Science and technology advancements in India

sorcerer

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Indian scientists develop'black gold'-a wonder material--India Science Wire

Indians are fascinated with gold, making India one of the largest consumers of the yellow metal globally. Now Indian scientists have tinkered with the chemistry of the material and turned it into ‘black gold’ which they say can be potentially used for applications ranging from solar energy harvesting to desalinating seawater.

Scientists at the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) used gold nanoparticles and by rearranging size and gaps between them developed a new material which has unique properties such as capacity to absorb light and carbon dioxide. Gold does not have these properties, therefore ‘black gold’ is being called a new material. In appearance it is black, hence the name ‘black gold.’

The findings have been announced in Chemical Science, a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

“We have not doped gold nanoparticles with any other material or added other materials. We varied inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimizing the nucleation-growth step, using dendritic fibrous nanosilica, whose fibers were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles,” explained Vivek Polshettiwar, who led the research team, while speaking to India Science Wire.



Prof. Vivek Polshettiwar with research team at TIFR, Mumbai

"We varied inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimizing the nucleation-growth step, using dendritic fibrous nanosilica, whose fibers were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles "
One of the most fascinating properties of the new material is its ability to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light. It does so because of inter-particle plasmonic coupling as well as heterogeneity in nanoparticle size. Black gold could also act as a catalyst and could convert carbon dioxide into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.

“If we develop an artificial tree with leaves made out of back gold, it can perform artificial photosynthesis, capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fuel and other useful chemicals,” added Prof Polshettiwar. The efficiency of conversion of carbon dioxide into fuel, at present, is low but researchers believe it could be improved in future.

In order to study solar energy harvesting ability of the new material, researchers dispersed it into water and exposed the solution to light for one hour and the temperature of the solution was measured. The temperature of the solution with pure silica spheres rose to 38 degrees while the ones with different concentrations of black gold rose to 67 to 88 degrees. The maximum increase in temperature was attributed creation of thermal hotspots due to the heterogeneity of the particle sizes as well as optimum inter- particle coupling.

Researchers said the material can be used as a nano-heater to covert seawater into potable water with good efficiency. “Our results indicate the potential application of black gold in purification of seawater to potable water via steam generation using solar energy under atmospheric reaction conditions,” according to the researchers.

Kabeer Jasuja (Indian Institute of Technology – Gandhinagar), who is not connected with the study, commented that "It is amazing to see these elegantly designed assemblies of gold nanoparticles could function as artificial leaves and capture the solar energy. This study is a significant step in current efforts towards reducing carbon footprint. It would be promising to see how the synthesis of these colloidosomes can be scaled up in the future."

The research team included Mahak Dhiman, Ayan Maity, Anirban Das, Rajesh Belgamwar, Bhagyashree Chalke and Vivek Polshettiwar (TIFT); Yeonhee Lee, Kyunjong Sim and Jwa-Min Nam (Seoul National University). The study was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
India Science Wire
 

DG7867

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https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/mustard-seeds-capable-of-lighting-leds-iiser-5827702/

Mustard seeds capable of lighting LEDs: IISER Pune
A team of scientists at Pune's IISER carried out an experiment using mustard seeds, sandwiched between a layer of plastic and a polymeric nano fibre pad, subjected them to mild force and found that electric power was generated.
Spluttering of mustard seeds and the popping sound, when tempered with hot oil, is a common sight in Indian kitchens. But, what if the same dancing seeds were able to generate electricity, enough electricity to glow small LED bulbs?

A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune, has demonstrated the same. They carried out an experiment using mustard seeds, sandwiched between a layer of plastic and a polymeric nano fibre pad, subjected them to mild force and found that electric power was generated.


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Led by senior physicist Satish Ogale, the researchers also carried out similar tests using flax and basil seeds, in an effort to harvest power by a Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG) device.
Mustard seeds capable of lighting LEDs: IISER Pune
A team of scientists at Pune's IISER carried out an experiment using mustard seeds, sandwiched between a layer of plastic and a polymeric nano fibre pad, subjected them to mild force and found that electric power was generated.
ANJALI MARAR |Pune |Published: July 13, 2019 2:14:44 pm


While the scientists have been working on identifying potential materials that will allow easy separation of charges, the idea of using mustard was purely an accidental one, the team lead Satish Ogale claimed. (Representational Image)
Spluttering of mustard seeds and the popping sound, when tempered with hot oil, is a common sight in Indian kitchens. But, what if the same dancing seeds were able to generate electricity, enough electricity to glow small LED bulbs?

A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune, has demonstrated the same. They carried out an experiment using mustard seeds, sandwiched between a layer of plastic and a polymeric nano fibre pad, subjected them to mild force and found that electric power was generated.


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Led by senior physicist Satish Ogale, the researchers also carried out similar tests using flax and basil seeds, in an effort to harvest power by a Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG) device.

