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Annual Report 2000-2001

Scientific Research

Science and Engineering Research Council

The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), an apex body in its Silver Jubilee Year, continued to support research projects in challenging and promising fields of Science & Engineering and encouraged Young Scientists to take up research as a career by initiating new programmes and R&D schemes.

During the year under report, some of the important initiatives taken to promote R&D programmes are as follows :

  • Enhancing the number of "SERC Fellowships"
  • Launching of website for SERC and related programmes

The Council met twice during the period and has approved projects in various broad areas of Science & Engineering. The Department under the SERC R&D programme sanctioned 289 projects at a total cost of Rs 3919.59 lakhs. The Council has been recently reconstituted for the next 3 years.

R&D Projects sanctioned during 2000-2001

(till 15th January, 2001)
Broad Area No of Projects Sanctioned Cost(Rs in Lakhs)
Chemical Sciences
74
1102.14
Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
18
147.18
Engineering Sciences
48
622.41
Life Sciences
80
1302.96
Mathematical Sciences
14
74.61
Physical Sciences
55
670.29
Total
289
3919.59

Some of the new projects supported are in the areas like : Nanomaterials; Chemical investigations of aromatic and medicinal plants of Kumaon region in the Himalayas; X-ray spectrometry on Variable Energy Cyclotron; laser cutting of non-ferrous metals and non-metals with promising high technology applications, flow past flexible surfaces, Structural studies on plant lectins; Condensed Matter Physics; Plant Sciences; Molecular markers; chiral catalysis; Phase Transition; Industrial Mathematics; etc. Few training programmes and SERC Schools in various front line techniques and advanced areas have been supported by the Council. These are in the areas of Nuclear Techniques for Water Resources Management, Laser-Optics Atomic & Molecular Physics, CMP & Materials Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Earth Sciences and Manufacturing Sciences.

In addition, the Council also reviewed the progress of two major national programmes during the two meetings. These programmes are:

  • Single Crystal X-ray Diffractometer Facility at Mysore University
    National Centre for Study of Ultrafast Processes at University of Madras

Six patents have been filed on 3 SERC funded projects so far during the year with the assistance from the Patent Facilitating Cell (PFC).

The Council felt the need for having its own website to enable the scientific community to have an easy access to SERC activities including various information and formats. The website for the SERC was therefore launched on 22nd September, 2000. The website address is (www.serc-dst.org).

The achievements under few new initiatives taken by the Council are as follows:

  • Kishore Vaigyanik Prothsahan Yojana (KVPY) - First batch of 75 fellows received the fellowship recently. A total of 120 students received fellowship during the year. The programme aims to encourage young students right from the school level (Xth and XIIth), under graduate level (2nd year of B.Tech., MBBS) to take research as a career. (detailed report given separately)
  • Fund for Improvement of S&T infrastructure in academic and related institutions (FIST) - process for selecting the first set of institution is recently over. (detailed report given separately)
  • SERC Fast Track Scheme for Young Scientists - Out of 680 projects received, the Department has approved 70 proposals so far. Out of these grants have been released for 26 projects. (detailed report given separately)
  • Integrated Science Olympiad programme - launched with Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education to ensure Indian students participation in international Olympiad through rigorous and scientific selection process at National level. Indian participation in all Olympiad has been successful and helped in bidding for organising the International Chemistry Olympiad in India in 2002. (detailed report given separately)

The contribution of Indian scientists in scientific Journals and at national and global level is being recognised by the peers and the S&T Academies by few of them getting National & International recognition. Special efforts were made to identify active scientists, particularly Young ones, and Institutions in remote areas and encouraged by providing research support and Visiting fellowships etc. Linkages have already been established between R&D projects and the Infrastructural research programmes like IRHPA and FIST programme.

50 student Fellowships were awarded to the Under Graduate students to get first hand exposure of research in leading research labs.

The broad discipline wise details of the achievements are as follows:

Chemical Sciences

During the year 74 projects costing Rs. 1102 lakhs have been funded in topics of current interest such as novel materials, quantum pharmacology, synthesis of bioactive molecules, organic NLO materials, non-covalent synthesis, bio-inorganic chemistry etc. The progress of several ongoing projects was also reviewed.

Organic Chemistry

Some of the major projects funded are given below:

Novel chiral lewis acids for asymmetric synthesis; Development and utilization of novel transetherification strategies for polyether synthesis; Design, synthesis and evaluation of nonlinear optical properties of novel organic and metal-organic molecular materials; C-Glycoside synthesis; New dimensions in the Baylis-Hillman reaction; Non-covalent synthesis of nanostructures; Carbohydrate modifications for therapeutic applications; and Application of reactivity-selectivity concepts in asymmetric organic synthesis.

Some interesting results obtained from ongoing projects are:

  • The generation of cyclic azomethine ylide derived from various cyclic amines for the synthesis of pyrrolidine based complex structures have been demonstrated. The same protocol has also been demonstrated for the asymmetric synthesis of various alkaloid skeleton.
  • Efficient method for the preparation of electronically interesting cyclic a-a-dialkylated a-amino acid derivatives have been developed via solid-liquid phase-transfer catalyst conditions. [2+2+2] and [4+2] cycloaddition approaches have been explored for the first time for this system.
  • New homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts for the Heck reaction have been developed and a new methodology has been proposed for the synthesis of g-lactones and g-lactams.
  • A family of 4 substituted -1- cubanecarboxyclic acids have been synthesised and their X-ray crystal structures analyzed. Of the seven crystal structure analysed, four contain the unusual syn-anti O-H---O catemar. This pattern is extremely rare in general but is found to be the dominant pattern in the particular family of acids. The study shows that two new synthons constructed with a combination of strong and weak hydrogen bonds are the primary structural motifs that determine the supramolecular architecture in these acids.

Physical Chemistry

Some of the major projects funded are:

Novel layered perovskite type oxide for ferroelectric random access memory applications; Electrochemical impedance studies on chemically modified electrodes; Design and development of catalysts for NOx abatement ; Synthesis, structure and reactivity of nanoparticles of transition metals and alloys; Synthesis of industrially important esters using ultralarge pillared layered smectites as catalysts; Quantum pharmacology as probe of a drug's structure, activity, potency and mechanism-Applications to HIV-protease inhibitors; Generation of polymorphs using shape selective additives: Towards the design of futuristic materials

The third SERC School in the Five-year Cycle of SERC Schools in Theoretical Chemistry on 'Concepts of Chemical Dynamics' is being organized at IIT, Chennai in March, 2001. An Orientation Programme for Researchers in Catalysis is planned for March 2001 at IIT, Mumbai.

Some interesting results obtained from the ongoing projects are :

  • A new series of double perovskites, AlaMnRuO6 (A = Ca, Sr, Ba) exhibiting ferrimagnetism (Tc~200-250K) has been prepared for the first time. A novel metathesis route that transforms Ruddlesden-Popper layered perovskites such as K2La2Ti3O10 into the corresponding Aurivillius phases such as Bi2L2[La2Ti3O10] by reaction with BiOCl has been developed. In a search for inorganic oxide materials showing second-order nonlinear optical (NLO) susceptibility, several borates, silicates and a phosphate containing trans-connected MO6 octahedral chains or MO5 square pyramids have been investigated and identified two new NLO structures: batisite, Na2Ba(TiO)2Si4O12, containing trans-connected TiO6 octahedral chains, and fresnoite, Ba2TiOSi2O7, containing square-pyramidal TiO5.
  • Novel injectable and sprayable nanometer sized hydrated silica particles encapsulating enzyme Glucose Oxidase has been prepared and characterised. The encapsulated enzyme shows enhanced activity as compared to the free enzyme. It also exhibits higher stability towards pH and temperature changes. This enzyme is able to measure the glucose concentration down to 45 mg/100ml which is hypoglycemic concentration of glucose in blood serum. The enzyme asparaginase, known to be used for enzyme therapy for leukemia, has been encapsulated in silica nanoparticles and characterized. Enzyme kinetics of L-Asparaginase in free form as well entrapped in silica particles have been studied and it is found that encapsulated enzyme is less sensitive to temperature and pH charges as compared to that in solution. Further work is in progress to study the bio-distribution of these nanoparticles.
  • The third order, the Outer Valence Greens Function and quasi-particle decouplings of the dilated electron propagator have been derived and implemented for the first time. Results from application to some prototypical systems are quite encouraging and further testing is under progress.

