IIT Madras to get Rs 242 crore for research on lab grown diamonds under Union Budget 2023

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Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister, declared in her budget address that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras will receive a grant of Rs 242 crore over a span of five years for the purpose of researching Lab Grown Diamonds (LGD). The study will be aimed at localizing the LGD production process.

The institute has announced that the department of commerce has given their approval to a research grant worth Rs 242 crore to be distributed over a five-year period. This grant will be given to multiple departments and research groups of IIT Madras that are working in this field.

IIT Madras stated that the new center will hire more staff to carry out research on LGD that will be located at the IIT Madras Research Park and labs. They noted that it is essential to develop these vital components, technologies, and seed substrates (mother-seed) locally in order to make India independent in the lab-created diamond industry. The IIT Madras Research Group is determined to take on this task, the institute added.

On February 1, Sitharaman announced the higher education budget for 2023, noting that Lab Grown Diamonds (LGD) is a rapidly expanding field with plenty of job opportunities and a focus on innovation and technology. These diamonds are identical to natural diamonds in both chemical and optical properties, but are more environmentally friendly. To boost the production of LGD seeds and machinery as well as cut back on import dependence, a research and development grant will be granted to one of the IITs over a five year period.

Diamond factory in India

Expressing his gratitude to Sitharaman, Professor V Kamakoti, director of IIT Madras, said that the timing was perfect to establish a diamond factory in India because diamonds possess thermal and electrical properties that make them better than modern technologies like silicon, silicon carbide, and gallium nitride. IIT Madras will strive to create diamond wafers that are suitable for electronic applications. He further noted that this is a historic moment for IIT Madras to be chosen to implement such an important project, the outcome of which will be a key aspect of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

MS Ramachandra Rao, a professor of physics at IIT Madras and the principal investigator for this initiative, spoke about the work that will be undertaken through the initiative. He praised their nearly two decades of experience in diamond research and the development of technologies for industrial, space, and defense sectors that led to InCent-LGD at IIT Madras being chosen for this project. He expressed the honor of being able to contribute to the Government of India’s efforts in diamond growth research to make India the number one country in producing high quality diamond crystals.

Mayank Tewari

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