“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”Theodore Roosevelt

Jesni M Jacob, currently doing research under Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva narrates her journey to achieving CSIR-JRF All India Rank of 65 through persistent efforts.

I’m working in the field of computational chemistry on designing and developing organic molecules for OLED applications. Securing an AIR of 65 in the CSIR JRF in Chemical Science June 2021 exam is a dream come true moment for me.

In 2019, I completed my post-graduate studies at Madras Christian College, Chennai. The four-year-long journey from zero to JRF AIR 65 was of hard work, patience, sleepless nights, sacrifices and even frustrated moments. It was challenging to remain motivated after multiple unsuccessful attempts. But I wasn’t ready to give up hope. I believed in myself and dreamed big with faith in God Almighty.

My previous attempts didn’t provide me with any hope of continuing my preparation because my marks were consistently far below the cutoffs. That made me realise one thing: without coaching and ample guidance, qualifying for CSIR JRF is a toiling task for an average student. But I learned that with strong passion, proper dedication, and right strategies of do’s and don’ts, any aspiring student can pass the exam with flying colours.

After each attempt, I learned from my mistakes and tried to optimise my strategies. One should never try to cover the entire syllabus and be bothered about it. I analysed the unit-wise weightage and narrowed it down to a few important topics that I found exciting and comfortable.


  • Choose topics carefully and focus solely on mastering them.
  • Try to stick to and rely on reliable standard textbooks as much as possible.
  • The SRMAP library provided me with excellent access to a wide range of standard texts.

The JRF aspirants should try to solve previous years’ questions from standard exams (CSIR, GATE, IISc, etc.) and note new concepts or approaches every day. Enjoy and prepare short notes with a lot of scribbling and highlighting in various colours. Notes should be concise and simple to revise later. But don’t spend too much time making notes.

I made time for exam preparation along with my work and research activities. I’m grateful to my family, teachers, and especially my guide- Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva, for their constant support and encouragement. He gave me a safe space to express my desire to ace the exam and my anxieties about it. Dr Mahesh always listened to my concerns and helped me to gain clarity on my thoughts. He always encouraged me to dream big and shared his perspectives and lessons from his life experiences. He is a great mentor, motivator, and teacher to me.

dr vasavi duttThe university revels in its monumental achievement of bringing out the maiden doctorate degree holder, Dr Vasavi Dutt, within four years of its inception. Dr Vasavi Dutt enrolled as a PhD scholar in the Department of Chemistry, under the supervision of Dr Nimai Mishra, Assistant Professor, in 2018. She received the academic honour for her research thesis titled “Improvement of Photoluminescence and Achieving the Stabilization of Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals for Light-emitting Applications”. Dr Vasavi has been an extremely diligent student and she mustered up immense courage to bring her research to closure even during the testing times of the pandemic.

In the words of Dr Nimai Mishra, “It was a great privilege for me to supervise Ms Vasavi, (correct me Dr Vasavi now) as my first PhD student. She joined my research lab in July 2018 when there was no lab at all, and we started our work at Chemistry BTech Lab”. Dr Mishra was gleaming with pride as he spoke more about his scholar, “During these three and a half years, I had relentless scientific discussions with Vasavi which enriched both of us. Her attitude towards research was remarkable, whenever I gave her a research problem, she used to come up with a detailed outline of how to go ahead with the project”. He also praised her for all her accomplishments which include the publication of 13 research papers, filing of 3 patents and winning the best poster in national & internal conferences.

Dr Vasavi also shared her happiness for having received the mentorship of Dr Mishra, “Working in Dr Nimai Mishra’s lab was a great experience. I had the opportunity to engage and initiate multiple research topics and collaborations. He has always encouraged me to explore new fields to broaden perspectives and bring together new ideas”. She also expressed her gratitude to him for being a welcoming and approachable mentor. “I’m eternally thankful to Dr Mishra for his friendship, empathy, and moreover, for his great sense of humour”. She currently resides in the US with her family. Now that she has successfully completed her PhD, soon she would start looking for a job or rather pursue a post-doctoral fellowship in America.

