The School of Nano Science and Technology will perform research activities through sponsored projects.

The School of Nano Science and Technology was set up at the National Institute of Technology this year to offer higher degrees in the field of nano science and to pursue academic and sponsored research. Earlier, in 2005, a nano-technology research laboratory was set up at the NIT, when the institute decided to explore new avenues in the discipline. The lab, with a few dedicated researchers and faculty, had been coordinated by Prof.C.B. Shoban, the dean of sponsored research at NIT-C.

The modern facilities at the school were made up-to-date under the leadership of Prof. G.R.C. Reddy, Director, NIT-C. Presently the school performs research activities through sponsored projects and in collaboration with other departments at the institute, and various other world-class universities.

The sponsored projects at the school include:

A project costing Rs.20 lakh for research into “experimental studies on the convective heat transfer performance of water based nano-fluids in liquid loops”. The project is funded by the Board of Research in Nuclear Science.

A project costing Rs.20 lakh for research in “holographic studies in mini channels for optimal thermal design of microelectronic devices”. The project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology.

A project costing Rs.45.18 lakh to research on the topic “Multifunctional plasmonic nanoparticles and nanocomposites for targeted drug delivery: synthesis, evaluation and toxicological studies”.

Courses

The school offers M.Tech. programme in nanotechnology. The programme was started at the institute in 2008. The number of seats is 18 (13 regular seats and five sponsored). Presently there are two batches in ongoing programme.

The regular students are admitted on the basis of GATE score from disciplines like mechanical, production or chemical engineering at the B.Tech. level. The students are entitled to Central government scholarship.

The M.Tech. programme includes two semesters of course-work and one year of individual project work on any relevant area of nano-technology.

Apart from the regular job opportunities at various industries and research organisations, the masters programme in nanotechnology holds a lot of promise for students who like to take up an academic career and pursue research.

According to Prof. Shoban, the students get an opportunity to leartn the fundamentals and applications of the interdisciplinary subjects from expert faculty in all the areas including quantum physics and measurement techniques. “They can also undergo hands-on training through their laboratory classes,” he said.

Faculty profile

The school has eight full-time faculty members from various basic disciplines such as mechanical and aerospace engineering, electronics and chemistry.

Many of these faculty members are trained abroad through visiting positions and fellowships, and doctoral research in the areas of nano science and technology.

Prof. Sobhan is a visiting professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, and has done post-doctoral research at Purdue University, USA.

The other faculty members include Dr. N. Sandhyarani, the present head of the school, who has post-doctoral research experience in bio-nanotechnology at Cornell University and University of Notre Dame, USA. Dr. Soney Varghese is a Ph.D degree holder from the University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and Raghu Ramachandran has worked in the Nano-electronics area for his Masters program in the USA.

The number of international publications from the faculty at this new school stands above 100, including an international text book on Microscale and Nanoscale Heat Transfer published by CRC Press, USA. There have been collaborative ventures with various world class universities-Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, Rice University, USA, University of Limerick, Ireland, City University New York, USA and Dong-A University, South Korea.

Research areas

The faculty members of the school have been capable of attracting many research projects from sponsoring agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Atomic Energy and the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The major projects being undertaken in the school include applications of nanotechnology in cooling fluids to enhance their performance, aiming at electronics, avionics and nuclear applications, medical applications of nanotechnology in the synthesis of nano-structures for targeted drug delivery and cancer detection, enhancement of the performance of hydrocarbon fuels and reduction of pollution using catalytic nanoparticles, synthesis and process control of carbon nano-tubes, measurement and characterization of nano-particle suspensions using holography, and discrete computational modeling of nanosystems using molecular dynamics. The school has an up-to date microscopy centre, with a higher-end scanning electron microscope and a newly added atomic force microscope.

Outreach

The school is planning for outreach activities such as exhibitions, open-houses and interaction programmes with school students, which are expected to take off shortly. These are part of the school’s efforts to bring the fascinating areas of nanotechnology to the society. These programmes will be focused on young and talented minds, to make them capable of contributing to the society in the future through this new and exciting field of science and technology.

For more details on the school, visit, http://www.nano.nitc.ac.in/