Big ideas come in nano packages

Nanoparticles are microscopic particles with a range of potential applications in heat transfer and biomedical sciences – as a result of which they have captured the interest and imagination of researchers all over the globe.

One such researcher is Kaushik Choudhury (with the IITB-Monash Research Academy), who is working on a project titled, ‘Experimental Investigation of the Process of Nanoparticle Preparation by LASER Ablation’. His goal is to improvise a method to fabricate very small particles in an efficient manner.

“There are plenty of ways to derive information about the characteristics of a nanoparticle—ranging from shape and size, to crystal structure and elemental constitution,” explains Kaushik. “However, most of these are offline methods, which means that we need to work with a part of the sample after it is prepared, to get it characterised.”

Not much information is available on the process of fabrication of nanoparticles in situ, i.e. without isolating them. “We are therefore attempting to examine the response of the host medium in which the nanoparticle is being formed as a result of ablation of metal substrate, and correlate it with the process parameters,” he reveals. “In a nut-shell, we are trying to find answers to two questions—what happens between the laser hitting the target and the nanoparticle emerging; and is it therefore possible to control this process to fabricate nanoparticles with specific shape, size and morphology.”

Kaushik hopes that his research will find a variety of applications, including targeted drug delivery and heat transport fluids in machines and heat exchangers.”

The IITB-Monash Research Academy is a Joint Venture between IIT Bombay and Monash University, and operates a graduate research program in Mumbai. Research is conducted by scholars in both countries, while studying for a dually-badged PhD from both institutions.

“Fabricating nanoparticles and building nanostructures are like playing with a lego kit, the only difference is we cannot hold the bits and pieces by hand,” says Prof Murali Sastry, reputed nanomaterial scientist and CEO, IITB-Monash Research Academy. “Kaushik’s work opens up another elegant means of producing nanoparticles with many degrees of freedom for control over shape, size and surface modification. Truly exciting times!”

Kaushik is quick to agree. After all, big ideas sometimes come in nano packages.

Research scholar: Kaushik Choudhury, IITB-Monash Research Academy

Project title: Experimental investigation of the process of nanoparticle preparation by LASER ablation

Supervisors: Prof Atul Srivastava (IIT Bombay), Prof Ajai Kumar (Institute for Plasma Research), Prof Wenlong Cheng (Monash University)

Contact details:

This story was written by Mr Krishna Warrier based on inputs from the research student, his supervisors and IITB-Monash Research Academy. Copyright IITB-Monash Research Academy.