Research @ NRIIC

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Flexible Electronics

The flexible electronics group focuses on the design and modeling of organic thin-film transistors using Silvaco TCAD and CoventorWare involving modeling new materials, new device configuration for organic electronics and sensor applications . Piezo electric pressure sensors with their inherent advantage of direct transduction capability are drawing attention for high-temperature applications with the introduction of new materials like AlN. The challenge lies in the development of AlN thin films with optimum c-axis oriented crystals to achieve the highest possible piezoelectric coefficient. The Group is working on optimizing the deposition parameters, the substrate material, and thereby the contact electrodes to achieve c-axis crystals.
Multi-source PVD system with parylene coater, Silane based CVD, spin coater, screen printer, Maskless lithography, and rapid annealing are the fabrication facilities for the development of flexible devices on polymer substrates. The lab has CV-IV analyzer to perform the complete characterization of devices.

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Functional, Innovative & Smart Textiles (FIST)

Functional, Innovative & Smart Textiles (FIST) group works on research and development in the area of advanced smart and innovative textiles with a focus to convert the nanotechnology based research outcome into products, acceptable for industries as well as domestic and international markets. Machine and device developments are also in the priority list of the group. The group acts as a customer service provider by providing solutions to industries for their specific problems, supports technically to the incubates to develop business, innovate and transfer researched products to industries and collaborates national and international institutes to carry out joint research and development work.

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Sensors

The sensor group at PSGIAS focus on implementing innovative ideas based on Nanotechnology to realize sensor devices for real time applications having societal impacts. The major aim of this group is to use multidisciplinary approaches to design and develop novel sensor materials and fabrication of high performance sensors. The key activities of this group are development of nanoscale sensors, integration of sensors with electronic readout systems, implementation of sensors for real time applications and field trials with industrial collaborations. The sensor group mainly focuses on chemiresistive, electrochemical and SERS based sensor platforms for environmental and water quality monitoring, biomedical, automobile and food quality applications. This group is currently involved in development of cost-effective high performance devices: (i) flexible gas sensors for environmental monitoring and clinical breath analyzer applications, (ii) microfluidic lab-on-chip sensor platforms for water quality monitoring and biosensor applications and (iii) SERS based sensor touch-PADs for biomarker detection in body fluids (saliva, blood, sweat etc). Our institute is equipped with the state-of-art facilities for fabrication, testing and calibration of gas sensors and electrochemical/biosensors.

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Materials

In renewable and sustainable energy research, our group focuses mainly on development of durable mesoporous carbon based electrocatalyst support materials for proton exchange membrane fuel cells. We are also developing high quality self-cleaning coatings based on superhydrophobicity for solar panels for sustainable energy production. These superhydrophobic coatings based on nano-formulations are also being extended for large area non-PV applications, such as glass facades, marine applications, smart
textiles etc. adopting simple coating procedures. Our group has also developed an advanced front contact metallization strategy to reduce shadow loss in solar cells based on silver-less approach using nanoimprint lithography.

Tissue Engineering

This group works on development of various scaffolds and biomaterials for use in bone, cartilage, endometrium and nerve tissue engineering applications. The group consists of faculty members having expertise in meniscal tissue engineering, polymeric scaffold development, bioink development for 3D bioprinting of cells and scaffolds and Plant based biomaterial development. The group actively collaborates with various hospitals and industry at national and international level like PSG Institute of Medical Science and Research, Orthone Hospitals, Coimbatore, St. Vincents hospital, Australia, Innov4sight Health and Biomedical Systems Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore etc.

Nanobiotechnology

The Nanobiotechnology group focuses mainly on development of an integrated microbial and nanomaterial based technologies for water purification, effluent treatment, and mitigation of antibiotic resistant microbes in water/effluents. The group is also actively engaged in developing technologies to reduce the environmental impact of materials and processes used in precious metal recovery from mine ores through an interdisciplinary approach involving microbiology, electrochemistry, and nanotechnology. The lab has been successful in developing various adsorbents to remove strontium, fluoride, nitrate and arsenic from ground water. A field level water purification unit is currently under evaluation for removal of strontium from groundwater in Ankupalli Village, Nellore, AndhraPradesh. Similarly, a technology for removal of zinc and chromium from the electroplating industry has been developed and technology has been transferred to an electroplating industry in Coimbatore. Currently the laboratory is working on scale up of processes and the reactors to cater industrial need at field level. The outcomes of the research from this group have been delivered in the form of publications in various national and international journals, as patents and as technology transfers. The research works are mainly funded by ICMR, DRDO, DST, IGCAR, Govt. of IndiaandONGC- Energy Centre.

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Functional Materials

The research activities in Functional materials group is focused on complex oxides for clean energy applications. Complex oxides such as perovskite, spinel, Brownmillerite or Kesterite based structures and doped primary oxides made up of earth abundant materials are synthesised for Solid oxide Fuel Cell, thermoelectrics, solar photovoltaic, supercapacitor and photocatalytic hydrogen generation applications. These materials are modified to get the highest possible efficiency in the proposed application. Once the materials with optimum characteristics are obtained, a prototype device for the clean energy generation is fabricated and its efficiency is analysed.

Plasmonic Nanomaterials

Our research focuses on exploiting optical properties of nanomaterials to be developed into products that can be deployed in various applications. One part of the research is focused on developing robust nanocomposites for monitoring hazardous gases like CO, NO2 under harsh combustion environments such as gas turbines. Another critical area of research is on investigating the use of plasmonic nanomaterials in augmenting the properties of phase change materials, which find direct applications in the field of energy storage.

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Nanostructured Surfaces and Thin Films

The primary focus of the group is to synthesize novel functional nanostructures based on non-equilibrium vacuum deposition processes intended for super-hard surfaces, and high efficiency thermoelectric thin film generators (TFTEG). The research team also focus on the processing of low-cost earth abundant materials using non-vacuum-based techniques like spin-coating, hydrothermal etching, and spray-pyrolysis processes for broad band anti-reflective glass surfaces and large-scale TFTEG devices for energy harvesting applications. As a part of the ongoing research, one of goal is to develop Tin Selenide based planar TFTEG on large area substrates such as glass and stainless-steel substrates using low-cost scalable spray-pyrolysis technique. The team thrives to offer consultancy and provide solutions in the area of nano-composite coating comprised of Chalcogenide (WS 2 , MoS 2 ) and Nitrides (TiN, CrN, ZrN, Si 3 N 4 , TiAlN) in order to improve the tool-life of cutting tools.

Electrochemical Sensors and Energy Materials

Our group focuses on developing nanomaterials for high performance electrochemical sensors, supercapacitor and battery applications. The performance enhancement was brought about by tuning the structural and electronic properties of the nanomaterials. Electrochemical sensors for the detection of neurotransmitters like dopamine, development of suitable cathode and anode materials for improving the performance of lithium/sodium ion batteries and fabrication of mixed metal oxide based electrode materials for supercapacitor applications are some of the significant work being carried out in our lab.

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Advanced Materials and Devices Laboratory

We are working on oxide thin-film and device, in particular those based on amorphous oxide thin-film transistor (TFT) and photovoltaic applications. The research focus is on development of high mobility amorphous oxide thin-film and device fabrication for an alternative of amorphous Silicon (a-Si:H) TFT. The group also involved in the development of earth abundant transparent conducting oxide (TCO), metal oxide electron/hole carrier selective layers using both the vacuum and non-vacuum techniques for Photovoltaics device fabrication.

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