September 24, 2011
Center for Nanosciences, Kochi
The Nanosolar division of the Amrita Center for Nanosciences continues to march ahead with cutting edge research that may provide the answer to the world’s quest for limitless supply of clean energy.
Harnessing solar power and storing it, so that it is available for use during night times and cloudy days is an important problem the center is now tackling.
Led by Dr. Shantikumar V. Nair, the division has a team of three leading scientists viz. Dr. K. R. V. Subramanian, Dr. Avinash Balakrishnan and Dr. Sivakumar. There are 10 students, 5 working on a doctoral thesis and another 5 doing their M Tech.
The students guided by the faculty are focused on the synthesis of low-cost, efficient capacitors and/or batteries that can store solar power generated in real time.
“We, at Amrita Nanosolar, are aiming to produce highly efficient DSSC and super-capacitors with very good storage capabilities,” shared Dr. Shantikumar.
The Nanosolar division is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India.
This July, doctoral student Ranjusha R. traveled to the University South Korea to work with Professors Pai Chai and Taik Nam Kim on several aspects of nanosolar technology.
Having just completed her three month stint in Korea, Ranjusha returned to Amrita to continue her work here.
She shared important details of the work undertaken in collaboration with the University of South Korea.
“We use MnO2 nanowires to make electrodes; these present an attractive option because of their high specific capacitances and low resistances. In Korea, with the guidance of expert professors, we prepared high aspect MnO2 nanowires. We will now continue with MnO2 nanowire synthesis, characterization and time dependent growth studies.”
Ranjusha will present her MnO2 nanowire synthesis work at an international conference in South Korea.
She described two additional projects she was involved with, while at South Korea.
“I worked with opal, an amorphous form of silica that has a large range of applications. Opal powders of four different chemical compositions were synthesized and characterized.”
“Further, I performed studies on chemical and mechanical surface treatment of zirconia to increase the bond strength between zirconia and porcelain.”
Amrita applauds her work and looks forward to its application in solving pressing problems of humanity today.