In its effort to develop teraflop parallel super-computers with more than 1000 processors, BARC achieved a very significant milestone by commissioning a supercomputer with 128 processors, giving a computational speed of 360 Gigaflops on the high performance Linpack benchmark.
Five VSAT stations were added to ANUNET to speed up intra-departmental communication amongst DAE units at different locations.
A microarrayer was developed for arraying DNA samples in biotechnology.
Experimental work on superconductors progressed well at BARC. Ion trapping facility was set up at Trombay for carrying out studies on atomic ions by optical, microwave and other techniques. Experiments on fission delay measurements continued. Recovery of uranium-232 from irradiated Pa containing Zr, Ti and Nb by solvent extraction method accomplished. A novel extractant for actinides was synthesized and characterized. A high sensitive technique based on solid-state nuclear track detector was developed for the determination of plutonium at sub milli Baquerel level in bioassay samples.
Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), setup at Narayangaon near Pune, Maharashtra
Analytical chemistry services were provided by BARC inhouse, and to other DAE and non-DAE units. Laser induced fluorescence for detecting transient species in trace amounts in gas phase was developed. The phytochemical and biological evaluation of some medicinal plants was carried out. The national Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (CCCM) at Hyderabad continued to provide high quality analytical services to various users.
The Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT) is now a full fledged international observational facility for radioastronomy below 1.4 GHz. A number of national and international users carried out research in astronomy on this telescope. An international team of researchers while working on GMRT, discovered a “binary millisecond pulsar”. This is considered to be an epoch making discovery in the field of astronomy. The Gamma ray astronomy facility of BARC set up at Mount Abu (Rajasthan) has become operational.
The Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), an autonomous organisation of DAE, is a leading centre for treatment, research and education in cancer. TMC has set up the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) that became functional at Navi Mumbai.
For studying nuclear reaction induced by accelerated charged particles/ions, DAE organisations such as BARC, VECC, CAT, and others, are engaged in building various accelerators.
During the report period, phase-I of Superconducting LINAC Booster at Pelletron Heavy Ion Accelerator at TIFR became operational.
BARC also initiated design of 30 mA, 10 MeV Proton LINAC. Design of various critical units of the system progressed.
A 1.7 million-volt tandetron accelerator, with high current and heavy ion capability was installed at Kalpakkam and commissioned.
The Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility for carbon dating was made available at the Institute of Physics, Bhuwaneshwar, Orissa.
Synchrotron Radiation Source Indus-1 set up at CAT, Indore
Synchrotrons & their Utilization
In late eighties, accelerators related R&D in India got a boost with the setting up of a dedicated establishment. Of the two Synchrotron Radiation Sources (SRS) planned for setting up at CAT to be used as national research facility, the 450-MeV Indus-1 became operational in 1998.
The construction of a 2.5 GeV, Indus-2 made significant progress, with the work on the development of different subsystems and infrastructure facilities making head way. To supplement Indus-1 and Indus-2 programme, a grazing incidence x-ray reflectometer, set up on a 3kW x-ray generator, was developed.
Efforts continued to enlarge the Indus-1 storage ring user community. A variety of experiments were performed in the fields of condensed matter and atomic physics. Material characterisation studies were carried out at Trombay, using INDUS-I photophysics beam line.
Cyclotron & its Utilization
The Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) at Kolkata is a national centre for accelerator based research. The Variable Energy Cyclotron set up here, is used for research in nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, and produces radioisotopes for various applications.
The Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) facility at VECC has widened the range of heavy ions available for experiments. ECR-2 Ion Source was connected to cyclotron. It was in use for injecting high charge state heavy ion beams. The Centre is setting up a Superconducting Cyclotron and a Radioactive Ion Beam Facility.
The Superconducting Cyclotron made good progress during the report period. The cyclotron building was ready for occupation and starting the technical activities. The assembly work of the main magnet frame started. Winding of the a and b portions of the superconducting coil involving about 29 km of superconductor, was completed successfully.
VECC continued to work on setting up a Radioactive Ion Beam Facility for use in the study of astrophysical phenomena.
Thick targets of aluminium were successfully deposited by physical vapour deposition technique on 3 mm thick reticulated vitreous carbon foam targets.
Fusion & Other Plasma Technologies
SST-1, one of the world’s first Superconducting Steady State Tokamaks with elongated diverter plasmas and 1000 second operation capability, is getting ready at the Institute for Plasma Research, Ahemadabad. The Institute had earlier commissoned Tokamak Aditya.
At Trombay, material development and processes were carried out to make Ni-Ti-Fe shape memory alloy for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project.