Dr Vasavi was out of words to thank the university for facilitating and bringing the best in technology and infrastructure for advanced research. “I can never thank my university enough for extending a hospitable environment and nutritious food for all the doctorate students”, she further mentioned. The university serves as a promised land for thousands of research aspirants like her to head towards their dream of making unfeigned contributions to academia.

SRM AP is known for its resources and facilities for pioneering research with the support of global leaders and SME’s while sticking to compliance and international regulations. Obtaining research excellence in every field of study has been a mission of the university. Recently, 50 MSc students from the Department of Chemistry, KBN College, Vijayawada, visited our university to explore the analytical and research facilities available here.

The research areas handled by the Department of Chemistry of SRM AP include the disciplines of chemical sciences, ranging from organic, inorganic, and physical, to theoretical or computational chemistry. The department’s highly disciplinary and collaborative environment is indeed inspiring, and it continues to grab attention. The strong interactions of the university with other premier institutions across India and around the world refine the quality of analytical and research facilities available here. The students from KBN college eagerly interacted with the faculty members and research scholars. Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva and Dr Rajapandiyan, Faculty members, coordinated the visit.

‘Energy Conversion & Management’ is a journal that belongs to the top 2% of the “Renewable Energy, Sustainability, and the Environment” subject category. Publishing a paper with an impact factor of 9.7 in such a journal is a considerable achievement. Assistant Professors Dr Sabyasachi Chakrabortty and Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva and their PhD scholar Ms Mounika Sai Ambati from the Department of Chemistry have accomplished this by publishing a paper titled Photovoltaic/Photo-Electrocatalysis Integration for Green Hydrogen: A review in this Q1 journal.

Abstract of the research

Photovoltaic/Photo-ElectrocatalysisSolar light-driven hydrogen generation via water splitting is essential to combat global warming and CO2 emission. The production of hydrogen from fossil fuels produces massive amounts of CO2. Developing a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to hydrogen production is the need of the hour. Photoelectrochemical water splitting is a clean way to produce hydrogen by using water. The hydrogen generated through water splitting is referred to as Green Hydrogen. Photoelectrochemical water splitting uses metal oxides as photocathode/anode. The challenges that occur here are stability, low efficiency, and large-scale development (reusable electrodes are essential). Hence, the primary goal is to demonstrate photoelectrodes using different metal oxides by in-situ doping of different metals to detect the challenges.

nimai mishra

Cesium lead halide perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) belong to the flourishing research area in the field of photovoltaic and optoelectronic applications because of their excellent optical and electronic properties. Mainly, Cesium lead bromide (CsPbBr3) NCs with bright green photoluminescence (PL) and narrow full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) of <25 nm are the most desirable for television displays and green-emitting LEDs. However, challenges with respect to CsPbBr3 PNCs‘ stability, limit their usage in practical applications. The recent findings of Dr Nimai Mishra and his research team assert that surface passivation with an additional ligand could be an excellent, easy, and facile approach to enhancing the photoluminescence and stability of PNCs.

Dr Nimai Mishra, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, along with his research group comprising of students pursuing PhD under him, Dr V G Vasavi Dutt, Mr Syed Akhil, Mr Rahul Singh, and Mr Manoj Palabathuni have published their research article titled “Year-Long Stability and Near-Unity Photoluminescence Quantum Yield of CsPbBr3 Perovskite Nanocrystals by Benzoic Acid Post-treatment“ in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C (A Q1 journal published by ‘The American Chemical Society’) having an impact factor of ~4.2.

In this article, the research group addresses the stability issues of green-emitting CsPbBr3 PNCs with simple post-treatment using benzoic acid (BA). A remarkable improvement in PLQY from 69.8% to 97% (near unity) was observed in benzoic acid-treated CsPbBr3 PNCs. The effective surface passivation by benzoic acid is also apparent from PL decay profiles of BA-CsPbBr3 PNCs. The long-term ambient stability and stability against ethanol of BA-CsPbBr3 PNCs are also well presented in the research. The PL intensity of untreated CsPbBr3 PNCs is completely lost within five months since the synthesis date, while ̴ 65% of initial PL intensity is preserved for BA-CsPbBr3 PNCs even after one year.