Inorganic Chemistry

During the year 10 new programmes were initiated. These programmes are in the area of bio-inorganic chemistry, main group chemistry, reaction mechanism and organometallic chemistry.

In the area of bioinorganic chemistry, the proposals relating to coordination compounds of copper II as Functional/Spectral mimics of multicopper centres in biology; Synthesis and characterisation of organotin carboxylates with emphasis on understanding structure/activity relationship; Activation of molecular oxygen by manganese (II), Iron (II) and copper (I) complexes of designed dinucleating ligands were funded. In organometallic chemistry, a proposal for the development of organometallic cation-anion systems and radical cations as polymerization catalyst, and another one on new approaches for the assembly of Si-O and P-N based inorganic rings and polymers were funded. Another interesting programme on the studies of Ruthenium Chemistry with Arylhydrazones was also funded.

In addition, 20 ongoing projects were reviewed during the GMW at RRL, Thiruvananthapuram.

Physical Sciences

New projects on several emerging problems in Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science, Plasma Physics, High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Nonlinear Dynamics, Lasers, Optics, Atomic and Molecular Physics were supported during the year. Progress made in the ongoing projects were regularly monitored through presentations before the respective Programme Advisory Committees.

Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science

The projects supported in Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science were:

Investigations of magnetization of spacer layers, vibration amplitudes of ions and ion-irradiation effects in iron based magnetic multilayers, and magneto optical properties of some Rare Earth compounds; Electrochemical deposition of magnetic multilayers and their investigation; Development of ultra-thin magnetic films for engineering applications in magnetic recording and sensing; Investigations on phenomenology of perovskite oxides exhibiting colossal magneto-resistance; Studies on swift heavy ion induced modification in magneto-transport properties of Mn-O perovskite based CMR/GMR materials; Spin fluctuations and high temperature superconductivity in bilayer cuprates; Growth, structure and characterization of a new group of fast ionic conductors; Photoinduced superconductivity and non-equilibrium states; Electro-optic, dielectric and other physical studies on organosiloxane liquid crystals; Preparation, characterization and properties of Ba[B'1/3)B"(2/3)]{3}[B'=Mg, Zn; B"=Ta,Nb] microwave ceramic dielectric resonators; Design and development of metallic oxide films for electrode applications by pulsed laser deposition; Investigations on Gallium Nitride; Optical and transport properties of quantum wire systems and quantum DOT systems; Computer simulation of Sol-Gel processes: Ceramic membrane formation and spray drying; Development of LEED-AES system for the study of surfaces and thin films; Noise and mm-wave properties of some hetero-junction and superlattice IMPATTS; Development of tungsten oxide based electrochromic (EC) films by sol-gel technique; Growth of CuInSe2 thin films by electrodeposition; Semiconductor gas sensors: chemical and hetero contacts; Investigation on Langmuir-Blodgett thin films of processible conducting polymers; Research support facility for ferromagnetic fluids (ferrofluids); Electrical, optical and thermodynamical properties of liquid crystal mixtures; Self-assembled layers of conducting polymers for molecular devices; Study of strongly correlated electronic systems using quantum Monte Carlo simulation technique and variational technique; Structural and dielectric studies of some lead based relaxor ferroelectrics; Processing of Ni-Zn and Mn-Zn ferrites for high frequency switch mode power supplies and Ni-Zn-Cu ferrites for multilayer chip components; synthesis and high pressure studies of GaN and its alloys; Development of rare earth based glass and glass-ceramic phosphors for use in compact fluorescent lamps and CRT display screen; etc.

SERC Schools on "Precision Physical Measurements and Measurement Science" and "Surface, Interfaces and Clusters" were held at National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta respectively.

In ongoing projects several significant and interesting results were obtained, which include -
At IISc, Bangalore, impressive high-pressure Raman Studies on single wall carbon nanotubes up to 25.9 GPa have been carried out. These studies have revealed a structural transformation around 10 GPa which is reversible on decompression. These studies have brought out the remarkable resilience of nanotubes with respect to pressure. Raman and infrared measurements have also been carried out as a function of temperature across the metal-insulator transition (~50 K) in the quasi - 1 D metal RbC60. Raman studies have also been carried out on systems Pr0.6Ca0.4MnO3 and Fe3O4 which exhibit charge ordering. Interesting anomalies have been observed in the temperature dependence of linewidths and peak positions of the Raman modes.

In another project at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, a number of single substituted and simultaneously substituted alkaline earth titanates and alkaline earth stannate using substitutions such as La3+ (on A - site), Cr, Mn, Fe, Co and Ni (on B - site) have been synthesized by solid state ceramic method to find out the solid solubility limit, crystal structure and to study their electrical conduction and dielectric behavior. Impedance results have been analyzed to separate the contributions of grains and grain boundaries towards their electrical/dielectric behavior. From the study of large number of materials, it has been found that, at low temperatures, conduction occurs due to hopping of charge carriers among localized sites associated with transition metal ions, which gives rise to orientation of dipoles in a Debye-like process. With increasing temperature, long range conductivity due to hopping of charge carriers occurs. This gives rise to space charge polarization at the grain boundaries, which acts as a barrier for cross transport of charge carriers. The effect of cooling rates on the dielectric behaviour of a typical system exhibiting a very large value of dielectric constant is also being studied. Results of impedance measurement have been analyzed using complex plane impedance analysis. It has been found that cooling rate can be used as an effective tool to control the dielectric behavior.

At Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, an optical characterization laboratory for studying optical properties of bulk and low-dimensional semiconductor structures from 8K to 300K has been set up. Using these facilities, the following studies have been done :

  • Many body effects on band to band transition in AlxGa1-xAs.
  • Origin of persistent photoconductivity in SiC and GaN.
  • Origin of yellow luminescence band in GaN.
  • Origin of band to band and near band edge transitions in GaN.

In a major project at IISc, Bangalore, an ultra high-resolution photoelectron spectrometer has been designed and fabricated. Most of the components have been designed in-house and have been fabricated by a local company. Only critical components have been imported. Investigation have also been made on a large number of transition metal oxide and chalcogenide systems in order to obtain microscopic insight and understanding of the origin of various electronic and magnetic transitions as well as the effect of dimensionality and disorder on the electronic structures of these systems. These studies have led to an understanding of some of the long-standing open problems in this field.

Plasma, High Energy, Nuclear Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics and Nonlinear Dynamics

The projects funded in these areas were :

The effect of strong magnetic field on dense stellar hadronic and exotic matter; Study of nuclear fusion-fission time scales and level densities using neutron detectors; Viability of extra U(1) superstring - inspired unified models for doing physics beyond Standard Model; Stochastic resonance studies in pendulum systems and two parameter maps; Quark-antiquark potentials and heavy quark (antiquark) bound states; Study of exotic nuclear systems in the infinite nuclear matter model of atomic nuclei; QCD related studies of hadronic final states of e+e- interactions at LEP2; Investigations of transient radio emissions from the Sun; Nuclear structure of some rare nuclear phenomena; Soliton solutions and their consequences for super symmetric nonlinear evolution equations; Left-right supersymmetric unification; Dynamics of stick-slip; Prospects of fermion masses and mixings in unified theories; Exotic nuclei near the drip line.

A Core Group was set up at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore for "Experimental and theoretical studies in Non-Accelerator Particle Physics, Atomic Physics and Cavity QED".

A SERC School on Theoretical High Energy Physics was successfully organized at the Harishchandra Research Institute (Earlier Mehta Research Institute), Allahabad. To motivate M.Sc. level students to take up further studies and research in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Accelerator Physics, an Introductory Summer School on Astronomy & Astrophysics was organized at IUCAA, Pune and a School on "Physics of Beams" was organized at CAT, Indore.

Several interesting results were reported from ongoing projects.

In a project at Osmania University, Hyderabad, a Bragg Curve Spectroscopy Detector has been successfully fabricated and tested with particle beams at the Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi. In another project at the University of Hyderabad, an alternative derivation of the field theory of Fractional Quantum Hall Effect has been given in which the lowest Landau level restriction has been implemented. A chiral soliton solution in a one-dimensional non-relativistic field theory has also been found. At Berhampur University, the Deformed Configuration Mixing Shell Model based on Hartree-Fock states has been applied to several nuclei e.g. 74,76,77Kr. Three quasiparticle bands have been identified in the odd nuclei 77Kr and strongly coupled bands have been studied in the even-even 74,76Kr and the results agree well with the experimental data. The calculations have been extended to the two-neutrino double beta decay matrix elements in the decay of 76Ge. The results have been published in reputed journals.

The special pro-active Cross Disciplinary Plasma Science (CDPS) programme to generate cross-disciplinary projects at the interface of plasma physics and other areas of science and engineering moved forward. Several new projects were formulated at the plasma physics - materials science interface and a project on "Surface modification by plasma source ion implantation (i) to reduce high temperature corrosion in metals (ii) to improve adhesion of metal films on semiconductors" was funded.

The Phase-III of the Satellite Research Programme in Plasma Physics (SRPP) progressed forward. Several projects having close linkage with National Plasma Physics Programme were generated. The following three got funded during this year --- Study of pulsed laser ablated plasma and fabrication of high quality thin films; Laser driven ablative surface instability; Effect of secondary electron emission on wave propagation in a dusty plasma;

Lasers, Optics, Atomic and Molecular Physics

The following projects were supported in the above areas:

Calculations on collision interactions of charged particles in atomic, molecular and cluster physics; Rigorous studies of angular distribution and spin-polarization parameters of photoelectrons from atoms and ions; Electro absorption spectroscopy study of solution cast porphyrin and pthalocyanine films; Studies of optical properties of some laser glasses; Investigation on synthesization and characterization of high density data storage optical recording materials; Study of the excited state processes through laser induced opto-acoustic spectoscopy (LIOAS);

A SERC School on "Nonlinear and Optical Materials" was held at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Several interesting results were obtained in ongoing projects-

At IIT, Delhi, the properties of solitons in singly doped fibers and their switching dynamics in nonlinear directional couplers have been investigated in detail. A new model of doubly inhomogeneously doped fiber for bistable soliton propagation has been proposed. Properties of solitons including their bistability, in triply doped nonlinear fiber has also been studied.

In another project at IIT, Delhi, theoretical studies on direct laser acceleration of electron have been made and the results are in agreement with the experimental results from Max Planck Institute fiir Quantenoptik, Germany. Effects of time dependent magnetic field on laser induced plasma have also been investigated.

Forty-eight specimens of undoped and doped borophosphate and zinc chloroborophosphate glasses have been prepared in a project at JN Vyas University, Jodhpur. Energy interaction, bonding and laser parameters have been calculated from absorption and fluorescence measurements.

At CSIO, Chandigarh, a systematic investigative study has been carried out for the development of experimental techniques for recording of holograms of facsimiles of various art objects and for the development of 3-D holographic non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques for defect diagnosis of precious art objects/ paintings/sculptures etc. to help their timely restoration.

Programme on Nanomaterials : Science and Devices

Realizing the importance of Nanomaterials and its far-reaching impact on technology in not too distant a future, the Department has embarked upon a special initiative to generate and support some end-to-end projects leading to tangible processes, products and technologies. Special emphasis is being laid on projects aimed at solving important national problems like pure drinking water, alternative energy sources, energy conservation, etc. and value addition of materials.

One of the first projects evolved under this programme is on targeted gene delivery using inorganic nanoparticles as non-viral vectors.

This programme will run in parallel with DST's support to basic research in nanomaterials.

Life Sciences

The projects received under this broad area was considered by the Programme Advisory Committees in the areas of Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology, Plant Sciences, Health Sciences and Animal Sciences. 80 projects have been sanctioned this year. These are in the disciplines of Animal Sciences, Health Sciences, Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Plant Sciences.

In the area of Animal Sciences projects such as epididymis as target tissue for the toxic manifestation of drugs, pesticides, and industrial chemicals, diversity of mosquito fauna in the Garhwal region, taxonomic investigation on white flies in the Eastern and Western Ghats, mechanism of gonodotropin induced apoptosis in the corpus luetem of rats, modulation of gonadotropin releasing harmone and role of pituitary gonadotropins in the olfactory system in crabs, adaptation of laboratory fruit fly (Drosophila) population to different light regimes, humoral and cellular control of testicular function in wall lizard, induction of secondary defence in testicular metabolism and its utility in detection of carcinogenesis, evaluation of biotic potential of Diaeretiella rapae in controlling the Brassica ephids, larval development of rock lobsters, conservation of butterflies through inventorying, monitoring, mapping and farming, biochemical identification of fish species, and courtship and communication in field cricket species have been supported. A training and methodology workshop on bioresources mapping has been supported to standardise procedures to catalogue the available information. In a completed project basic information on the biology of tadpoles of south Indian anurans with regard to morphology, diagnostic features, microhabitat selection, kin recognition, foraging behaviour, sex differentiation, etc has been generated. In another completed project, entitled "Organization of neuroactive substances mediating reproductive signals in the brain of Clarias batrachus", localisation of GnRH and beta-endorphin in a vertebrate brain has been reported for the first time. The study has provided anatomical evidence in favour of the interactions reported to occur in other teleosts.

Some of the projects initiated in the area of health sciences are on nutrition; respiratory disorders; anemia; reproductive biology; parasitology; aging; atherosclerosis; diarrhoea; oncogenes and chemokines in malignancy, regulation of immunological memory and hepatitis. To understand various risk factors for coronary heart diseases in Indians a project has been initiated with a view to design/device dietary, life style or occupational factors or new clinical tests in CHD. Another project to determine atherosclerosis risk factors in Indian subjects susceptible to coronary artery disease (CAD) apart from LDL cholesterol has been initiated. Asthama, a chronic respiratory disorder in urban population and is most commonest disorder. Excess dietary sodium has been known to cause asthama. A project has been supported to investigate whether excessive dietary sodium and inhibition of sodium potassium adenosine triphosphatase facilitates the development of asthama. To study the basis of polymerization and stability of sickle haemoglobin has been initiated. Several projects to study molecular mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis have been supported in view of increasing incidences of cancer in the country. In a completed project a rabit model to study the non-cirrhotic portal hypertension (NCPF) has been developed using E. coli as the inducing agent of NCPF. A new project in this area has been supported to study the portal hemodynamics and vascular responsiveness in the animal model. A detailed study has been supported to understand the mechanism of pathogenesis of eneteropathogenic E. coli to document virulence factors and expression of genes.

In the area of molecular biology, biophysics and biochemistry new projects dealing with Molecular genetics of olfactory sense organs, axonal transport in Drosophila, post transcriptional regulation of lactase in intestinal lactose malabsorption, proteins involved in cell wall synthesis and cell division machinery of Mycobacterium for identifying drug targets sites, biochemical and genetic analysis of mismatch repair protein during spermatogenesis in mammals, cloning and functional analysis of heat shock proteins, microwave imaging of biological subjects for medical applications, heterozygosity of intragenic markers and detection of mutations in Indian population, ligand recognition of endoplasmic reticulum, cloning and characterisation of collagenase genes in Entamoeba histolytica, biochemical markers of cataract of the eye lens, DNA-protein interaction involved in translation of Hepatitis C Virus, structural analysis of plant lectins and their carbohydrate specificity, regulation of calmodulin gene in plants have been supported.

In the area of plant sciences several programmes have been supported particularly in the area of taxonomy, biodiversity and distribution of pteridophytes, lichens, angiosperms in sacred groves, micropropagation and induction of variation in ornamental plants, screening, isolation, characterization and therapeutic potential of antienteric microbial agents from local plants, mycotoxins from Lasiodoploidia theobromae through tissue culture, germplasm collection and establishment of a germplasm bank of Citrus in the North East, morphogenesis and multiplication of medicinally important tree species, nitrogen assimilation of Poplar in response to cytokinenin and polyamine treatment and photoacoustic spectroscopic studies on fungal diseases of wheat with special reference to leaf blight.

In an ongoing project RUBISCO has been isolated and purified from stressed and non-stressed plants and also antibodies against this enzyme have been raised. Further investigations to study the kinetics of this purified enzyme, role of proline in suppressing the activity of this enzyme and to study the activity of oxygenase in the stressed and non-stressed plants are in progress.

In a project to understand the leaf expansion and senescence during stress using transgenic plants over-producing cytokinins, native promoter and terminator sequence has been cloned. The role of enhanced endogenous cytokinins on germination, photosynthesis, vegetative and reproductive growth and senescence pattern has been studies. Enhanced cytokinins promote better root growth which is a useful character for developing water stress tolerant plant.

Engineering Sciences

Engineering Sciences Programme initiated since Seventh Five Year Plan is a multi-disciplinary R&D promotion programme within the scope of Science & Engineering Research Council (SERC). The objective of the Programme is to promote basic and applied research in frontline areas of engineering and technology in the various academic and research institutions, in collaboration with industry and user agencies (where applicable), and to transfer resulting technologies for industrial and developmental activities.

The programme objectives cover a range of disciplines within engineering sciences such as chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, materials development, manufacturing technologies, robotics etc. The individual research programme may address one or more namely, health, bio-medical, transportation, fuel efficiency & emission control, water management, structural engineering, building technologies, manufacturing and process industry etc.
The specific objectives are:

  • To promote research in newly emerging and frontier areas of engineering including multidisciplinary fields.
  • To promote research capability in relevant areas of engineering and technology taking into account capability of the host and collaborating institutions.
  • To set up advanced research facilities for carrying out R&D activities.
  • To conduct SERC (Engineering) Schools in emerging areas of technologies.
  • To develop software and knowledge based expert system for various engineering applications.
  • To develop technologies for products and processes in collaboration with industry for import substitution and technology advancement.
  • To develop technologies of relevance to the country in collaboration with industry and subsequent technology transfer.

The thrust area document on Engineering Sciences was published during the Eighth Five Year Plan based on discussion amongst industries, scientists and engineers as well as members of various Programme Advisory Committees. Towards the end of Eighth Five Year Plan, a Vision Document on Engineering Sciences was published, which has taken into consideration the aspect of economic liberalisation and consequent impact on the industries and research strategy.

Achievements during the year 2000-2001

Facilitation and support of R&D work in laboratories and institutions in the country have resulted in several publications in national and international journals. Projects in the nature of applied research have resulted in products and processes, some of which are under transfer to industry and user agencies. A brief summary of activities initiated under various programmes under Engineering Sciences are given in the on going.

Materials, Mining & Mineral Engineering

  • Extensive studies have been completed at IIT Madras on Open Die Extrusion of Sintered Powder Metallurgical Preforms of Iron. The major objectives of enhanced properties with low force and energy by this approach has been established with respect to conventional cold extrusion with container.
  • Detailed investigations have been completed at IISc, Bangalore on Copper, Copper-Chromium and Copper-Beryllium based Metal Metrix Composites through squeeze casting technique resulting development of MMC with superior mechanical & Electrical properties.
  • Development of characterisation material for Audio Recording Application is being pursued at National Research & Technology Consortium, Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh. Some micro structure characteristics such as grain size and magnetic property (permeability of perm-alloys) have been carried out. Further investigation and development of high temperature furnace for reprocessing of scrap material is under progress.
  • An extensive study have been carried out at M.S University of Baroda, Baroda for Mechanical Alloying - A Novel Techniques for processing of Silver-Metal oxide composite powders for Electrical contact application. High energy Attritor was fabricated locally otherwise very expensive equipment and it was successfully commissioned. Further investigation is in progress.
  • Ceramers (Polymer Ceramic Composites) from Penta Coordinate Silicon Complexes under ambient condition has been successfully prepared at IIT Bombay. Further characterization and evaluation is under progress.
  • A joint project was given to NPL, New Delhi and IIT, New Delhi for Development of Asbestos free Brake Pad Material for automobiles. Indigenous technology developed at NPL Delhi. The effect of different constituent of brake pad material was established. The optimum composition of brake pad material observed is Reinforcement 6%; Resin 25%; Friction modifier 15%. The properties of brake pad material developed in the laboratory are found to be comparable with the commercially available brake pad. At IIT Delhi, workable prototype (BTR - Car brake material test rig) - developed and commercial samples tested for Tribological Evaluation.. Composite processing facilities/ accessories were also developed at IIT, Delhi. Further characterization and evaluation of brake pad material developed is under progress.
  • Multi agency research project was supported for Indigenous development of Catalytic converter to reduce emission level in 4 stroke engine gasoline vehicle. The technology for manufacture of Cordierite Honeycomb Substrate for automobile catalytic converter is developed. A pilot plant capable of manufacturing these substrate is established at CTI, BHEL, Bangalore. Several trial order are successfully executed. Prototype catalytic converter are designed and developed with the help of IIP-Dehradun, ARAI-Pune & Daewoo Motors Ltd.. The Cordierite Honeycomb Substrate developed meet the target specification of the project as well as specification of internationally available commercial substrate. The product developed is capable of catering to the present automobile market as an important part of catalytic converter for controlling automobile emission. The catalytic converter withstand 80,000/- km durability run with Indian vehicle on actual Indian road run. Under this project a patent is being filed by the IIP-Dehradun for developed technology for washcoating and catalyst loading. Commercialisation of Indigenous developed converter through technology transfer is under progress.
  • Under the programme of Nano-Crystalline materials, a UHV Chamber has been fabricated and commissioned at University of Madras for preparation of Nanocrystalline Materials. Further studies on synthesis and properties of specific material systems are in progress.
  • High density hydration resistant lime sinters and lime based refractories have been developed at Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute, Calcutta.
  • A laboratory size horizontal continuous casting machine has been designed and fabricated at IIT, Mumbai. This machine has been commissioned and successful casting of 50 mm x 50 mm steel billets has been demonstrated.
  • Formation of porous silicon layer on p-type silicon has been extensively investigated. Porous silicon based LDE's (primitive level display devices) have been fabricated. Further studies on influence of formation parameters on electro-luminescence efficiency of PS are in progress.

