Lalitpur, March 28, 2019: Nepal’s first working nanophotonic chip has been successfully been developed by Nepali researchers. The chip is completely simulated, designed and tested by Nepal’s scientists and fabricated (the chemical etching of designed pattern on silicon wafers) in the UK. Information about this was shared at a press meet organized here today jointly by the PRI and Nepal Research Alliance.
The credit for this achievement goes to researchers from Phutung Research Institute (PRI). As said by the PRI, this chip was developed as part of their research project which aims to develop a low cost, point-of-care system smaller than a pen nib with all necessary optical elements integrated into it. Such a system will eventually allow clinicians to perform spectral and imaging characterization of the sub-surface of biological specimens (like a CT-scan) without a need for a biopsy.
According to PRI chief scientist Dr. Asim Dhakal, although the potential applications of the system-on-a-chip are far wider, they intend to use the technology to image the narrow airways of the deep lung for improved diagnosis and progress monitoring of different lung diseases, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-the number one killer in Nepal.
He described the achievement as a landmark one as the cutting-edge nanotechnology requires the development of extensive expertise and infrastructure in Nepal from scratch. The findings would help to prove that Nepali scientists could gain such landmark achievement at home, he added.
Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel who was also present on the occasion said the government planned to bring a new policy to further promote the sector related to science and technology. “Though Nepal has abundant potentialities for technology, development in this regard at an accelerated pace has not been possible yet.”
Social activist Mahabir Pun said that Nepal’s scientists were finding it difficult to realize their visions and goals for want of encouraging atmosphere.