Research at AFML

 

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Overview of Research at AFML      

 

AFML focuses on highly interdisciplinary research encompassing the design and synthesis of nanoscale functional materials, elucidation of

the fundamental magnetic, electronic, optical and other physical properties of these materials, and the development of processes that lead

to multifunctional objects for specific applications. We use the 'bottom-up'paradigm of nanotechnology as the underlying approach in the

interlinked research at AFML. The current research topics are:

 

Photovoltaics

 

Hybrid Perovskite Solar Cells

 

Our focus is to employ halide perovskite nanocrystals in solar cell devices to impart ambient stability to the devices without compromising

their photoconversion efficiencies. Trap state filling, improving the visible light absorption and plasmonic enhancement are few avenues by

which the proposed goals are achieved. The charge carrier dynamics at the interfaces of perovskite absorber with the electron and hole

transporting layers are understood by femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy.

 

[Collaborators: Prof. P. K. Datta (IIT Kharagpur), Dr. J. Jayabalan (RRCAT Indore), Dr. Govind (NPL, New Delhi)]  

 

Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells (QDSSCs)

 

Herein our research involves various photoanode strategies such as QD lattice doping, core-shell architectures, surface

passivation to improve the photoconversion efficiencies and ambient stability of the QDSSCs. We also design the counter electrodes by

employing electrocatalytically active materials. The light absorption can also be increased by introducing photoactive counter electrodes.

 

Electrocatalysis, Photoelectrocatalysis and Photocatalysis

 

a) Catalyst design for electrochemical water splitting (Oxygen and Hydrogen Evolution Reactions; OER and HER)

 

The idea is to develop durable electrocatalysts with high turnover frequency and mass activity; that operate at minimal overpotentials and

show pH universality. Our catalyst design is based on the metal alloys, oxides, nitrides, sulfides & phosphides of earth-abundant elements.

 

[Collaborator: Dr. Sudip Chakraborty (IIT Indore)]

 

b) Fabrication of Zn-air batteries by suitable design of bifunctional catalysts for oxygen evolution and reduction reactions

 

Zn-air batteries has a relatively high specific energy density of 1218 Whkg-1 and volumetric energy density of 6136 Wh/L, besides the

reliable aqueus chemistry of Zn at all pH which decreases the cost of device fabrication and operation as well as makes the device safe to

handle. However, the low power density is mainly attributed to the sluggish O2 electrolysis which engages the redox reactions in

multi-electron pathways. Our research is devoted in developing oxygen electrocatalysts to drive OER during charging and oxygen reduction

reaction (ORR) during discharge. The bifunctional catalysts are based on perovskite oxide and metal alloy nanostructures.

 

c) Electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction

 

Although nascent our activities in this area involve the selective conversion of atmospheric CO2 into small organic molecules with

improved energy density such as formic acid, methanol, methane and carbon monoxide etc. by inorganic catalysts namely metal alloys,

transition metal oxides & chalcogenides.

 

d) Water purification by organic dye degradation with halide perovskite nanocrystal photocatalysts

 

Metal halide perovskite nanocrystals are known to possess high absorption coefficient, compositional versatility, point-defect tolerance,

direct generation of charge carriers and ambipolar charge carrier transport, which ensures potentially outstanding photocatalytic

properties. However their limited ambient stability prevents them from real-life applications. The challenge lies in employing the iodide

perovskite nanocrystals for photocatalytic reactions such as organic dye degradation in aqueous medium.

 

Drug Delivery Nanocarriers and Biological Applications

 

This collaborative research area involves the development of nanocarriers for controlled and targeted anti-cancer therapy. Special focus is

to impart unconventionality in terms of the materials employed and the mode of cancer cell destruction.

 

[Collaborator: Prof. Keka Sarkar (University of Kalyani)]

 

Magnetism and Magneto-transport

 

Intially a prime area but now allied, our focus is to understand the low temperature complex magnetic ordering, exchange

bias coupling, unconventional ferromagnetism, low-field and colossal magnetoresistance of metal oxide nanostructures and manganite

nanomaterials of the composition Ln1-xAxMnO3 (Ln = La, Pr; A = Ca, Sr, Ce, x = 0-0.5).

 

[Collaborator: Dr. Hemant G. Salunke (BARC Mumbai)]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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