The second edition of SCICON, International Conference on Advanced Materials, was held at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, from December 15-17, 2019. It provided a platform for scientists and researchers all around the globe to communicate their ideas and share their research in the field of material science with the public. The inaugural ceremony was carried out with Prof. Amlan J. Pal (Senior Professor, Indian Academy for the Cultivation of Science) and Prof. Mohan Srinivasarao (Professor, Materials and Science Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology), Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, SCICON 2019, releasing and receiving the abstracts respectively.

The three-day conference saw eminent researchers from countries like Canada, USA, Thailand, France, Italy, UAE, Bangladesh, South Korea, Hungary, Singapore, and several parts of India congregate to share their expertise in areas such as biomaterials, electronic and magnetic materials, as well as high energy materials. With 12 plenary lectures and 34 invited talks that included parallel sessions on Basic Sciences, Materials for Energy Applications, Computational Materials, Electronic and Magnetic Materials, Biomaterials and Nanomaterials, the conference was a hub for an intensely diverse approach to science and technology. The pantheon of speakers discussed topics of contemporary research interest, with the majority emphasizing a sustainable approach to science and technology and the development of novel materials for applications in the same, which was in line with the conference theme ‘Materials for Better Living’.

Key Highlights of the Talks

  • Dr. Kalai Selvi, Director, CECRI, Karaikudi
    The potential applications and scope of lithium batteries as potent energy sources in the future was exhaustively discussed.
     
  • Prof. Gour Prasad Das, Visiting Professor, Dept. of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Kharagpur
    The lecture brought into light the rise in the usage of 2D materials for energy storage.
     
  • Prof. Shanthi Nair, Dean of Research, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
    The talk on the use of engineered nanoscale materials for high energy and high capacity battery applications opened the eyes of the crowd to a pathway for achieving high power density without compromising on energy. 
     
  • Dr. K. Krishnamoorthy, Scientist, NCL-Pune
    This talk highlighted the potential of paper and silk cocoons as flexible energy storage devices.
     
  • Dr. G. Pathanjali, Managing Director, High Energy Batteries Ltd., Tiruchirappalli
    The application of Hi-Tech batteries for military purposes was discussed. Also, he portrayed the unending requirement for batteries and battery materials. 
     
  • Dr. Krishnan Venkatakrishnan, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Canada
    A new generation bio-compatible pathway for cancer diagnosis, analytical bio-sensing and therapy were presented in this lecture. 
     
  • Dr. Bo Tan, Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Ryerson University, Canada
    The presentation on Quantum Dots for SERS Biosensing paid attention to the use of non-toxic quantum dots synthesized on zinc oxide, silicon and graphite using a femtosecond laser for chemical analyses of live and cancerous cells. 
     
  • Dr. Rosmin Elsa Mohan, Research Fellow, University of Singapore
    She discussed a non-interferometric quantitative phase imaging approach using the transport of intensity equation. Capturing of data and post-processing to obtain a 4D reconstruct also was highlighted with special emphasis on cell imaging and cancer research.
     
  • Dr. Bipin Nair, Dean, Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
    In his lecture, the need for sustainable bio-materials, keeping in mind the current trends on “A Paradigm Shift in Biomaterial Sustainability” was discussed. 
     
  • Dr. V. S. Raja, Professor, Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Sciences, IIT Bombay
    The application of engineering materials against environmental degradation and its scope and challenges were discussed. 
     
  • Dr. Carmelo Drago, Scientist, CNR, Italy
    He presented a novel concept on, catalytic one-pot microwave-assisted transformation, to manage the kitchen and industrial waste such as WFO (waste frying oil) and generate bio-diesel by exploiting alternative feedstocks from non-arable lands. 
     
  • Dr. Shantanu Bhowmik, Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
    The discussion on material science as a tool to combat ecological issues was kept at a steady pace with the topic: State-of-art Recycle Technology of Thermoplastic Wastes to Thermoplastic Composite Products.
     
  • Dr. Mangal Sundar, Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras
    In his session on computational chemistry, he discussed its applicability for large polycyclic compounds involving benzene and cyclooctatetraene. The significance of this talk was to minimize errors in computational calculations. 
     
  • Prof. Mohan Srinivasarao, Professor, Materials and Science Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
    His genial approach to the topic, Spontaneous Emergence of Chirality in Achiral Systems, kept the audience in rapt attention.

Each of these lectures was a hotspot of scientific debate and active discussion with students and academicians alike posting queries to veterans in the field. In addition to this, the conference also included over 100 poster presentations and 45 oral presentations from delegates representing various universities; the top ten posters and oral presentations were given awards. The event came to a close with Prof. Mohan Srinivasarao surmising the proceedings of the conference.

On the following day, a post-conference workshop was conducted by Dr. Saurabh Ghosh (Assistant Professor, SRM Research Institute and Department of Physics and Nanotechnology) and Mr. O. M. Deepak (Assistant Professor, Department of Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham) to provide the students a hands-on-experience with computational techniques. Additionally, , the application of first-principle calculations to predict magnetic, structural and electronic properties of multi-electron systems was discussed, with special emphasis on the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) in material science.

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