The Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit was founded in November, 1976 by Bharat Ratna Professor C. N. R. Rao. The Unit has provided major thrust to diverse frontier areas of Chemistry and Inter-disciplinary research areas at the intersection of Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research programmes form a significant part of the Unit’s research activities. The Unit is a premier research center of global repute in the areas of Solid State, Materials, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry with research problems ranging basic to applied translational research (for research topics please refer to: http://sscu.iisc.ac.in/unit-research/). Apart from delivering high quality research in the above focus areas, SSCU has a prolific and unmatched publication record contributing to nearly 15% of the total Institute publications over the period 1976 till date. The H-index of the SSCU is presently 130. Brief overview of Unit’s research areas is provided here. Detailed research activities of individual faculties can be obtained here.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recognized the Unit as a Centre for Advanced Study (CAS) in Solid State Chemistry. The Commission has also extended support to the Unit under its Science and Technology Infrastructure Improvement Programme. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has supported the Unit under its programme of Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas (IRHPA). The unit has also been supported by DST under its FIST programme. Additionally, the Unit faculties have substantial research grants from various National funding organizations (viz. DST, DST-SERB, DST-Nano Mission, DST-SERI, CSIR, ISRO, DRDO, private industries, eminent international organizations) for setting up high quality research infrastructure relevant to their research. In recent times, several Unit faculty members have been able to attract large research funding via Consortia Projects focusing on setting up of world class infrastructure and contemporary research areas of National importance. The Unit is highly equipped with state of the common laboratory instruments, spectrometers (including ultrafast femtosecond spectrometers), instruments for energy research, X-ray diffractometers, diverse materials synthesis tools and facilities. Besides this, the Unit faculty members have access to top of the line synchrotron and neutron facilities in Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, UK and USA. Some of these offshore facilities have been jointly developed and managed by active Unit faculty members.
Besides developing its own research, the Unit members interact closely with other departments of the Institute, various research groups at National Institutes/Universities/Organizations within India and abroad. The Unit has continuing collaborative projects with some of the best laboratories in many foreign countries, including USA, UK, countries of the European Union (France, Germany, Italy, Sweden), Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
The Unit admits students for research leading to the Ph.D. degree. Minimum qualification for admission to the Ph.D. programme is a M Sc or equivalent degree in Chemical Sciences/ Physical Sciences/Materials Science or Graduates of 4-year Bachelor of Science programmes with at least a second class or equivalent grade. For those with a M.Sc. degree in Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics must have been a part of their undergraduate curriculum. The selection of students for the Regular Ph.D. program is through successful qualification in NET/GATE/Inspire fellowships and interviews (conducted twice a year). Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Science through the Chemical Sciences Division’s Integrated Ph.D. programme are also encouraged to join the Unit for the Ph.D. Program. During their tenure at SSCU, the Unit highly encourages participation of students in various academic activities including participation and presentation of their research work at top International and National conferences/workshops.
The Unit also provides opportunities for post-doctoral research via the Institute Program, sponsored projects or National fellowships such as DST-SERB-NPDF, UGC-DSK. Teachers from Colleges/Universities are also welcome to apply to funding schemes approved by National Funding organization for conducting collaborative research with Unit faculty members.
The total strength of the student/post-doc/project staff community in SSCU is presently 130 and the number of Ph.D. theses submitted are 12-14 per year.
Besides participation in the SSCU administered teaching courses, which typically is 10-12 per year, the unit faculty actively participate in various Chemical Sciences Division Courses. The Unit organizes seminars by invited speakers (from India and abroad) and by members of the Institute faculty. Special lectures, seminars and workshops constitute an important activity of the Unit. The Unit also conducts intensive short courses spanning one or two days on specialized topics or techniques. The Unit has been convening several national and international workshops in frontier areas of Solid State, Materials, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry.