What are the advantages IITM offers in terms of experimental equipment?

IIT Madras has consistently held NIRF rank 1 for five years, and its experimental facilities are a testament to why. IITM’s research facilities span various research areas including cryo-electron microscopy, scanning-electron microscopy, spectroscopy, crystallography, and imaging.

IITM houses state-of-the art experimental equipment. Let’s explore some of them:

  • Atom Probe Tomography:
    Atom probe tomography (APT) has unique advantages, including atomic resolution, 3D mapping of each atom’s position in the sample, and chemical sensitivity down to atomic parts per million. The National Facility for Atom Probe Tomography (NFAPT) at IIT Madras houses the state of APT, the latest cutting edge technology “Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP 5000 XR)” along with “Helios Dual Beam Scanning Electron Microscope with Focussed Ion Beam (FIB)” for LEAP sample preparation. It is the first remotely operable LEAP facility in the world. Any researcher in India is welcome to use the facility by contacting the coordinator of the specific zone he/she belongs to, with a one-page proposal that brings out the need for using the facility for his/her research. Once the proposal is approved, a slot will be provided for the use of the facility.

  • High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (HRTEM):
    HRTEM is an instrument for high-magnification studies of nanomaterials. The high resolution makes it perfect for imaging materials on the atomic scale. A main advantage of a TEM over other microscopes is that it can simultaneously give information in real space (in the imaging mode) and reciprocal space (in the diffraction mode). The instrument can operate in Bright-Field, Dark-Field, High-resolution, SAED and CBED modes. TEM is coupled with a Gatan digital camera for digital image processing. The instrument can go up to a maximum magnification of 1.5 million. It has an ACD (anti-contamination device) working with liquid nitrogen, which helps the filament from contamination caused by volatile samples.

  • Cryo-electron Microscope:
    SERB National cryo-EM facility at IIT Madras houses a Titan KRIOS G4 a 300keV top-of-the-line cryo-electron microscope equipped with a fast camera/direct electron detector falcon4 and Talos F200i a 200keV cryo-electron microscope. The SERB cryo-EM facility supports the comprehensive development of students and researchers. They offer training and teaching for undergraduate and graduate students and orientation on using cryo-EM in basic and applied research. They also provide extensive training for researchers and faculty to expand their research capabilities. Their state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy suite allows the scientific community to analyze various samples (in Life Science, Material Science, Environmental Science, etc.) at high resolution, helping to uncover new scientific insights and answer atomic-level questions.