IIT Madras has launched “world’s first” remotely operatable microscope that would enable a precise atom-by-atom view of a material here on 17 July 2018. The Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) was developed in a collaborative exercise involving eight top research institutions headed by IIT Madras. It was developed at a cost of Rs 40 crore.
The microscope also enables a true three-dimensional (3D) atomic scale reconstruction which would impart a major thrust to research in nanotechnology, among other fields. The government would announce policies on sharing science infrastructure such as LEAP across the country for the use of a large number of people.
This model where several institutes come together to fund expensive research equipment is a useful one and can be replicated in institutions across the country. The partnering institutions in the collaborative include – IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar along with International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI). These institutions contributed Rs 2 crores each for the project.
The Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences and Department of Science and Technology contributed the remaining amount. Dr Thomas F. Kelly, Inventor of Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) and the guest of honour, spoke about the importance of this technology.