Qualification: 
Ph.D, MSc
Email: 
zeenaspillai@am.amrita.edu

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai came to Amrita in 2009 with several years of teaching and international research experience.

She obtained her M. Sc. from Mahatma Gandhi University in 1996, then received her Ph. D. in Photochemistry at the Photonics and Photosciences division, NIIST, Thirivanathapuram (University of Kerala) in 2002.

In 2001, she was awarded a post-doctoral research scholarship from Radiation Lab at the University of Notre Dame, USA, where she worked until the end of 2003. She moved to Florida State University, USA as a post-doctoral Research Scientist until 2005. She returned to India as faculty in Chemistry in R. V. Engineering College, Bangalore in 2006.

She has been recognized for her research through numerous national fellowships, including a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Senior Research Fellowship from 1999 to 2001, a CSIR Junior Research Fellowship from 1997 to 1999 and a CSIR Research Fellowship through the CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test (NET) in 1997.

Dr. Zeena ’s areas of interests include syntheses and photophysical studies of conformationally switchable molecular systems, metal nanoparticles and quantum dots. She has 11 publications in international journals to her credit and has presented at several international conferences.

Ongoing Research

  •  Photo-physical and photo-chemical properties of Supramolecular systems- dendrimers, hostguest systems; Fluorescent Sensors; Nanomaterials, Bioactive natural products.

Talks Delivered

  1. Resource person for Second National Seminar on Recent Advances in Photochemistry (NSPC 2015) from 3rd and 4th December 2015 organised by the Department of Chemistry, St. Michael’s College, Cherthala, in collaboration with Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Research Centre (NAMRC), C.M.S.College, Kottayam.  Title of the talk was "Chemistry of Dendrimers."
  2. Delivered a talk on Nanochemistry on the auspices of the inauguration of Chemistry forum of the Department of Chemistry, St. Michaels college Cherthala on August 20, 2015
  3. Resource person for the Faculty Development Programme on "Nanotechnology Applications in Engineering" organised by Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering (08.07.2015 to 14.07.2015.) 
  4. Resource person at International Workshop on Molecular Catalysis and Fine Chemicals 2015 and The Global Human Resource Program Bridging across Physics and Chemistry” held in Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan from 29th to 30th of January 2015.
  5. Talk on Dendrimer-As Ligands for lanthanides‘ delivered at National Conference CTRIC-2014 at Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala on January 18, 2014.
  6. Talk on Novel Derivatives of 2, 5-dihydroxy-3- undecyl-1, 4-benzoquinone at National Conference sponsored by DST & BRNS at Kongu Engineering College, Erode from 20-21st July 2012.
  7. Delivered a talk on "Introduction to Virtual Labs" as part of National Weekly discussions through A-VIEW envisaged by MHRD under NME-ICT mission on March 14, 2012.
  8. Resource person for  National Seminar on Recent Advances in Materials Science (RAMS-2011) at Don Bosco Institute of Technology on October 21-2011, Title of the talk was "Molecular Switches and Sensors"

Membership in Professional Bodies

  1. Member of Japanese Photochemistry Association
  2. Referee of International Journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer

Publications

Publication Type: Conference Proceedings

Year of Publication Publication Type Title

2017

Conference Proceedings

V. K. K, R, A., M., A. J., R, D. Mohan, Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, and Prof. M. Padmanabhan, “Metal-Cluster MOF Materials from Metalogels and their Versatile Functional Properties”, CTriC 2017. Cochin University of Science & Technology, Kochi, 2017.

2017

Conference Proceedings

A. Andrews, K, V. K., P, A. R., Sudha, J., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, and Prof. M. Padmanabhan, “Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Nanomaterials with Unique Functional Properties”, International Conference on Nanostructured Materials and Nanocomposites (ICNM 2017) . Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, 2017.

2016

Conference Proceedings

A. R, K, V. K., R, D. Mohan, Alex, A. P., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, and Prof. M. Padmanabhan, “Novel hetero-metal cluster MOFs through ‘metallogel’ route”, National Conference on Materials Science and Technology. IIST, ISRO, Trivandrum., 2016.

2016

Conference Proceedings

A. J. M. Nair, R, D. Mohan, K., V. K., Alex, A. P., Arjun, R. C. Nath U., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, and Prof. M. Padmanabhan, “Synthesis, crystal structure, spectral and super-paramagnetic properties of a novel Gd(S=7/2) - Cu(S=1/2) MOF formed in situ by a facile ‘metallogel’ route”, National Conference on Materials Science and Technology. IIST, ISRO, Trivandrum, 2016.

2016

Conference Proceedings

H. D. V., K, V. K., Alex, A. P., M, G. T., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Reddy, M. L. P., and Prof. M. Padmanabhan, “Visible and NIR light emitting novel Nd-pyranine coordination polymer- synthesis, crystal structure, packing features and fluorescence properties ”, National Conference on Materials Science and Technology. IIST, ISRO, Trivandrum, 2016.

2016

Conference Proceedings

D. Mohan R, K, V. K., Andrews, A. P., K, A., Arjun, U., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Nath, R. C., and Prof. M. Padmanabhan, “Structurally diverse and magnetically active new crystalline metal organic framework (MOF) materials from 'metallogels'”, The Second International Conference on Materials Science and Technology (ICMST2016). St. Thomas College, Palai, Kerala , 2016.

Publication Type: Conference Paper

Year of Publication Publication Type Title

2017

Conference Paper

Prof. M. Padmanabhan, Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, R.P, A., K.K, V., P, A., ,, and T, G., “Novel Photo Luminescent MOF Materials”, in 5th National Conference on Advanced Functional Materials and Applications (NCAFMA-2017), Kalasalingam University, Tamil Nadu , 2017.

2016

Conference Paper

Prof. M. Padmanabhan, K., V. K., Andrews, A. P., and Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, “Novel light-emitting and magnetically active ‘metallogels’ exhibiting unprecedented solvent encapsulation properties”, in International Conference on Materials Science and Technology, 2016.

2016

Conference Paper

Prof. M. Padmanabhan, K., V. K., Alex, A. P., and Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, “Tuning of of pyranine (HPTS) by lanthanides - synthesis, crystal structure and emission properties of of pyranine (HPTS) by lanthanides - synthesis, crystal structure and emission”, in International Conference on Materials Science and Technology, 2016.

2016

Conference Paper

Prof. M. Padmanabhan, R., D. Mohan, K., V. K., Andrews, A. P., and Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, “Structurally diverse and magnetically active new crystalline metal organic framework (MOF) materials from ‘metallogels”, in International Conference on Materials Science and Technology, 2016.

2015

Conference Paper

Prof. M. Padmanabhan, K, V. K., Sudha, J. D., and Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, “Role of functional ‘arms’ in the formation of fluorescent rare-earth based metal-organic framework gels (MOFGs), ”, in National Conference on Materials Science and Technology, Trivandrum, 2015.

2015

Conference Paper

Prof. M. Padmanabhan, K, V. K., Sudha, J. D., and Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, “A Lanthanide based photoluminescent metal-organic coordination polymer gels”, in National Conference on Materials Science and Technology, Trivandrum, 2015.

2011

Conference Paper

Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, Sreelatha, K. S., Surendran, S., Dr. Shyam Diwakar, Prof. Nedungadi, P., Humphreys, S., Dr. Sreekala C. O., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Raghu Raman, Deepthi, A., Gangadharan, R., Dr. Saritha A., Ranganatha, J., Sambhudevan, S., and Mahesh, S., “The VALUE @ Amrita Virtual Labs Project: Using Web Technology to Provide Virtual Laboratory Access to Students”, in Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), 2011 IEEE, 2011, pp. 117-121.[Abstract]


In response to the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) Initiative, the Virtual and Accessible Laboratories Universalizing Education (VALUE @ Amrita) Virtual Labs Project was initiated to provide laboratory-learning experiences to college and university students across India who may not have access to adequate laboratory facilities or equipment. These virtual laboratories require only a broadband Internet connection and standard web browser. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University is part of a consortium of twelve institutions building over two hundred virtual labs covering nine key disciplines in science and engineering. This National Mission project hopes to reach out to India's millions of engineering and science students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Virtual Labs Project is providing virtual laboratory experiments that directly support the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) model curricula for engineering and sciences undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

More »»
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Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Publication Type Title

2015

Journal Article

J. K. Molloy, Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Sakamoto, J., Ceroni, P., and Bergamini, G., “Lanthanide Terpyridine-Based Assemblies: Towards Dual Luminescent Probes”, Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol. 4, pp. 251–255, 2015.

2013

Journal Article

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Ceroni, Pb, Kubeil, Mc, Heldt, J. - Mc, Stephan, Hc, and Bergamini, Gbd, “Dendrimers as Nd3+ ligands: Effect of generation on the efficiency of the sensitized lanthanide emission”, Chemistry - An Asian Journal, vol. 8, pp. 771-777, 2013.[Abstract]


We have designed two novel dendrimers with cyclam cores with appended poly(amido amine) (PAMAM) dendrons, decorated at the periphery with four and eight dansyl chromophores, respectively. The photophysical properties of the dendrimers and their Nd3+ complexes have been investigated. The energy-transfer efficiency to the lanthanide ions from these dendrimers has been studied as a function of the generation. It has been observed that an increase in the dendrimer generation as well as the number of amide units enhances the energy transfer to the lanthanide ion. Shine on: Two novel cyclam-core-based dendrimers with appended poly(amido amine) (PAMAM) dendrons, decorated at the periphery with four and eight dansyl chromophores, respectively, have been synthesized and characterized. Upon titration with Nd3+ it has been observed that an increase in the dendrimer generation as well as the number of amide units enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer to the lanthanide ion. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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2008

Journal Article

J. Saltiel, Dmitrenko, O., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Klima, R., Wang, S., Wharton, J. T., Huang, Z. - N., de Burgt, van, and Arranz, J., “Triplet and Ground State Potential Energy Surfaces of 1,4-Diphenyl-1,3-butadiene: Theory and Experiment”, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2008.[Abstract]


Relative energies of the ground state isomers of 1,4-diphenyl-1,3-butadiene (DPB) are determined from the temperature dependence of equilibrium isomer compositions obtained with the use of diphenyl diselenide as catalyst. Temperature and concentration effects on photostationary states and isomerization quantum yields with biacetyl or fluorenone as triplet sensitizers with or without the presence of O2, lead to significant modification of the proposed DPB triplet potential energy surface. Quantum yields for ct-DPB formation from tt-DPB increase with [tt-DPB] revealing a quantum chain process in the tt → ct direction, as had been observed for the ct → tt direction, and suggesting an energy minimum at the 3ct* geometry. They confirm the presence of planar and twisted isomeric triplets in equilibrium (K), with energy transfer from planar or quasi-planar geometries (quantum chain events from tt and ct triplets) and unimolecular decay (kd) from twisted geometries. Starting from cc-DPB, ϕcctt increases with increasing [cc-DPB] whereas ϕccct is relatively insensitive to concentration changes. The concentration and temperature dependencies of the decay rate constants of DPB triplets incyclohexane are consistent with the mechanism deduced from the photoisomerization quantum yields. The experimental ΔH between 3tt-DPB* and 3tp-DPB*, 2.7 kcal mol−1, is compared with the calculated energy difference [DFT with B3LYP/6-31+G(d,p) basis set]. Use of the calculated ΔS = 4.04 eu between the two triplets gives kd = (2.4–6.4) × 107 s−1, close to 1.70 × 107 s−1, the value for twisted stilbene triplet decay. Experimental and calculated relative energies of DPB isomers on the ground and triplet state surfaces agree and theory is relied upon to deduce structural characteristics of the equilibrated conformers in the DPB triplet state.

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2005

Journal Article

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai and Kamat, P. V., “Spectroelectrochemistry of aromatic amine oxidation: an insight into the indo dye formation”, Res Chem Intermediat , vol. Volume 31, no. Issue 1, 2005.[Abstract]


Mechanistic details of formation of two indo dyes have been investigated using spectroelectrochemistry. These dyes absorb strongly in the visible region and are formed when a primary amine such as p-phenylene diamine (PPD) is initiated electrochemically to form the radical cation. The PPD radical cation quickly couples with another coexisting aromatic amine, viz., m-phenylene diamine (MPD) or p-amino-o-cresol (PAOC) to yield bright colored indo-amine or indo-cresol dyes. Unlike the conventional chemical oxidation methods, the electrochemical oxidation provides selectivity in oxidizing the desired aromatic amine (viz., PPD) and allows us to probe the pathways with which the bright colored dye is formed. Spectroelectrochemical studies that elucidate the indo dye formation and its dependence on the concentration of the color coupler are described. These in situ studies probe the reactivity of aromatic amines in self-coupling and cross-coupling reactions. The electrochemical approach described in this study has also enabled us to synthesize pure form of these dyes.

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2004

Journal Article

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai and Kamat, P. V., “What Factors Control the Size and Shape of Silver Nanoparticles in the Citrate Ion Reduction Method?”, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, vol. 108, pp. 945-951, 2004.[Abstract]


Citrate ion, a commonly used reductant in metal colloid synthesis, undergoes strong surface interaction with silver nanocrystallites. The slow crystal growth observed as a result of the interaction between the silver surface and the citrate ion makes this reduction process unique compared to other chemical and radiolytic synthetic methods. Addition of citrate ions to preformed silver colloids (Ag-capped SiO2) results in the complexation of citrate with silver colloids. The difference absorption spectra of SiO2−Ag colloids in the presence of citrate ions show an increase in the absorption at 410 nm with increase in concentration of citrate. The apparent association constant as determined from these absorption changes is 220 M-1. Pulse-radiolysis studies show that citrate ions complex with the silver seeds and influence the particle growth. For example, one of the primary intermediates, Ag2+ produced in the radiolytic reduction of silver ions, readily interacts with citrate to form a complex absorbing in the 410-nm region. The complex, [Ag2+−citrate], undergoes slower transformations compared to uncomplexed Ag2+. This slow transformation of the citrate complex eventually leads to the formation of larger clusters of silver. Steady-state and pulse-radiolysis experiments provide evidence for the multiple roles of citrate ions as a reductant, complexant, and stabilizer that collectively dictate the size and shape of silver nanocrystallites.

