World’s first? IIT Madras unveils remotely operable LEAP m’scope – All you need to know about Rs 40 cr miscroscope

The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras launched a Rs 40 crore remotely operable microscope, claimed to be the world’s first of its kind, that would enable a precise view of atoms of a material. The Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) had been developed in a collaborative exercise involving eight top research institutions in the country, spearheaded by IIT-M, a statement from the institute said. Though there were several such devices available across the world, the LEAP inaugurated at IIT-Madras was the first one that can be operated through a special terminal by researchers divided geographically, it said.

IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar along with International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) are the partner institutions who contributed Rs 2 crore each for the project. Besides, the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) had contributed Rs 3 crore.

The remaining funds came from the Department of Science and Technology’s ‘Nano-mission’, the statement said. DST Secretary Prof Ashutosh Sharma was among those present at the inauguration of the device. Sharma said the government would announce policies on maintenance and sharing of science infrastructure, such as the LEAP, across the country so that they can be used by a large number of people.

The remotely operable LEAP microscope has been developed in a collaborative exercise involving eight top research institutions in the country, spearheaded by IIT-M. Other partner institutions are IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS).

Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) allows the user to extract atoms from materials sequentially and are detected using a Time of Flight Mass spectrometer.

This facility will be able to provide atomic-scale insights into metallic materials thereby impacting a wide spectrum of industries ranging from steel to automobiles and energy to the transportation sector.

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