July 10, 2011
Electron Microscopy and its uses in Nanoscience
Nanoscience, in crude terms, is the analysis of a nanomaterial in the nanometer range and its applications for making stronger materials. It involves the use of very precise instruments for the observation of nanostructures. These useful instruments or rather equipments are called Electron Microscopes. They can be Scanning Electron Microscopes, Tunneling Electron Microscopes, Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscopes etc. Each of them are used for specific purposes and they can be used together for doing nanostructure characterisation and subsequently, analysis.
In using these equipments, one not only requires the understanding of the working of the equipment, but also the skill to operate them. India has many such equipments in prestigious Government and Institutional facilities but there is a great dearth of skilled manpower to handle them. This was what I could deduce from the speech given by the Ex-President of the Electron Microscope Society of India or the EMSI, Dr. R P Tandon. In order to make students more technology-aware, the EMSI had decided to start zonal chapters of its society in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. It would be a boon for students interested in getting hands-on experience in handling these equipments. The society plans to increase its memership and also conductworkshops that would produce more students skilled in operating the equipments for characterisation purposes of nanomaterials.
The International conference on Electron Nanoscopy EM50, organised as a part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the EMSI in association with the DMRL, Hyderabad was a right step for India to make a mark in the IFSM(International Federation for Societies on Microscopy). Inter-continental research in the field of combining microscopies would be a great effort to bridge the divide between nations actuvely involved in nano characterisation. The conference was a great attempt to make India an even bigger participant in the International Microscopy scenario and the President of the IFSM Prof. C Barry Carter has suggested that India follow the steps of China to make a greater contribution in the field of Microscopy. China, which has started as a active member in the IFSM, has now become one of the world leaders in the field of Electron Microscopy.
If there is one thing that we can learn from our large neighbour, it is the active interest and breakthrough research it conducts in the field of Science and Technology using Electron Microscopy. I hope India becomes a leader too and Nanoscience attracts many more individuals than it does now.