Our Nanomaterials and Energy Group is an interdisciplinary research group inspired by the opportunities arising from a confluence of global trends in energy research and environmental challenges leading to fast growing scientific breakthroughs and market opportunities. Our research works focus on developing functional nanomaterials and their applications in energy harvesting and environmental remediation. Such work require involving in photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, in-situ investigations of reaction kinetics, excitons dynamics, X-ray diffraction based structural analysis, surface characterization techniques and high resolution structural analysis using electron and atomic force microscope.
Nanostructures in energy harvesting: In view of the increasing energy crisis (caused by rapid depletion of fossil fuels), abundance makes solar energy an extremely promising energy alternative leading to intense research activities in solar cells, hydrogen energy and artificial photosynthesis. Our group is interested in developing chemical routes for highly monodisperse, shape controlled nanocrystalline semiconducting and metallic catalytic materials that can either (a) split water with the help of sun-light to obtain hydrogen that stores solar energy in the form of chemical energy or conversely, (b) reduce oxygen efficiently enabling it to form oxide ion and hence combine easily with hydrogen even at room temperature, leading to the release of stored solar energy on demand. Importantly in this energy strategy, water is generated as the only reaction byproduct, which is environmentally benign. (c) Based on similar principles, we further examine the oxidation of small bio-fuel molecules such as alcohols on nanocatalyst surfaces. Finally, we wish find a cost-effective method to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide as inputs.
Weak interaction based self-assembly and shape control: In the emerging field of organic and carbon based semiconductors, fullerenes are unique for their excellent electron accepting nature. They exhibit the ability of solvate formation, imparting fascinating properties such as high electron mobility and enhanced luminescence. As a second research interest, we work towards understanding the chemical interactions involved in such solvates and effects on their electronic properties. Another purpose of research on this area is to study the shape control of self-assembled fullerenes with an intention to address some of the very fundamental issues related to shape control and nucleation.
- Mechanochemical Synthesis of Free-Standing Platinum Nanosheets and Their Electrocatalytic Properties, M. Chhetri, M. Rana, B. Loukya, P. K. Patil, R. Datta, and U. K. Gautam, Adv. Mater. 2015 (accepted).
- C60 Mediated Molecular Shape Sorting: Separation and Purification of Geometrical Isomers, M. Rana, R. Bharathanatha Reddy, B. B. Rath and U. K. Gautam, Angew. Chem., 53, 2014, 13523.
- High-yield Synthesis of Sub-10 nm Pt Nanotetrahedra with Bare< 111> Facets for Efficient Electrocatalytic Applications , M. Rana, M. Chhetri, B. Loukya, P. K. Patil, R. Datta, U. K. Gautam, ACS Appl. Mater. Inter., 2015, 7, 4998.
- Tuning the oxygen release temperature of metal peroxides over a wide range by formation of solid solutions, S. R. Lingampalli , D. Krishnan , R. Datta , U. K. Gautam, Chem. Mater., 26, 2014, 2720.
- Highly efficient photocatalytic hydrogen generation by solution-processed ZnO/Pt/CdS, ZnO/Pt/Cd 1- x Zn x S and ZnO/Pt/CdS 1- x Se x hybrid nanostructures, S. R. Lingampalli., U. K. Gautam, C. N. R. Rao, Energy Environ. Sci., 6, 2013, 3589.
- Direct imaging of Joule heating dynamics and temperature profiling inside a carbon nanotube interconnect, P. M.F.J. Costa, U. K. Gautam, Y. Bando, D. Golberg, Nat Commun., 2, 2011, 421.
- Unipolar assembly of zinc oxide rods manifesting polarity-driven collective luminescence, U. K. Gautama, M. Imura, C. Sekhar Rout, Y. Bando, X. Fanga, B. Dierre, L. Sakharov, A. Govindaraj, T. Sekiguchi, D. Golberg, C. N. R. Rao, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA, 107, 2010, 13588.
- Solvothermal Synthesis, Cathodoluminescence, and Field-Emission Properties of Pure and N-Doped ZnO Nanobullets, U. K. Gautam, L. S. Panchakarla, B. Dierre, X. Fang, Y. Bando, T. Sekiguchi, A. Govindaraj, D. Golberg, C. N. R. Rao, Adv. Funct. Mater., 19, 2009, 131.
- Synthesis, structure, and multiply enhanced field-emission properties of branched ZnS nanotube-in nanowire core-shell heterostructures, U. K. Gautam, Y. Bando, X. Fang, J. Zhan, D. Golberg, ACS Nano, 2, 2008, 1015.
Ga-doped ZnS Nanowires-Precursors for ZnO/ZnGa2O4 Nanotubes, U. K. Gautam, Y. Bando, J. Zhan, P. M. F. J. Costa, X. Fang, D. Golberg, Adv. Mater., 20, 2008, 810
- Generation of Onions and Nanotubes of GaS and GaSe through Laser and Thermally Induced Exfoliation, U. K. Gautam, S. R. C. Vivekchand, A. Govindaraj, G. U. Kulkarni, N. R. Selvi, C. N. R. Rao, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 127, 2005, 3658.