Chemical Engineering

  • Under a project on Flow Past Flexible Surfaces, pioneering work has been done to understand the coupling behaviour of fluid dynamics and dynamics of flexible surfaces. Linear stability analysis has been done to study laminar to turbulent transition in the flow past flexible tubes and channels which is found to be significantly different from transition in a rigid tube and found to occur even at speeds, 1000 times lower. The difference in transient behaviour is attributed to the elasticity of wall, electro dynamic forces and adsorbed polymer molecules projecting into the flow. The work has been carried out in low reynold numbers relevant to biological and bio technological systems and is unique in this context. At present, these studies are being extended to more complex, real life surfaces and non linear conditions to determine the flow structure after transition , which will enable determining the transport properties and understanding heat and mass transport mechanisms, for efficient design of such systems, such as blood vessels, hollow fibre reactors and membrane bio reactors.
  • Sono-chemical Reaction Engineering is an emerging area known to have profound effect on process intensification and novel reactor configuration to achieve enhanced selectivity and productivity. Sustained efforts in this area during last five years have resulted in interesting findings with acoustic as well as hydro-dynamic cavitation based reactors. It has also been established that hydro-dynamic cavitation is 2 to 5 times more efficient than acoustic cavitation for process intensification. As a follow up, the work is being further extended to industry relevant systems including specific design of an atomizer for M/s Hindustan Lever Ltd. The industry is also making direct financial contribution for the latter part of the work.
  • The effect of centrifugal field for intensification of reaction in trickle bed reactors resulting in improved mass transfer is claimed to be by an order of magnitude. The technical feasibility of this concept is attempted to be established under a project, considering the diminishing effect of other controlling regimes on the over all yield. This is an exciting idea and could lead to significant break through in reaction systems designs once the concept is found viable.
  • Sustained efforts have been made during last ten years in the area of Membrane based applications. Salient features of the present status of activities in this area are noted underneath:-
  • Four membrane based modules for oxygen enriched air for medical application have been installed in hospitals for demonstration subsequent to initial field trials conducted successfully. 20 more demonstration Units are presently under fabrication and should be ready for giving to various users all over the country is about six months.
  • A 50,000 LPD membrane based sewage water plant with 92 percentage solid rejection and 75 percent recovery was installed at Madras Refineries and has been successfully working for more than 18 months without any replacement. The concerned laboratory jointly with industry is further extending the work to develop 6 inch dia modules as per the international bench mark.
  • A new project is being formulated for the separation of Azeotropic Mixtures using prevaporation technique. Few specific industry relevant systems would be studied to establish technical parameters and to prove tecno economic feasibility. Subsequent to this, a major project will be taken up for an appropriate system, involving large volumes, to have a significant impact.

Mechanical Engineering & Civil Engineering

  • More than twelve demonstration micro hydel projects based on indigenous cross flow turbine completed in collaboration with State agencies, in capacities ranging from 10 kW to 2x 100 kW during the plan period. A few more projects are in progress under different schemes within DST and outside agencies. Subsequently, related equipment such as, electronic load controller and induction motor- based alternators are under development. A 20 kW project at Elaneer, Karnataka was commissioned in December 2000.
  • One more project in Tirbin (50 kW). Arunachal Pradesh is expected to be commissioned this year.
  • National Wind Tunnel Facility at IIT-Kanpur jointly taken up with AR & DB was inaugurated last year.. Experiments in aeronautical and non-aeronautical areas are under design and formulation.
  • Geotechnical Centrifuge Project at IIT-Bombay has been erected. Trial runs are in progress and the Facility is expected to be inaugurated in January 2001. This will serve as a national facility for conducting studies on scaled models for various geotechnical-engineering applications.
  • Facility for Research in Technical Acoustics is being set-up in IISc., Bangalore. Collaboration with Industry partners for research and development work is being solicited.
  • Daylight measurement programme is nearing completion as a multi-institutional project with CBRI as nodal agency. Eight measurement stations set up in different parts of the country. The activity will dovetail with International Daylight Measurement Programme (IDMP).
  • Reliability and field evaluation of a fuel efficient, low emission, two-stroke SI engine is nearing completion in IISc, Bangalore. The engine is expected to be commercialized soon
  • A project on development of instrumentation system for condition monitoring of rotating machine in power plants is in progress as a multi- institutional project with CSIO, Chandigarh as the nodal agency. IIT, Delhi and IIT, Kanpur will develop with knowledge based systems and, BHEL R&D, Hyderabad will provide the necessary industry interface.
  • A Core Group on Hydrogen Technology Programme has been formulated in collaboration with TIFAC and CMC Ltd .to initiate development and utilization of hydrogen based technologies and devices. The programme will deal with different aspects such as handling, storage and utilisation of hydrogen and related material development. Five projects dealing with different aspects of R&D in hydrogen technology has been initiated in different institutions. Major projects will be developed in dialogue with research groups and industry.
  • Jadavpur University has developed a technique for preservation of Litchi, Tuber Rose and Jasmine under modified atmosphere packaging. With this new technique, these items could be preserved up to ten days with original aroma and colour. Technology Transfer agreement between DST and an entrepreneur will be signed sometime in December1999.
  • A project on Cryo-preservation of RH negative blood successfully completed. Using this technology, RH negative blood can be preserved in a blood bank for needy patients.
  • A project on applications of cryo-preservation for seed production of Indian Major Carps has been completed. The technology can be used for preservation of seed of Major Carps throughout the year, enabling the fish farmers several production cycles in a year.

Electrical Engineering

  • Neuro-fuzzy general purpose tools that can be easily realized in hardware and used in both pattern recognition and control problems has been developed at ISI, Calcutta, which can simultaneously do feature analysis and rule extraction. A fuzzy rule based system for structure preserving dimensionality reduction has been developed which can make the task of system identification simple cost efficient.
  • A one day workshop on "Learning Algorithms in control and Applications" was organized at TIFRE, Mumbai. The participants in the workshop, comprising of practicing engineers from industry, engineers and scientists from academic and research institutions were appraised to the outcome of project supported by DST in the area of reinforcement learning algorithms for control and applications.
  • The project on "Design, development and control of permanent magnet machines" funded in coloration with Kirloskar Electric Company Ltd. Came out with the development of low cost controller for Permanent Magnet Brush Less (PMBL)Motors. To enhance the dynamic response and reliability of the drive system, the micro controller (80C196KC) and DSP (TMS320F240) based speed controllers are developed for Permanent Magnet Brush Less Motors. The design of PMBL motor is carried out and verified with standard available "SPEED" motor design software and it is in the development process by collaborating industry.
  • Under the project "Application of formal Languages in computing environments" at IIT Madras new models of grammar systems and automata are defined and studied and application to network load modeling, image compression, computer imagery and DNA computing shown.
  • Project "Design & Development of fault tolerant circuitry to improve the reliability of solar PV modules and arrays" has explicitly dealt with the improvement of reliability by active redundancy which involves use of interconnection circuitry in the modules. It has been established that the Bridge-Linked (BL) circuitry excels over others. The modules based on this circuitry have been fabricated in the conventional plant of industry, without any change of process or manufacturing unit. The BL modules can be retrofitted to replace the conventional modules and / or used in conjunction with the conventional modules, and product is being patented.

