Multifunctional and 2-D Materials

This thrust aims at investigating the science and engineering of multifunctional and non-traditional 2-D materials and exploiting their unique thermal, mechanical and electrical properties for a broad market segment ranging from transportation through consumer products to the electronic industry.

Science and Engineering of Graphene Coatings and Foams

The newly established graphene laboratory at VT India has the capability for the synthesis and characterization of graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide and a user-friendly process for coating graphene and graphene oxide on various substrates.

In one of our projects, we will investigate the boiling and condensation heat transfer from surfaces modified by graphene and its derivatives. Graphene is known to be hydrophobic and can serve as an excellent material for promoting drop-wise condensation with orders of magnitude better heat transfer than for film-wise condensation. In addition, such coatings can serve to produce multilayered super-hydrophobic surfaces for robust water repellency and reduced drag. Graphene oxide, on the other hand, is hydrophilic. Understanding transport phenomena in condensation and boiling heat transfer from surfaces modified by the patterned coatings of graphene and graphene oxide is expected to reveal unexpected phenomena which can be exploited commercially for developing heat exchangers with superior performance. Other innovative and potentially high-impact research is centered on the development of graphene foams and graphene-based thermal grease for the IC industry. This project will be led by Dr. S. Gupta under the guidance of Professor Mahajan of Virginia Tech.

Advanced Multifunctional Materials

This research program focuses on exploring the interface between physics and material science to innovate in the critical field of advanced multifunctional materials. Our current research on ferroelectrics, piezoelectrics and multiferroics is driven by many long-term technological aspirations with state-of-the-art sensors, nonvolatile memories, and spintronic devices, to name a few. A major slice of our effort emphasizes exploring the fundamental science of these materials to gain deeper understanding about structure-property relationships, which consequently can bring about a significant shift in the research and applications of these materials. The goal is to establish the correlation among crystallography, crystallographic anisotropy, domains and domain-dynamics on electro-mechanical behavior of ferroelectrics, piezoelectrics and multiferroics. Electron paramagnetic resonance and other characterization techniques are used to investigate the presence of ionic defects, their mutual interaction, and subsequent impact on the functional behavior of these materials.

Another facet of our research focuses on gradual advancement of the functional behavior of a few technologically vital multifunctional materials to advance their feasibility for device applications. We utilize scientific methods and processing techniques to engineer some of the key functional properties of materials such as sodium potassium niobate, bismuth ferrite, and other lead-based perovskites. We intend to utilize some of these materials with improved functional behavior for device applications. Considering the exciting prospects for multifunctional oxides at nanoscale, some of this effort will be devoted to the synthesis of size-controlled nanoparticles and their characterization for a variety of applications. Lead Research Scientist: Dr. S. Gupta