“Due to the ease of transferring electrical charges afforded by the natural seed surface to a mildly impacting soft material, we could generate usable electricity,” Ogale told The Indian Express.


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While the scientists have been working on identifying potential materials that will allow easy separation of charges, the idea of using mustard was purely an accidental one, the team lead claimed.

“It was just another day at home when I was playing in my kitchen with a plastic bottle that stored mustard seeds. As I shook the bottle, the seeds kept popping up, dancing and hitting the walls of the bottle. That is when I decided to experiment with them,” he said.

A series of tests using the three seeds revealed that mustard seeds produced maximum 334 MW/square metre electric power, followed by flax (324 MW/square metre) and basil (72mW/square metre).

“Our tests demonstrated that the electricity (after being converted from Alternate Current to Direct Current) generated from about two grams of mustard seeds could momentarily flash/light nearly 120 LED bulbs. Such power is enough to operate several low power devices used in wearable electronics,” said Sachin Kumar Singh, lead author of the study titled ‘Seed power: Natural seed and PVDF nano fibre based triboelectric nanogenerator with high output density’.

Among other applications, the power generated in this manner can also suit in lighting up smart gadgets, wearable devices and security check posts requiring low power for operations.
 

Holy Triad

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Crossposting from drdo thread,
Indo-German project on advanced composite materials launched



An international project to manufacture components with superior mechanical and physical properties for the automotive and aerospace sectors has been launched at the CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) here.

The Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC)-funded collaborative project on ‘Advanced fibre reinforced metallic composite’ focuses on a joint programme of Near Net Manufacturing of Aluminium Composites (NearNetMAC).

‘Nearnet-shape’
The IGSTC explains it as ‘design and development of nearnet-shape manufacturing process for light-weight, high-strength aluminium composite and engineering components by squeeze infiltration technique for automotive and aerospace applications.’

‘Near net shape’ is an industrial manufacturing technique that implies that the initial production of an item is very close to the final (net) shape, reducing the need for surface finishing.

The new project at CSIR-NIIST will seek to develop light weight near-net shape carbon fibre-reinforced aluminium composites and components for automotive and aerospace applications, says A Ajayaghosh, Director.

The project consortium includes CSIR-NIIST as the Indian institute participant; Fenfe Metallurgicals, Bengaluru, the Indian industry; Institute of Textile Technology, RWTH Aachen University, academic partner of Germany; and CIKONI Gmbh, Stuttgart, German industrial partner.

Transport sector
Amool Raina, Head of Aerospace and Manufacturing Programme, RWTH Aachen University, hoped that this will lead to new process and material development for making connecting rods and thermal management heat sinks for the transport sector.

Sundara Murthy, President, Fenfe Metallurgicals, and former president, Institute of Indian Foundrymen, Kolkata, said that the programme would aid the cause of advanced technology, product development and manufacturing and the ‘Make in India’ drive.

TPD Rajan, principal project investigator from the Indian side and principal scientist, said that the programme brings in the expertise of hitech fibre technology, pre-form processing of the German Institute, and the liquid metal processing of light-weight metal matrix composite of CSIR-NIIST to develop components with superior mechanical and physical properties.

A mini symposium on advanced composite materials held following the programme launch saw Philipp Huber, Goezdem Dittel and Yanick Schlesinger, research scientists from RWTH Aachen University, deliver technical lectures. S Savithri, Chief Scientist and Head, Materials Science and Technology Division, spoke on the occasion

https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwis-eHuzNnjAhUBN48KHUIWDEgQzPwBCAM&url=https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/indo-german-project-on-advanced-composite-materials-launched/article28691574.ece&psig=AOvVaw06V3y6Nf0nrXch5y9hiMpb&ust=1564471561723125
 

DG7867

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https://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2019.134
Bacterial enzyme can repair sickle cell anaemia mutation


doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.134 Published online 2 October 2019



Indian researchers have discovered the genome-editing potential of a protein found in the bacterium Francisella novicida, which causes rare infections in humans1. The protein, they say, could potentially be used to correct genetic mutations that cause sickle cell anemia and other single-gene disorders.

Bacteria use CRISPAR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPAR-associated protein 9), a specific system of DNA sequences and a protein that selectively detects and destroys parts of viral DNA, eventually disabling viruses.



In labs, such systems have been seen selectively targeting specific parts of human genome, adding or deleting pieces of genetic material.

The protein found in F. novicida has been found to detect a single mismatch in a base in a DNA sequence. Its genome-editing property, however, remains unexplored.

To find out, scientists from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi and National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, both from India incubated different DNA sequences with equal amounts of the bacterial protein, which is actually an enzyme. They found that the enzyme completely cleaved the DNA targets within 30 minutes to two hours.