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2003

Journal Article

S. N. Sharma, Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, and Kamat, P. V., “Photoinduced Charge Transfer Between CdSe Nanocrystals and p-Phenylene diamine”, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, vol. 107, no. 37, pp. 10088–10093, 2003.[Abstract]


The excited state interaction between CdSe nanocrystals and a hole acceptor, p-phenylenediamine (PPD), is probed using emission and transient absorption spectroscopies. The changes in the photophysical properties of CdSe nanocrystals arising from the interaction with PPD are compared with an aliphatic amine, n-butylamine (n-BA). At low concentrations (<0.5 mM) n-butylamine enhances the emission of CdSe quantum dots whereas PPD effectively quenches the emission at similar concentrations. The low oxidation potential of PPD (E° = 0.26 V vs NHE) enables it to act as an effective scavenger for photogenerated holes. A surface bound complexation equilibrium model has been proposed to explain the quenching phenomenon. The transient absorption measurements confirm the formation of PPD cation radical and subsequent formation of coupling product. Formation of such charged species at the surface extends the bleaching recovery over several microseconds.

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2003

Journal Article

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, Sudeep, P. K., and K. Thomas, G., “Effect of viscosity on the singlet-excited state dynamics of some hemicyanine dyes”, Research on Chemical Intermediates, vol. 29, pp. 293–305, 2003.[Abstract]


Photophysical properties of hemicyanine dyes (1 - 3) were investigated in solvents of varying polarity and viscosity. Hemicyanines possess relatively low fluorescence quantum yields (≤1{%}) in polar solvents. A significant increase in fluorescence quantum yield and lifetimes was observed with increase in viscosity of the solvent medium. The radiative, as well as nonradiative decay channels from the singlet-excited state were investigated by varying the viscosity of the medium. The viscosity-dependent radiationless relaxation observed in hemicyanine dyes is suggestive of a restricted rotor motion in the singlet excited state.

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2001

Journal Article

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai and K. Thomas, G., “Conformational Switching and Exciton Interactions in Hemicyanine-Based Bichromophores”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 123, pp. 7859-7865, 2001.[Abstract]


Conformational changes in two hemicyanine-based bichromophores were demonstrated by varying the polarity as well as temperature of the medium. Dramatic changes in the ground and excited singlet state properties were observed upon folding of the bichromophores, due to the formation of intramolecular aggregates of H-type. These aspects were studied, in detail, using steady-state absorption and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. Time-resolved fluorescence studies indicate that both the bichromophores exhibit a monoexponential decay, with a short lifetime, in mixed toluene−CH2Cl2 solvents having lower proportions of toluene. Interestingly, biexponential decay with short and long-lived species was observed at higher proportions of toluene, due to the presence of unfolded and folded forms. Folding results in the intramolecular stacking of the chromophores which restrict their torsional dynamics, leading to a longer lifetime. Upon laser excitation, the folded form of the bichromophore undergoes rapid conformational changes, due to photoinduced thermal dissociation.

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1997

Journal Article

V. Nair, Mathew, J., Kanakamma, P. P., Panicker, S. B., Sheeba, V., Dr. Zeena S. Pillai, and Eigendorf, G. K., “Novel Cerium(IV) ammonium nitrate induced dimerization of methoxystyrenes”, Tetrahedron Letters, vol. 38, pp. 2191 - 2194, 1997.[Abstract]


Methoxystyrenes undergo facile dimerization when treated with Cerium (IV) ammonium nitrate in methanol; cyclized products are obtained in acetonitrile. More »»

Publication Type: Book Chapter

Year of Publication Publication Type Title

2012

Book Chapter

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai and Joy, B., “Embelin: A Lead Molecule for the Future”, in Bioactive Phytochemicals: Perspectives for Modern Medicine , vol. 2, New Delhi: Daya Publication House, 2012, pp. 531-545 .

2012

Book Chapter

Dr. Zeena S. Pillai and Joy, B., “Chemoprofiling and Antioxidant Activity Studies of Shilajit – A Herbal Composition”, in Utilisation and management of Medicinal Plants, vol. 2, New Delhi: Daya Publication House, 2012, pp. 273-287.

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