Key research topics: Carbon MEMS and NEMS, magnetic carbon, carbon-based flexible electronics/ sensors, 3D carbon scaffolds, NMR compatible bioreactor, pyrolysis of waste materials for obtaining biofuels and useable carbons.
Microstructure of glassy carbon
Glassy carbon is an amorphous yet graphene-rich form of elemental carbon. The fact that it is obtained from patterned polymers renders it suitable for various MEMS/ NEMS applications. But before designing a device, it is essential to know the microstructure and properties of this material at the nano-scale. We conduct extensive transmission electron microscopy, perform various structure-property relationship tests and constantly find novel ways to carefully temper with the microstructure of this material. It still does not cease to surprise us!
We have recently developed a novel, micro and nano patternable magnetic carbon material. This material holds tremendous potential in spintronic and magnetic-MEMS device fabrication. Additionally, it sheds light on the controversial theories concerning the existence and mechanisms of magnetism in carbon.
Carbon AFM tips
If you need an AFM tip with a pre-defined geometry, which is suitable for both contact and dynamic modes; is robust, electrically and thermally conductive and can be chemically functionalized- the solution lies in our 3D-printed glassy carbon tips.
3D carbon scaffolds for Neural Stem Cell culture
One major challenge for biologists trying to understand the mechanism of Neurodegenerative Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is the dependence on the animal models, which is strongly discouraged due to ethical concerns. We have developed 3D carbon scaffolds with tunable porosity for Neural Stem Cell culture to mimic brain-like conditions. The cell network can be characterized using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) non-invasively.
Flexible carbon biosensors
We transfer the carbon-MEMS fabrication process on to flexible substrates to obtain electrochemically active organic biosensors. We also envision flexible anodes for energy storage devices having a commercial viability fabricated using this technology.
Bioprocessing of waste materials for obtaining biofuels and carbon
Converting waste materials into useful products is a worldwide challenge. Pyrolysis process, which we generally use for the fabrication of MEMS/ NEMS devices, can also be employed for waste-to-carbon conversion. Under the framework of BioPEC project we aim to convert biodegradable waste, for example cellulosic materials, into biofuels using microbial bioprocessing that is monitored using NMR. Remaining microorganism containing slurry is transformed into useable solid carbon forms via pyrolysis. This international and interdisciplinary project brings together the experts from biology, NMR, GC-MS, microfluidics, pyrolysis and glassy carbon research from both academia and industry on the same platform.
Some other projects that are either in their initial stages or are completed: carbon-based nanoparticle sensors, stripline coils for NMR, magnetic carbon nanofibers for ortho-to-para hydrogen conversion and carbon nanofiber electrodes.