Remarkably, the enzyme didn’t cut DNA sequences with 2 or 3 mismatches, suggesting that it is extremely specific in recognising its target. It also showed negligible or no affinity for off-target DNA sequences.

The researchers, led by Debojyoti Chakraborty, found that the enzyme could bind to DNA in specific mouse cells.

Next, they probed its genome-editing prowess in sickle cell anemia mutation in an Indian patient-derived specific stem cells. The enzyme was able to initiate DNA repair process in these cells, indicating its therapeutic potential.

Chakraborty told Nature India that the team is looking at concluding preclinical studies with this Cas9 tool and exploring the possibility of using it as a therapy for curing sickle cell anaemia.

References
1. Acharya, S. et al. Francisella novicidaCas9 interrogates genomic DNA with very high specificity and can be used for mammalian genome editing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Unit. States. Am. (2019)Doi:10.1073/pnas.1818461116
 

DG7867

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https://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2019.156

Low-power chips for AI-based devices


doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.156 Published online 24 November 2019



Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad have designed low-power chips that can do simple arithmetic, making them suitable for computation in artificial-intelligence-based portable devices1.

Such chips, they say, could cater to the growing demand in the processing and storing of big data arising from initiatives such as Digital India and others.

Various portable devices, such as speech- and face-recognition systems and remote health-monitoring devices, require constant computation in order to function.

To meet this goal, the scientists created the chips using specific nanomagnets. They then explored these chips’ efficiency in doing simple arithmetic processes such as addition and subtraction.

An arithmetic adder or subtractor is the building block of artificial-intelligence-based computing. The researchers made an extremely tiny device that was able to add or subtract using only four nanomagnets.

Modern chips consume enormous power, requiring a standby power source to maintain their logic states. This is equal to the power consumed by the chips during computation.

The nanomagnet-based device, however, consumed ultra-low power. It requires no standby power to maintain its logic states, making it non-volatile. It could be used to make non-volatile devices, meaning that such devices could even store or process data when power is off.



The researchers say that the magnetic chips would emerge as a potential alternative to traditional computing devices, which face the challenges of ever-increasing demand for data processing speeds that, according to Moore’s Law, need to double every two years.

References
1. Sivasubhramani, S. et al. Dipole coupled magnetic quantum-dot cellular automata-based efficient approximate nanomagnetic subtractor and adder design approach. Nanotechnology. 31, 025202 (2020)
 

DG7867

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this is cool..

https://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2019.170

A mobile app to measure pH


doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.170 Published online 22 December 2019



Researchers have developed a sensing tool that can detect a wide range of pH levels, making it potentially useful for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of various solutions and of water resources such as rainwater and tap water1.

Gold nanostructures exhibit the colour pink in a solution. A change in pH or temperature of this solution causes the nanostructures to coalesce. Such aggregation also changes their colour from pink to blue-purple. Such properties are widely exploited to make various sensors.

Scientists from the National Institute of Technology in Durgapur, India, invented the sensing tool, using gold nanostructures of various shapes and a smartphone app. They then tested this tool’s efficiency to measure pH levels of a solution.

The researchers, led by Pathik Kumbhakar, found that the tool could measure acidity or alkalinity of the solution. It was able to detect a wide range of pH levels from 2 to 12.

When the pH levels of a solution containing nanostructures change, it exhibits various colours. The researchers developed a mobile app using specific software that can capture images of such colour changes due to variations in pH levels.

The combination of the nanostrutcures and the app successfully measured the pH levels of rainwater, municipality tap water and drinking beverages. The efficiency of the pH-sensing tool was found to be as good as a commercial pH meter.

The researchers say that the app could run in offline mode, making it suitable for use in real-life environments in remote locations.

References
1.Biswas, S. et al. Gold nanostructures for the sensing of pH using a smartphone. RSC. Adv.9, 34144 (2019) doi: 10.1039/c9ra07101f
 

cyclops

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High quality and affordable Indian Biosimilar Insulin to give American analogues a run for their money.

Biocon, Mylan launch insulin biosimilar in Australia

New Delhi, Oct 3 Biotechnology major Biocon and pharmaceutical company Mylan N V on Thursday announced the launch of their insulin biosimilar Semglee, indicated for the treatment of diabetes, in Australia. "We are extremely excited to enable affordable access to Semglee, a high quality biosimilar Insulin Glargine, co-developed and manufactured by Biocon Biologics, to people with diabetes in Australia. We are committed to use our science, scale and expertise to shift the access paradigm for patients in need of insulins across the globe," Biocon Biologics CEO Christiane Hamacher said. Insulin glargine is indicated for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus in adults, adolescents and children aged six years and above and type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults. In a regulatory filing Biocon said Semglee will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)"...availability of Semglee through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will expand patient access to this therapy in Australia and will reduce the cost burden for PBS," he added. Australia's health regulator Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had approved Semglee, co-developed by Biocon and Mylan. Mylan and Biocon's insulin glargine biosimilar is currently approved in more than 40 countries around the world. Shares of Biocon Ltd were trading 2.23 per cent higher at Rs 227.10 apiece on BSE. SVK DRR.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.co...ets-chakri-lokapriya/articleshow/73005915.cms
 