Robotics & Manufacturing

  • Project on water jet technology resulted in fine cutting of granite stone and other hard materials with minimum loss of material in an environmentally friendly manner. The outcome resulted in a joint collaborative effort with German Scientists; a few industries have expressed interest to adopt the technology for manufacturing applications.
  • Project on development of intelligent wheel chair has promising features to benefit the handicapped for easy movement at affordable costs.
  • Super abrasive grinding wheel project has resulted in development of high performance CBN grinding wheel for intricate grinding operations without use of coolants and with better material removal. An industry showed interest to manufacture the high-speed spindles required for use of these grinding wheels and the product is being patented.
  • Cost effective and rugged rapid prototype machine developed to suit Indian shop floor conditions and these have been performing successfully.
  • Centre for computational fluid dynamics, set up to pursue research in a wide range of areas, namely, flow in IC engines, air- breathing engines, process plant equipment, etc, has been formally inaugurated at IIT, Chennai.
  • The Centre for Computational Fluid Dynamics, established at IIT, Chennai, has started functioning and is involved in tackling research problems related to gaseous flows in air breathing engines for effective design solutions.

Earth System Sciences

Earth System Sciences Programmes relate to the study of earth processes, atmospheric phenomena and their coupling with the surrounding oceans.The Programme Advisory Committee on Earth Sciences (PAC-ESS) held its 3 meetings and considered 37 projects. Out of these, 18 were recommended for financial support. Besides this, the Committee also discussed and finalised a number of policy issue. Some of the highlights on the progress/achievements related to this programme are as below:

New projects sanctioned

During the year, a number of new projects on various topics/themes related to Earth Sciences have been sanctioned such as (i) Mapping of active lineaments using IRS-IC data and GIS (ii) Petrogenesis of enclaves hosted ... East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya (iii) Stress Modelling for the rifted ... using bore hole breakouts (iv) Segmentation of Central Indian .... Across CIR (v) Fe Mossabauer Spectroscopic studies of organic rich sediments (vi) Depositional motifs of the Satpura ... temporal variability in relation to basin tectonics (vii) Evolution of Bioevents ... relation to global event stratigraphy (viii) Tectonic evolution and depositional environment of the Andaman back-arc basis (ix) Palaeolake deposits ... biochronology and climate (x) Eastern Syntax's: ... evolution of the low heat plutonic complex, eastern Arunachal Pradesh (xi) Analogue modelling of Cenozoic ... India due to collision with Asia (xii) Miocene deep sea palaeocenography in the Southeast Indian Ocean ... ODP sites 760A and 761B .

Manpower Development

Considering the future need of suitable trained manpower for Earth Sciences, necessary efforts were made for organising Summer, Winter and Contact Courses. As a part of this, the 7 contact programmes/ training courses and one workshop were organized in the different areas of Earth Sciences in which around 160 persons were trained.

On-going projects

Several projects are going-on in the different disciplines of Earth Sciences in different parts of our country. The projects are running in a well defined direction and the excellent results are expected as per the proposed objectives at the end of their duration. Highlight of technical achievements related to some on-going projects are as below:

  • Original and dynamic behaviour of fluoride in ground waters of crystalline aquifers,Krishna District, A.P. undertaken by Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.

    - The project is implemented with the aim (i) To delineate areas of ground water with high fluoride concentrations (ii) To identify the sources of fluoride and evaluate the geochemical processes contributing to the hydrochemical behaviour of ground water and (iii) to calibrate numerical models depicting the dispersion and transport; mechanism of fluoride in ground water. The Western part of Krishna District (Lat.16o40' to 16o50'N; Long. 80o10' to 80 o 25'E) were taken for this study. Fluoride concentration in well water ranges from 0.5 to 10 mg/l. High fluoride concentration are found in the western and north eastern parts of the study area. The origin of the fluoride appears to be evoporational concentration of high amounts of fluoride leached from silicate rocks. The work is in progress.

  • Animal-sediment relationship of two ... Gulf of Kachchh, Gujarat undertaken by University of Baroda, Vadodara

    -The aim of the project (i)To study crapes and polychaetes and their sediment relationship in the inter-tidal zone and (ii) to classify the various ecological facies, types of trace fossils and reconstruction of depositional model for the inter-tidal zone. So far, the work is in progress and Inter-tidal zone around Mandavai in the gulf of Kuchchh is characterised. Further attempts were also made to demarcate the biosedimentological zonation for the inter-tidal zone of the Mandvi coast line. The work for establishing the ecological and icehnofacies variations and to reconstruction of the depositional model for the inter-tidal zones is undertaken.

  • Submicro-to-Micro-scale deformation in Minerals and Related Texures undertaken by Jadavpur University, Calcutta

    -The project aimed to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of micro-scale deformation mechanisms by integrating the observations from rocks, experiments and theoretical analysis. Natural observations and theoretical analysis have been completed. The equipment for experimental work is indigenously fabricated to study demarcation at elevated temperature. Experimental observations is still under progress. The experiments could attempt to produce structures related to pressure shadow around rigid objects, strain localization due to the presence of stiff and weak zones in the bulk medium.

  • Palaeomagnetism of Kurnool and Palnad Formation .. Archaeans undertaken by S.V. University, Tirupati

    - Aim of this project is to find the extent of the reversed magnetization recorded in the Srisailam quartzite of the Cuddapah Basin and to construct an Apparent Polar Wandering Path (APWP) for the precambrian of India and to investigate the global tectonics with special reference to India. So far, the work related to collection of samples, measurement of dyke samples, thermal demagnetisation and measurement of magnetic properties of the collected samples were completed. Determination of characteristic magnetisation for Kurnools, Palnads and Dykes is under progress.

  • Application of computer based petrographic studies on Gondwana coals using fluorescence and estaining techniques implemented by Jadavpur University, Calcutta.

    -The main aim of this project is to apply an image processing system for Gondwana coaking and non-coaking coal characterisation. So far , the work is in progress and the attempts were made to develop a prediction module that can predict as content (%) on dmmf basis, V.M. and ultimate carbon on pure coal basis which can ultimately suggest the rank and grade of the coal as per standard Indian nomenclature (Bureau of Indian Standards).

Completed projects:

During the period under reference, 33 projects were completed in different disciplines of Earth Sciences. Summary of achievements in some of the recently completed projects are as below:

Environmental Hydrology of the Almora region, Central Himalayas, India, implemented by Kumaon University, Almorah

- This project was an attempt to generate the primary data of the physical processes (i.e. hydrology, geohydrology, meteorology, geomorphology,. Pedology and geology) under different ecological conditions of remote Himalayan terrain - by employing seven representative (natural systems, i.e. oak and pine forests; and disturbed systems, i.e. anthropogenically disturbed deforested barren and agricultural land, technogenically disturbed urban land, and tectonically disturbed highly fragile zones) - instrumented mini-watersheds as the natural laboratories. The changes in the physical processes over seasonal and annual time scale basis have been assessed. It is a first kind of project which brings the existing status and nature of physical processes of varied ecological conditions of the Himalayas.

Man-Land relationship at the Coastal of Saurashtra during holocene undertaken by Deccan College PG Research Institute., Pune.

- This study was carried out with dual objectives of standardizing the LAAR (Low Altitude Aerial Reconnnaissance) technique and to understand Man-Land relationship at the coast of Bhavanagar. A variety of techniques including remote sensing, subsurface lithology, sedimentology and minerology were used for obtaining the proposed goals.

