The Department of Chemistry is one of the first Departments to function after the Indian Institute of Technology Madras was founded in 1959. The Department began with one Professor and one lecturer as faculty members, to conduct classes for the undergraduate engineering programme of the Institute. The Department conducted its classes initially, in A. C. College of Technology, Madras University. Later, it moved to occupy the “Building Sciences Block” in 1961, the first-ever building raised in the Institute. The Department started its own and independent M. Sc programme in 1963 with three students. Later in 1968, foundation was laid for a new Chemistry building, which was completed in the year 1971.
Ever since, The Department has grown in multiple dimensions and today it has 34 faculty members, and 27 technical and administrative staff members. The Department is home to around 100 M. Sc students and 300 Ph. D students at any given time. A new wing was constructed in 2014 to meet additional space requirements due to its increased intake and to carry out the cutting edge research activities in all important areas in Chemistry, effectively. The Department is among the best in the country in both teaching and research and is well recognized throughout the world through many of its Alumni. The Alumni of this Department have been excelling in their chosen professions all over the world which is evident from the fact that a significant number of them have been awarded by IIT Madras as its Distinguished Alumni. Today, the Department stands tall in terms of quality research at the national and in the international platforms. Its outstanding and dedicated faculty and students are among its core strengths. The Department is highly successful in attracting some of the brightest young minds as faculty members. The areas of research include atmospheric chemistry, bio-inorganic chemistry, bio-organic chemistry, Boron chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry, clean energy, colloidal and interfacial chemistry, coordination chemistry, electrochemistry, fuel cells, green chemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, ionic liquids and phase equilibria, main group chemistry and inorganic polymers, materials chemistry, molecular spectroscopy, nano-porous materials, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging, photochemistry, polymer chemistry, quantum chemistry, solid state chemistry and inorganic materials, statistical mechanics, supramolecular chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, total synthesis of natural products and medicinal chemistry. Faculty members of the Department have excelled and are instrumental in the setting up of three different research centres, namely, Thematic Unit of Excellence (TUE) for nanoscience, National Centre for Catalysis Research (NCCR) and Centre for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (MRI). They are dynamic and attract excellent funding from both Government and Industry.
The Department is very proud that our faculty members not only practice basic science but also are involved in solving socially relevant scientific problems such as water purification methods using nano technology. The Department has always insisted on having state-of-the-art research facilities to carry out research at the cutting edge and houses currently the following: NMR spectrometers (both 400 and 500 MHz), AFM, ESR, Fluorimeters, UV-Visible spectrophotometers, FT-IR, MALDI, XRD, XPS, DSC, TGA, Calvet-type Calorimeter, CHN analyzer, ESI-Mass, TPD & TPR, Chemisorption Apparatus, GC-MS/MS, GC-FTIR, SEM, TEM and HR-QTOF mass spectrometer. Students are provided a comprehensive practical exposure at regular intervals to various instrumental techniques required for their research.
The Department has two academic programmes, a Master of Science in Chemistry and Ph. D. The selection of the students into the Master’s program is through a national level entrance examination called ‘JAM’, organized jointly by all the IITs in the country. The selection of students into the Ph. D programme is via a pre-qualification in one of the examinations, namely, GATE, CSIR-UGC/JRF and INSPIRE by Government of India, followed by an in-person interview. Details of these programs can be found in this website and also in the IITM website. Thank you for visiting this website. Your valuable suggestions are welcome.