DG7867

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Proud to say that someone I know was involved in this project:india:

https://getfitwinnipeg.com/health-n...s-youll-be-glad-someone-sequenced-its-genome/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-019-0559-8


When the Cobra Bites, You’ll Be Glad Someone Sequenced Its Genome
GetFit - January 9, 2020 at 12:59
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Scientists have sequenced the genome of one of the deadliest snakes in the world, the Indian cobra, and have taken a big step toward developing new and better treatments for their bites.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that thousands of people are bitten by snakes in the United States every year, few die from snake venom. But worldwide, snakebites lead to more than 400,000 amputations and 100,000 deaths a year.

Currently, antivenom is the only effective medicine, provided a bite victim can get treated in time. But producing the medicine is difficult.

First, venom has to be milked from the snake’s fangs, and it has to be done repeatedly to produce sufficient quantities. Then it must be injected into a large animal, usually a horse, to generate antibodies. The blood drawn from an infected horse has to go through a multiple-step process of purification to isolate its active ingredients.

Nature Genetics on Monday, one team of researchers released their map of the genome of Naja naja, the Indian cobra. They found 12,346 genes expressed in the venom glands, what they call the “venom-ome” of the animal. Of these, they found 139 toxin genes, the ones that perform the biological reactions specific to toxins. Then they designated 19 of these genes as “venom-ome specific,” expressed only in the venom gland, and that are responsible for a wide range of symptoms in humans, including heart-function problems, paralysis, nausea, blurred vision, internal bleeding and death.

With this catalog of genes specific to venom production, they hope scientists can now begin to use recombinant protein technologies to generate antivenom effective against the venom of the Indian cobra and closely related species. As more snake genomes are completed, scientists may be able to combine species-specific toxins and create broad-spectrum antivenoms that could work against bites from multiple species.

The study’s senior author, Somasekar Seshagiri, a former staff scientist at Genentech and now president of SciGenom Research Foundation, a nonprofit research center in India, said that sequencing a snake’s genome can be done in less than a year for under $100,000.

“As much as we fear them, snakes are a remarkable product of evolution, present on every continent except Antarctica, and they’ve been around much longer than we have,” he said. “This will take some time, but we can now move toward modernizing the way we create antivenoms.”
 

DG7867

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https://www.thehindu.com/business/b...EVD9F8GSljEgzLQkR2g0ujIVXLGikhuQEfAksDgljbJeI

Budget 2020 | Cheer for science as key departments get a raise

Key departments get 13% more than what was spent last year; biotechnology gets largest hike
There is cheer for science in the Budget, with key scientific departments receiving an across-the-board increase of 10% or more.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) posted the largest increase, with an outlay of ₹2,786 crore, a 17% increase from the ₹2,381 crore it spent last year.

The Department of Science and Technology got a 14% hike, at ₹6,301 crore, over its expenditure last year, the Earth Sciences Ministry posted a 14% hike at ₹2,070 crore and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research got a 10% hike at ₹5,385 crore.

Watch | Highlights of Union Budget 2020-21

Volume 90%
Overall, the science Ministries received ₹16,542 crore, 13% more than what was spent last year.

The civilian science Ministries work on budgets that are much lower than, say, the Department of Atomic Energy that got ₹18,228 crore and the Department of Space that got ₹13,479 crore.

In previous years, science departments generally posted percentage hikes that were in the single digits, and this is the first time in at least three years that all departments have posted double digit percentage hikes.

“Generally, the hikes revolve round 7%, but this time there’s been a significant signal of the government’s encouragement to scientific endeavours,” said Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, “The genomics initiatives as well as encouragement to set up knowledge transfer clusters are among the key sectors that have got a boost.”

The DBT has embarked on projects to map the genes of Indians as well the genetic structure of every plant variety. Another official said the government’s expenditure on science had nearly doubled since 2014.

‘Fluctuations present’
“There are fluctuations within the year...the Finance Minister has stressed on quantum technologies,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.

“This will be largely led by the Department of Science and Technology, though those allocations are not reflected in this Budget.”
 

DG7867

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ISRO invites proposals for development of technologies for human space programme
The Directorate of Human Space Programme of the city- headquartered ISRO has sought proposals for 18 tentative technology development areas. Four Indian Air Force fighter pilots are currently under training in Moscow and are likely to be potential candidates for the first manned mission to space.

PTI

Read more at:
https://economictimes.indiatimes.co...ofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
 

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