-The project study in the Saurashtra Region suggested that the Early Man occupied this region both during the low sea level phase and also during the high sea level phase of the middle Pleistocene. The detailed studies have not only pushed back the antiquity of 'early man' in coastal parts of India but have also established that the prehistoric man had experienced changing sea level phases since the early part of the Middle Pleistocene. So far, nowhere in India there is an evidence of such geoarchaeological data on Man-Land relationship in coastal area during the Middle Pleistocene, as has been established at Madhuban in Saurashtra.

Sedimentology, Microfacies and Palaeoenvironmental Analysis of Middle Jurassic Sequence of Kachchh Mainland undertaken by University of Goa.

- The main objective of the project was to evaluate the distribution patterns of petrographic, mineralogical and geochemical parameters of Middle Jurassic Sequence of Kachchh mainland for understanding the sedimentation history and palaeoenvironments of Kachch Basin. The present study envisages that the basin experienced a several minor cycles of transgression and regression during the middle jurassic resulting in greater lithological variation (vertical and spatial). The complex associations of clastic-carbonate sediments within the succession, having abundant organic constituents, variable porosity characters and environments of deposition, favour the conditions of hydrocarbon generation and entrapment at depth.

Reconstruction of the past climatic changes in the Eastern Himalayan Region using tree ring data implemented by BSIP, Lucknow

- This project includes the analysis of tree ring width data of seven conifers growing in diversified ecological settings ranging from sub-tropical to temperate forests in the Eastern Himalayan Region. Samples for this study comprise about 388 cores from 221 trees from 14 sites covering Darjeeling, north Sikkim and western Arunachal Pradesh. Seven tree ring chronologies were prepared in which three of them are of Abies densa, two of Larix geiffithiana and one each from Pinus wallichiana and Juniperus indica. Samples from Abies densa growing in Yumthang, N. Sikkim provided longest chronology in the present study which spans from 1504 to 1994 (491 years).

- Climatic reconstruction (temperature of July-Setember) was extended up to 1507 AD but data beyond 1757 AD may be questionable as it is based on analysis from a single tree. However, last 237 year's reconstruction have enough replication of tree ring data. Analysis of reconstructed temperature data shows no significant change in trend during last 237 years (from 1757 AD onwards), However some decadal scale fluctuations have been observed. In these 1760s, 1780s, 1800s 1830s, 1850s and 1890s are recorded as cool decades with the minimum occurring in 1801-1810 (-0.31oC). Period 1978-1987 (+0.25 oC) was the warmest one during last 500 years. The most significant observation in the present study is that the "ittle Ice Age which implies large scale of cooling is either absent or it is not a significant feature in the Himalayan region. Moreover, this study opens the avenue for the future detailed studies on various aspects of climatic changes and its application towards understanding the long term relationship among various climatic phenomena like, Monsoon, Eurasian Snow cover, ENSO events and others.

Multivariate statistical analysis of Neogene deep-sea henthic foraminifera from the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 121, northeastern Indian Ocean implemented by IIT Kharagpur.

-This study is from an ODP Site located on the eastern side of the Indian landmass and affected by the Indian monsoon system. The study was aimed at understanding the longterm climatic changes induced by monsoonal circulation in the northeastern Indian Ocean during the Neogene. The results revealed significant trends in monsoonal development and deep-ocean circulation, which could be helpful in comprehending short-term changes in the monsoon behaviour. The results conform studies from the Arabian Sea ODP sites. It has been recommended that to understand the decadal to century level changes in the Indian monsoon system, it is essential to carry out high resolution study during the last 1 m.y. This would help in future prediction of the monsoonal behaviour in the Indian subcontinent.

Monitoring/Review of on-going projects:

Progress of 25 on-going projects will be reviewed during 12th Group Monitoring Meet to be held during February 2001 at NEERI, Nagpur. In addition to this, progress of more than 90 on-going projects were reviewed by way of sending the progress report to experts. Mid-course correction, wherever suggested were also carried by the concerned PI's.

Atmospheric Sciences

Atmospheric Science Programme under the SERC deals with the frontline research encompassing the fields of upper atmosphere (from the region of magnetosphere to troposphere), atmospheric electricity, cloud physics, atmospheric chemistry, agro-climatology, climate, global change and weather modelling, etc. Fourteen projects in the frontline areas have been supported this year in addition to the ongoing projects. Universities/Institutions in the year 2000, have contributed significantly in terms of scientific results arising out of the supported research projects. All the ongoing projects were monitored by the experts in the field for suggesting necessary mid-course corrections for achieving the identified objectives. The significant results are as follows:

Climate and global change

  • Atmospheric General circulation models (AGCMs), which are mathematical representations of our comprehensive knowledge of physics and dynamics of weather systems, were used to study climate variability and climate change in India. Demonstrated the use of AGCMs to study a variety of problems related to the Indian Summer Monsoon involving time scales of less than a season to several decades.
  • The AGCMs are able to simulate the broad climatological features of the monsoon in terms of both circulation and rainfall. However, there are many aspects of the simulation, like monsoon rainfall over India and its interannual variability need improvement.
  • Though the observed monsoon is thought to be forced mainly by slowly varying boundary conditions, the AGCM experiments show large internal variability, which manifests as impact of initial conditions on seasonal simulations.
  • The data generated for methane emission during the methane campaign and the subsequent measurements have contributed significantly in refining Indian national inventory for IPCC (Inter Governmental Panel on climate Change).
  • Methane budget estimate, utilizing emission as seasonal integrated flux (Esif) approach, gave a figure of 4.07 Tg/y for India and has since been incorporated by IPCC updates.
  • A field campaign at the Jhumcultivation areas in Halflong of Assam was made for the measurement of atmospheric trace gas species, aerosols and UV-B radiation.
  • Emission factors from various types of bio-mass burning were measured in a biomass burning chamber system designed and fabricated.
  • Studies of acid rain were carried out using wet-only rain water collectors and by automatic collector at various sites, viz. Goa (coastal), Pune, Sinhagad, Bhubaneswar (coastal cum continental), Delhi (continental plain), Haflong and Darjeeling (high altitude) stations, in India including one site (Kathamandu) in Nepal. The nature of rain water on an average is found to be alkaline (pH> 5.6) at continental sites (Delhi pH lowest) in India, but over the Indian Ocean it is acidic (pH<5.6).
  • Regular measurements of spectral irradiance in the UV-B range show a change of four order of magnitude from 290 nm to 340 nm.
  • Facilities have been created for the calibration and measurement of UV radiation sources, UV detectors response, linearity, characterisation of UV filters for transmittance, spectral bandwidth and calibration of portable UV meter at 365 nm.
  • The monthly variations of atmospheric CO2, CH4, CO2, N2O, O3, H2O and aerosols measured with solar IR spectrophotometer have indicated that there is an increasing trend of all the trace constituents from 1992 onwards.
  • Analysis of data from four campaign mode observations using the MST Radar and ozonesonde flights from Trivandrum at the time of tropopause weakening provided a conclusive evidence of an episode of downward transport of ozone from stratosphere to troposphere.
  • Examination of water vapour measurements from Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II(SAGE II) showed some mid-latitude water vapour profiles which appear different from the normal profiles at these latitudes.
  • Analysis of ionosonde data for some 31 stations indicated negative trends for some stations and positive trends for others.
  • An interactive two dimensional model of chemistry, radiation and dynamics established the potentially important role of the changing atmosphere on middle atmospheric ionisation.

Upper atmosphere and global electric circuit

  • Research efforts have generated many new results on solar wind and magnetosphere interaction.
  • Numerical studies using two dimensional magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) code improved our understanding of the magnetospheric electric field generation processes and the sub-storm phenomena.
  • MHD code has strong impact on long term application of global electric circuit (GEC) and its coupling.

