IIT Bombay and Applied Materials have launched The CLEAN Lab - a state of the art materials synthesis facility, to focus on the research and development of new materials that will potentially be used in a variety of electronic and renewable energy-focused applications. Omkaram Nalamasu, Chief Technology Officer of Applied Materials explains below the importance of such research:
Materials are fundamental enablers in addressing the needs of the technology roadmap for the markets Applied Materials serves. Advanced materials have the ability to increase the functionality and efficiency of the devices that are developed using them. Materials also account for a significant fraction of the cost of display and renewable energy products (eg: solar panels and batteries). Scientists having been working on the development of innovative and cost efficient materials for many years now, but very few of these have found application in end products. The establishment of this lab today is a step in this direction. The unique collaboration of IIT faculty & Applied's scientists allows Applied Materials to turn materials inventions into innovation (innovative products that address the needs of the markets the company serves)
The materials developed at CLEAN Lab will have a direct impact on the following markets:
The Renewable energy sector: The government of India, with the JNNSM is working towards making solar power generation as economic as power generation using traditional fossil fuels. Bringing down the cost of manufacturing equipment in the development of solar cells, and increasing the overall manufacturing process efficiency do play a significant role, but the cost of materials alone account for almost 70-80% of the total production cost. Developing advanced and efficient materials can help increase cell and module efficiency and thus bring down the cost/kW of solar power.
The Display Industry: with 3D, HD and organic LCD displays coming to the forefront, we've observed that materials are fundamental enablers in developing the latest displays. The materials used in manufacturing these displays determine the quality of the viewing experience, and the user experience in the case of touch screens. Advanced materials will help us build energy efficient, sophisticated displays.
The Semiconductor Industry: 10 years ago there were <10 elements being used in the development of semiconductor devices, today we utilize more than 70% of the periodic table. Chips are getting more complex, smaller, thinner and smarter. Our work in this lab will help tailor material properties for advanced devices as we go down the technology node, building more complex and functional semiconductor devices.
Emerging Technologies - Batteries for electric vehicle, grid storage are primarily materials driven. A lot of materials innovations are also require for bringing down the cost of LED and organic LED lighting devices
India has a long heritage in chemistry and chemical production. The Indian chemicals industry is the twelfth-largest industry in the world and the third largest in Asia in terms of volume. The Indian chemicals industry is currently valued at around US$ 35 billion. India has a diversified manufacturing base with a capacity to produce quality chemicals for world consumers. India has a strong base for innovation in its network of 200 national laboratories and 1,300 R&D units, which can be leveraged for the shift towards an innovation-based industry. The chemical industry in India is witnessing increased focus towards research and development, which in turn provides opportunities for growth of R&D hubs and industry specific institutes.