Furthermore, BA-CsPbBr3 PNCs exhibits excellent photo-stability where 36% of PL is retained while PL is completely quenched when the PNCs are exposed to 24 hours of continuous UV irradiation. Importantly, BA-CsPbBr3 PNCs show excellent stability against ethanol treatment as well. Finally, green, emitting diodes using BA-CsPbBr3 PNCs are fabricated by drop-casting NCs onto blue-emitting LED lights. Thus a simple benzoic acid posttreatment further presents the scope of use of these materials display technologies.



Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a nuanced chemical technique that amplifies the Raman scattering of molecules by utilising plasmonic nanostructured materials. SERS operates as a powerful detection tool that allows for the structural fingerprinting of a molecule. The ultra-high sensitivity and selectivity of the process offer it a vast array of applications in surface and interface chemistry, nanotechnology, biology, biomedicine, food science, environmental analysis and other areas.

Dr J P Raja Pandiyan and his PhD scholar, Ms Arunima Jinachandran from the Department of Chemistry have been keenly involved in exploring the possibilities of SERS technology in food science and other fields. The safety and quality concerns related to food were the primary reasons that impelled them to step into this domain. Their article “Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for food quality and safety monitoring” was published in the book Nanotechnology Applications for Food Safety and Quality Monitoring, published by Elsevier. The article was published in collaboration with Dr Selvaraju Kanagarajan from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

SERS 2As an analytical technique, SERS possesses several advantages such as non-destructive, sensitive, and selective. In the chapter, the necessity, and applications of SERS in food science are elaborately discussed. They have also discussed all the possible food contaminants and how to identify them using SERS to ensure food quality. This book will serve as an enlightening read to research groups who are working on Raman, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, analytical chemistry, and food quality analysis.

protein nanocluster

Proteins are the most vital life forms which maintain close coordination with almost living activities through their biological functions. Nevertheless, in most cases, proteins suffer from low charge (electron) transfer efficiency as they are mainly made of insulating organic molecules. The interdisciplinary research publication, of Dr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay and Dr Sabyasachi Chakrabortty from the Department of Physics & Department of Chemistry respectively, along with their PhD scholars: Ms Ashwini Nawade, Mr Kumar Babu Busi and Ms Kunchanapalli Ramya, envisions the molecular-level understanding of the charge transport behaviour of various protein-metal nanocluster hybrid.

The article titled ‘“Improved Charge Transport across Bovine Serum Albumin – Au Nanoclusters’ Hybrid Molecular Junction” was featured in the prestigious Q1 journal ACS Omega (IF: 3.512), published by the ‘American Chemical Society’. They successfully incorporated Gold Nanoclusters inside the protein backbone leading to an increase in their conductivity. This will provide new avenues for the rational design of bioelectronic devices with optimized features. The BSA-Au cluster has been a promising model for bioelectronic functionalities. With an increase in their current carrying capacity, they can be used for many more applications, especially as the interface between tissue and organ in biocompatible devices. The research team is also planning to work with various protein dopants to understand their charge transport mechanism. These studies will help in using the protein for various applications mainly in bioimplants or biosensors for drug testing and diagnostics purposes.

Abstract of the Research

Proteins, a highly complex substance, have been the essential element in the living organism where various applications are envisioned due to their biocompatible nature. Apart from protein’s biological functions, contemporary research mainly focuses on their evolving potential associated with nanoscale electronics. Here, we report one type of chemical doping process in model protein molecules (BSA) to modulate its electrical conductivity by incorporating metal (Gold) nanoclusters on the surface or within it. The as-synthesized Au NCs incorporated inside the BSA (Au 1 to Au 6) were optically well characterized with UV-Vis, time-resolved photoluminescence (TRPL), X-ray photon spectroscopy, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy techniques. The PL quantum yield for Au 1 is 6.8% whereas Au 6 is 0.03%. In addition, the electrical measurements showed ~10-fold enhancement of conductivity in Au 6 where maximum loading of Au NCs was predicted inside the protein matrix. We observed a dynamic behaviour in the electrical conduction of such protein-nanocluster films, which could have real-time applications in preparing biocompatible electronic devices.

