First Phase – 34.79 Crores in March 2005
Second Phase – 57 Crores in June 2011
Third Phase – 113 Crores in February 2017

ACRHEM (Advanced Centre for Research in High Energy Materials) supported by DRDO (Defense Research Development Organization) Ministry of Defense, Government of India was established in the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on 9th March 2005. It was set up with a vision of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to involve fundamental researchers in addressing the challenges of scientific endeavors of DRDO. This was the first Centre of its kind by the DRDO in an Academic Institution. In the past decade, the Centre was supported under two phases with a compounded outlay of over Rs. 90 crores.

A special committee constituted by DRDO HQs reviewed research work done under Phase-II, in which four areas of research were targeted viz.,
(i) Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Modeling
(ii) Synthesis of High Energy Materials
(iii) Application of LASER Technologies for High Energy materials, and
(iv) Fuel Air Explosion and Detonation modeling and its Extension.

On successful completion of the identified 32 projects under Phase II, the DRDO HQs directed the center to put up proposal for Phase-III.
The projects proposed in Phase-III were finalized through a series of discussions that involved various DRDO Labs, like HEMRL, TBRL, LASTEC, CHESS, NSTL, CEEFS, DMRL and LIC. An expert committee recommended the proposals under phase III with 30 specific projects — 22 chemistry and 8 physics projects — with a budget outlay of Rs. 113 crores for the next five years. The Honorable Union Defense Minister, Government of India, approved the proposal and the DRDO released sanction letter to UoH.

Research focus of the Center aims at gaining deeper insights into the development of new explosive molecules, explosion processes and explosives detection techniques. The Center has become a hub of interdisciplinary research efforts to understand theoretical as well as experimental aspects in the areas of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics, Photonics and Electronics instrumentation involved in high energy materials.

In the 12 years of existence, the Center has established world-class research infrastructure in ~40, 000 sq. ft. housing state of the art laboratories of Chemistry, Physics, and Materials Science. About 15 highly qualified faculty members are actively engaged in research on High Energy Materials. The Center has five physics and one chemistry faculty on full time basis. The remaining are Associate Faculty from the Schools of Chemistry, Physics, Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering Science and Technology. The facilities set up at the Center complement existing infrastructure in the Schools of Physics and Chemistry. Soon the UoH will become the first public-funded University to house a 500 MHz NMR as a joint facility between the Center and the School of Chemistry.

The Center has an independent building in the South campus of UoH and is attached to the School of Physics for administrative purposes. A few of the major scientific achievements of the center are:

1) Quantum computation based chemical design of about 200 potential new high energy molecules and their performance estimation
2) Synthesis and characterization of a large number of new high energy molecules
3) Synthesis and characterization of new thermally stable high energy molecules
4) Development of aluminum nanomaterials and other metal oxides; porphyrins based explosive sensor materials
5) Development of HTPB based binder materials with energetic functional groups attached for increasing the propellant burn rates
6) Demonstration of trace explosives detection (laboratory scale) adopting ultra short pulsed lasers using the techniques of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), Terahertz (THz), Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS), Radio-frequency Emission based (RF) and Photo-Acoustic Spectroscopy (PAS)
7) Theoretical studies on solid state properties of new primary, secondary explosives and oxidiser materials
8) Terahertz time-domain spectroscopic studies of energetic molecules
9) Mathematical/Statistical Modeling of Fuel Air Explosion studies
10) Laser-Matter Interaction studies both in air and under water.

Some of the achievements by the faculty and research students:

• Publications in peer-reviewed Journals: ~ 500; cited >3500 times
• Total Number of PhD’s awarded/submitted: 29 (30 more are being trained)

Some of the Awards received by faculty and students:

• Two Chancellor Awards for outstanding academic performance of the faculty
• NASI-SCOPUS Scopus young scientist award
• B.M. Birla Science Prize
• DAE young achiever award
• OSA, SPIE, IEEE Senior Memberships

We are glad that the DRDO has recognized the potential of the Center at UoH by acknowledging the expertise generated and facilities created by it over and above the research infrastructure of UoH in the first two phases. It approved all the 30 projects under phase III. The Center feels the responsibility to come up to the expectation of DRDO and is committed to realising all the deliverables in each of the projects to the satisfaction of the concerned DRDO Laboratories. We will work closely with identified DRDO labs, and undertake projects with regular reviews and monitoring. It is a challenging task for the UoH to have heavy focus on applied research but the core and associate faculty members feel that it is possible to realize the set goals. It is a matter of pride and prestige for University of Hyderabad that the DRDO continues its support to strengthen and join hands with the UoH in the nation building.

We welcome you to visit the Center in the South campus, and our website. Please feel free to contact the Director for further information.