It has to be converted into
a fissile material using Fast Breeder Technology. In the Bio-fuel area, the challenge
is bio-fuel plantation for higher yield, esterification technologies for the higher
output and the modification to automobile power plants. These three research areas
definitely need intensive cooperation between Greece and India.
Drinking Water: We have embarked on a mission for water purification, water
de-toxification, water desalination through nano membranes and nano sensor for
detecting contaminants and pathogens? How the nano-porous zeo-lites, nano-porous
polymers can be used to design and develop products for water purification.
India has already patented the development of drug delivery system using nano-technology.
Stem cell research in India is advancing in the field of cardiology, ophthalmology,
diabetic research, endocrinology, oncology and immunology. It is essential to
develop drug delivery system for stem cell implantation into the specific organs
of the body related to the ailment using nano technology.
Emerging technologies such as MEMS, Nano, Information technology, biotechnology,
space research, Hypersonic, High power lasers and microwave will be dominating
the future in every field and applications. The advancements in material science
and technology will give a major thrust to the realization of advanced aerospace
systems. We are today at the convergence of Nano, Bio and Information technologies,
that will lead to new generation aerospace devices and products.
Molecular nano technology has enormous potential for future
aerospace systems. Research has shown that newly discovered class of molecules,
particularly carbon nano tubes built from graphite sheets curved into a wide variety
of close shapes, may lead to tougher, high temperature materials that can survive
in vacuum and other harsh environments. Carbon nano tubes are normal form of carbon
with remarkable electrical and mechanical properties. It is hoped that such materials
could revolutionize electronic design and open the space frontier by radically
lowering the cost of launch to orbit.
Carbon Nano Tubes reinforced with polymer matrix will result
in composites which are super strong, light weight, small and intelligent structures
in the field of material science. This has tremendous aerospace applications.
ICT: Molecular switches and circuits along with nano
cell will pave the way for the next generation computers. Ultra dense computer
memory coupled with excellent electrical performance will result in low power,
low cost, nano size and yet faster assemblies. This will result in the small scale
assembly of computers, tablet PCs, display systems etc.
Programme in Nano Science and Technology
Next ten years will see nano technology playing the most
dominant role in the global business environment and is expected to reach $ one
trillion. In this scenario, with the core competence of NCSR and Indian R&D
institutions, we can create vertical missions under a joint venture organisation
for at least 10 nano technology products in Water, Energy, Agriculture, Healthcare,
Space and Defence and ICT sectors. In these identified vertical missions, R&D
institutions, Universities, private and public Industries from Greece and India
should work together for faster design, development and production of products
for world market.
In order to achieve this mission, we need to connect all
the relevant institutions participating in this mission using the high bandwidth
fiber optics network into a Knowledge Grid specially established for the nano
technology mission of Greece and India.
Since, I am in the midst of scientists and technologists
of National Centre for Scientific Research, I would like to share some of the
research areas where Greece and India can work together.
1. In the energy
sector, increasing the solar photovoltaic cell efficiency from the existing 15%
to 45% using silicon as a base with Carbon Nano Tube is an important research
challenge. Scientists in reputed laboratories in the world have established the
fact that the alignment of the CNT with the polymer composites substrate is the
key issue and this aligned CNT based PV cells would give very high efficiency
in photovoltaic conversion. The polymer composites increase contact area for better
charge transfer and energy conversion. In this process, the researchers could
achieve the efficiency of about 50% at the laboratory scale. The intensity of
research in Indian research institutions has to be enhanced to realize commercial
production of CNT based Photovoltaic cells.
2. India has to go
for nuclear power generation in big way using thorium based reactors. Thorium,
a non fissile material, is available in abundance in our country. Intensive research
is essential for converting thorium for maximizing its utilization and generating
electric power through thorium based reactors.
is the study of all the proteins expressed by the genome of a cell. It is the
logical extension of genomics. Proteomics helps to understand the basic biological
processes critical to normal cellular functions as well as the development of
diseases. It identifies the essential components of these processes and exploits
these components as targets in the development of new methods to prevent or treat
diseases. The type of work involved is huge and challenging, and much bigger than
the Human genome programme. There is a national programme in proteomics. This
has to be given thrust with cooperation of International Scientific community.
There is much research and development and progress in testing of vaccine in the
country for prevention of HIV/AIDS disease. It is indeed a big challenge for life
science scientists to have an integrated vaccine development leading to production
in three years time.
5. Stem cell research through three areas such
as Adult stem cells, umbilical cord stem cells, and embryonic stem cells has to
be pursued on a mission mode for finding cure for many diseases.
In many places in our planet, we experience severe earthquakes resulting in loss
of life, loss of wealth and in some cases it destroys the decades of progress
made by the country and its valuable civilizational heritage. India has earthquake
problems periodically in certain regions. Greece also has earthquake problems.
It is essential for us to work on mission mode research for forecasting the earthquake
using multiple parameters using precursors such as pre-shock conditions, electromagnetic
phenomena prior to final rupture and atmospheric and ionospheric anomalies.
The quantum of rainfall in a particular area for a particular cloud condition
within a specified duration is not being determined by the present monsoon prediction
system. Heavy rains in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad in our nation during the last
few years and Katrina hurricane in US has created enormous loss of life and property.
This brings out the necessity for global monsoon research for determining intensity
and quantum of rain in a particular cloud condition through a validated prediction
system with detailed research. With this system scientists should be able to provide
the information for the particular cloud condition, how much rain will come in
what period through the use of Polorimetric radar.
Solutions to these seven research areas: first two relating
to solar power and nuclear power area, third relating to healthcare, fourth relating
to HIV/AIDS, fifth relating to stem cell research, sixth relating to forecasting
of earthquake and seventh relating to precision forecasting of rain content for
particular cloud condition are challenging areas for the young researchers in
Greece and India.
My greetings to all the members of National Centre for Scientific
Research and my best wishes to all of you in your mission of promoting scientific
discoveries, technological inventions and innovations for societal transformation.
May God bless you.”
(Release ID :27272)