The Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, founded at the Institute in November 1976 by Professor C. N. R. Rao, has provided a major thrust to frontier areas of Chemistry. Besides developing its own research and teaching programs, Unit members interact closely with other departments in the Institute. It also has collaborative projects with some of the best laboratories in the world and is recognized as a premier research center. The University Grants Commission has recognized the Unit as a Centre for Advanced Study in Solid State Chemistry. The Commission has also extended support to the Unit under its Science and Technology Infrastructure Improvement Program. The Department of Science and Technology has supported the Unit under FIST (both at Level I & II) and IRHPA programs.

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The Unit Faculty members publish a large number of publications (in excess of 150/year) in leading national and international journals. The total average h-index (as per ISI Web of Science) of the Unit is about 27.