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Research Interests

Our research at IIT Kharagpur is highly interdisciplinary and focuses on emerging nanomaterials' fundamental and translational aspects. IRG's research starts from developing new materials to understanding their structure and correlating with their properties, and engineering them to address the challenging issues in the environment and healthcare for the benefit of society. A glimpse of IRG's current research interests is illustrated below.

Atomically Precise Nanoclusters

Atomically precise pieces of matter of nanometer dimensions composed of metals are new categories of nanomaterials with many unusual properties. Over 150 molecules of this kind with formulas such as Au25 (SR)18 , Au 38 (SR)24 , Ag29 (S2R)12 , and Ag44 (SR)30 are known now. They are distinctly different from nanoparticles in their spectroscopic properties, such as optical absorption and emission, showing well-defined features, just like molecules. They show isotopically resolved molecular ion peaks in mass spectra and provide diverse information when examined through multiple instrumental methods. The most important of these properties is luminescence, often in the visible–near-infrared window, useful in biological applications. Luminescence in the visible region, especially by clusters protected with proteins, with a large Stokes shift, has been used for various sensing applications in air and water, down to a few tens of molecules/ions. Our research group works on the fundamentals and translational aspects of these atomically precise nanoclusters, exploring new properties, structure-property correlations, and potential applications in all science and technology domains.

Our research group is dedicated to advancing the field of atomically precise nanomaterial-based nanohybrids. These atomically precise nanomaterials possess exceptional optoelectronic properties, biocompatibility, and often reduced toxicity, offering various possibilities for various applications. However, the persistent issue of stability has impeded their practical applications. Our research group focuses on pioneering innovative synthesis pathways for nanohybrids based on atomically precise nanomaterials aiming at long-term stability and enhanced sensitivity to make them effective for various applications. We aim to conduct in-depth in-situ and ex-situ spectroscopic and microscopic investigations, delving into the intricate dynamics of reactions, and structure-property correlations.




“Nanozymes” elucidate nanomaterials with intrinsic enzyme-like properties and have become an emerging field connecting nanotechnology and biology. Nanozymes have received much attention in recent years as they possess some great advantages, like high catalytic activity, excellent stability, and good durability; they are also easily synthesizable. Our group focuses on synthesizing nanozymes, especially nanoclusterzymes (metal nanoclusters act as enzymes), comprehending the catalytic mechanistic details, and establishing fundamental principles and processes of nanozymes. We aim to strategically design different types of nanozymes with specific desired features and comprehend their structure-activity relationship. We also work on the translation aspect, especially on POC device development, to make it beneficial for society.

Our research group is at the vanguard of innovation in the intriguing realm of ‘nano catalysis’, crafting solutions that lead to the pathway towards a more sustainable future. Intending to address environmental problems and advance sustainable solutions, our team takes a multifaceted approach that includes photocatalysis and electrocatalysis. Currently, mother nature is experiencing catastrophic climate change and global warming, as burning fossil fuels liberates toxic gases like CO2, NOx, and SOx. Nanocatalysis is cost-effective and highly efficient to resolve environmental and energy-related issues. Nanocatalysts can convert greenhouse gases like CO2 and other toxic industrial waste into useful, valuable, non- toxic, environmentally and economically lucrative products. Using CO2 capture and conversion to produce fuel and fine chemicals is one of the most effective approaches to address the interrelated problems of energy and the environment. One of our key areas of expertise is the diligent design and production of nanomolecules, leveraging cutting-edge techniques to engineer materials at the nanoscale. These nanomolecules act as the building blocks for hybrid nanomaterials with improved performance in capturing and converting carbon dioxide, which are essential in mitigating the influences of climate change. Finetuning these nanomaterials; composition, size, shape, and morphology leads to superior catalytic properties and enhanced catalyst stability. These tailored nanomaterials play a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and selectivity of catalytic processes, bringing new possibilities for carbon management technologies.


Nanosensors and Devices

Nanosensors are devices in nanometer range with the ability to detect minute particles and a wide range of applications in fields like medical diagnostics, pollution monitoring, pathogen detection, temperature and humidity monitoring, transportation systems, etc. The working principle of a nanosensor device is based on the following: the analyte recognises a specific element by diffusing from solution to the surface of the sensor, reacts and produces signals on the transducer surface, which are amplified or transformed into an electrical signal and detected by the detector. The conversion to an electrical signal is due to the change in optical and electronic properties of the transducer when diffusion and reaction take place between the receptor and target molecule. Our research group designs nanoclusters and tunes their optical, electrical, and electronic properties through atomic-level engineering to enhance their signals and increase the detection limit. We aimed to work on wearable sensors and devices based on well-designed atomically precise nanomaterials and hybrids with high throughput signals. This will enable us to overcome the challenges ahead of heterogenous (in size and number of atoms) nanomaterial-based sensing and biosensing devices, especially in diagnostics.

Biomaterials for Healthcare

Biomaterials play a crucial role in healthcare, contributing to advancements in medical devices, tissue engineering, drug delivery systems, and regenerative medicine. These materials are designed to interact with biological systems and can be natural or synthetic in origin. Nanobiomaterials, a combination of nanotechnology and biomaterials, have opened up exciting possibilities in healthcare-drug delivery systems where nanoparticles and nanocarriers can encapsulate drugs or therapeutic agents. Innovation in biomaterials continues to drive progress in healthcare, leading to improved patient outcomes, reduced recovery times, and the development of new treatments and procedures. Our research group studies the nano-bio interface chemistry and engineers them for targeted therapeutics and diagnosis. We continuously look for cost-effective nanomaterial-based solutions for the existing diagnosis and therapeutic methods to make them affordable. To further advance healthcare technologies, exploring new biomaterials with enhanced properties, such as improved biocompatibility, high sustainability, affordability, mechanical strength, andbioactive functionalities.

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