Radio communication related problems pertaining to radio climatology

  • Data bases of HF, VHF/Microwave links have been used for improvement of communication links as well as to study atmospheric phenomenon.
  • Study on the effect of sea breeze fading characteristic has given insight into how the advection of the front over an air-mass of different characteristics can generate turbulence leading to complex propagation phenomena.
  • Results relating to path attenuation differential between LOS mode and the ionospheric mode from the lightning source have been found very interesting, for further investigation.
  • Structure intensity parameter which quantifies turbulence structure has been used to study the energy dissipation in the viscous atmosphere by cascading from large scale lengths to eddy sizes.

Laboratory experiments on cloud and atmospheric electricity

  • Ionisation due to corona or lightning discharges can induce ice nucleation in clouds. It has been confirmed that growth of certain types of ice crystals is greatly enhanced in presence of high ambient electric field.
  • Drop size plays an important role in charge transfer mechanism during ice-ice collision in presence of super cool droplets.
  • It has been demonstrated that electric field changes during lightning flashes can be measured at spatially separated locations without any ambiguity, if lightning flash frequency is not high.

Interactions of middle atmosphere and the troposphere.

The MST (Mesosphere - Stratosphere - Troposphere) Radar data analysis reveals the following:

  • The wind shear has been observed in the range of 7-10 kms. within average value of 0.01 /sec. and maximum of 0.03 /sec occurring around 8 kms. Wind shear co-efficient of 0.03/sec correspond to a change in wind velocity of 30 mt/sec. in a height interval of 1 kms.
  • Meridional temperature gradient observed from MST radar measured wind fields is consistent with the meridional temperature gradient calculating using radiosonde temperature data.
  • Meridional gradient derived from the zonal wind field is observed to be of the order of 0.5 C/555 kms. during winter and 1 C/555 kms. during summer.
  • Convection gravity wave analyses have indicated that the ratio of active variance to quite variance as a function of height and shown nearly 20 fold increase in variance in mid-troposphere around 8 kms.
  • Successfully demonstrated significant southward displacement of the 500 hPa ridge, the strength of the heat sink has more effect on the southward displacement of 500 hPa ridge when the heat sink is at a lower latitude.

Summer Schools and workshops

  • "First SERC School on Numerical Weather Prediction" held in the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS) of IIT, Delhi during January 25-February 19, 2000, successfully conducted training programme, more than 35 participants coming from different institutions from all over the country were trained.
  • "First SERC School on Cloud Physics & Atmospheric Electricity" held in the Indian Institute Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune during June 10, 2000 to July 7, 2000 successfully conducted training programme, more than 35 participants coming from different institutions from all over the country were trained.

New Perspectives

After an overview of the achievements in each of the problem areas, it has been felt very essential to launch a special well-focussed programme of "Space weather requirements in the Indian context". In view of this, there is a compelling need to moot a major project to have a "National Aerospace Weather Prediction System" involving major national institutions concerned. Also, Eco-system specific study of methane emission needed to be undertaken in the country.

Some advanced training in frontline areas of atmospheric science provided through intensive and rigorous research-oriented SERC Schools

Mathematical Sciences

The year 2000 AD having being declared as the International Year of Mathematics was marked with tremendous enthusiasm in research in the frontline areas of all the branches of mathematical sciences. Consequently, this has resulted in quite a good number of research publications in reputed journals. Emanated many new results and ideas for further development. Some works are still ongoing which will be of real value for the mathematicians as a whole. As many as 18 projects in the frontline/thrust areas have supported this year in addition to the already ongoing projects.

Achievements

Reliability modelling has been studied with two discrete distribution functions. An important concept of Increasing Failure Rate (IFR) and Decreasing Failure Rate (DFR) for mixture distributions in terms of the nature of the component distribution functions has been studied with considerable success e.g. Mixture of Waring distributions, geometric mixture and mixture of negative hypergeometric distribution gave quite good results and have been published. Concept of equilibrium distribution has been dealt. Additionally, partial moments for certain families of distributions such as the power series distributions, generalised negative binomial distribution, generalised Poisson distribution, generalised logarithmic distribution, lost-games distribution have been found useful. A characterisation of the Poisson distribution is presented using a recurrence relation among factorial moments.

Under Lipschizian conditions on the drift and the diffusion matrix of the system and under the uniform ellipticity condition on the dispersion matrix it has been shown that the stochastic differential equation governing the reflecting diffusion has a unique weak solution under Markov strategies. Also, state process under Markov strategies is strong Feller. Further, the state process has a unique invariant (probability) measure under Markov strategies with smooth density. It plays acruial role in the analysis of zero-sum game for the ergodic payoff criterion. Study on non-zero sum games for the system, existence of Nash equilibria in Markov strategies for both discounted and ergodic payoff criteria have also been published. Problem of ergodic control of a reflecting diffusion in a compact domain with partial degeneracy has also been quite satisfactory. Implications to existence of optimal controls and viscosity solutions of the associated Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equations have been derived for finite dimensional spaces.

For reflecting diffusions in a smooth bounded domain with oblique reflection, the zero-sum game has been analysed for both discounted and ergodic pay off criteria. Using Isaacs equations and Markov starategies the existence of the values of the game and optimal strategies for both players for both payoff criteria has been obtained and published.

Theoretical study of cardiovascular flows in small and large blood vessel has been quite appreciable. The effect of catheterization on various physiologically important flow characteristics such as the pressure drop, impedance and wall shear stress in the artery for different catheter radii were note-worthy. Studies on the separation of flow field in the downstream of peak stenosis, modification of secondary streamlines due to combined action of stenosis and curvature, and formation of secondary vortices due to catheterization were also significant.

Some of the key problems of the concept of Semigraph introduced is highly appreciable, since the concept generalizes both the concepts in Graph Theory and the theory of Hypergraphs. This is essentially the new breakthrough in the field of Discrete Mathematics. There are many open problems and many conceptual developments may be undertaken. For example, many graph-valued functions viz. Middle semigraphs and total semigraphs and also labelling of semigraphs and the characteristic polynomials may be considered

Useful work has been done in the field of configurational analysis of Integrated and mini steel plants in association of the SAIL for providing the necessary data.

Popularisation

To inspire the Indian mathematicians the Production of Compact Discs (Cds) on life and works of Srinivasa Ramanujan- A Genius Mathematician has also been funded for the benefit of the researchers in Mathematics.

Manpower Development

Besides these, thrust was laid on the popularly known educational component. For this, conducted a number of Interface Workshops in which mathematicians and statisticians met users of mathematics and evolved research, development and advanced training (RD&AT) programmes towards meeting certain goals in the context of use of mathematical sciences in the process of national development. The year 2000 AD having declared as the International Year of Mathematics the opportunity was extended to the potential groups for proper utilization of their expertise in training. Following workshops and training programmes were the key elements towards this end.

The effect of catheterization on various physiologically important flow characteristics such as the pressure drop, impedance and wall shear stress in the artery for different catheter radii

The above planned training schools/workshops conducted at different places, with successively progressive local conditions with selected trainees going to subsequent training programmes, the resource persons involved and the topics covered by them carefully chosen. The topics for each such programme changed from programme to programme. There were a substantial number of members of the faculty, the procedure for selection of student participants ensured participation by most promising students. A more innovative format designed and adopted for imparting non-routine specialised training to enthuse the participants with finer aspects of mathematics, interspersed with their most exciting histories and contexts of their applications; the format so devised discussed in detail with coordinators of few other such training programmes. Subject to ensuring these safeguards, training programmes were funded.

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