The Department of chemistry has always been a dynamic space for innovative and inspiring research. Recently, Assistant Professor Dr Nimai Mishra published his fifteenth research paper from SRM university-AP as a corresponding author. The paper is titled Post-synthesis Treatment with Lead Bromide for Obtaining Near Unity Photoluminescence Quantum Yield and Ultra-Stable Amine Free CsPbBr 3 Perovskite Nanocrystal and is published in the Q1 journal, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C with an impact factor of 4.2. The research group is comprised of Dr Mishra’s PhD students Mr Syed Akhil, Dr V G Vasavi Dutt, and Mr Rahul Singh. This is the group’s fifth consecutive article published in the American Chemical Society.

About the article

srmap-Nimai-mishra-researchThe article reports Ultra-Stable and Near Unity Photoluminescence Quantum Yield Amine Free CsPbBr 3 Perovskite Nanocrystal Post-synthesis Treatment with Lead Bromide. Herein, the researchers have introduced a simple lead bromide (PbBr 2 ) post-treatment process to achieve the near-unity PLQY (>95 %) in amine-free CsPbBr 3 PNCs. Furthermore, PbBr 2 treatment enables these materials to drastically improve stability in different environmental conditions (polar solvents, light, and heat). In addition, a green-emitting down- converted light-emitting diode was fabricated using PbBr 2 treated amine-free CsPbBr 3 PNCs, which shows its considerable prospects for display applications. Thus, the results of the research will promote these PbBr 2 treated amine-free inorganic perovskite nanocrystals for commercial development in optoelectronic applications.

Explanation of the research

Cesium lead halide perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) have been the flourishing area of research in the field of photovoltaic and optoelectronic applications because of their excellent optical and electronic properties. Mainly, cesium lead bromide (CsPbBr 3 ) NCs with bright green photoluminescence (PL) and narrow full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) of < 25 nm is the most desirable for television displays and green-emitting LEDs. Improving the photoluminescence quantum yields (PLQYs) and optimizing the stability have been challenging tasks to promote cesium lead halide (CsPbX3; X=Cl, Br and I) perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) for real optoelectronic applications. In recent years, the amine- free synthesis route has become an option for making stable CsPbX 3 PNCs.

Read the full article here

Research SRMAP

Inspite of being a plentiful and inexpensive metal, the use of copper nanoclusters is limited in bio-medical research because of their toxicity and low stability due to its easily oxidizable nature. It also has a low quantum yield. The interdisciplinary publication of the researchers at SRM University-AP successfully addressed these constraints, resulting in strong fluorescence, superior colloidal stability, and non-toxicity of copper nanoclusters for bio imaging applications. The research was a collective work of Dr Manjunatha Thondamal from the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva and Dr Sabyasachi Chakrabortty from the Department of Chemistry along with their PhD scholars; Mr Kumar Babu Busi, Ms Kotha Jyothi, Ms Sheik Haseena, Ms Shamili Bandaru and Ms Jyothi Priyanka Ghantasala.

The article titled ‘“Engineering colloidally stable, highly fluorescent and nontoxic Cu nanoclusters via reaction parameter optimization” was featured in the prestigious Q1 journal RSC Advances (IF: 4.036), published by the ‘Royal Society of Chemistry’. They successfully prepared the protein stabilised copper nanoclusters inside the aqueous medium with exceptional optical properties. To the best of their knowledge, the reported colloidal stability and quantum yield of their as-synthesized Cu NCs are the highest reported in the literature, where the emission wavelength is in the red region. Also, optimised copper nanoclusters showed excellent biocompatibility towards solid cancer cell lines and C. elegans as in vitro and in vivo environments. Thus, these red colour luminescent copper nanoclusters were becoming a suitable fluorescent probe for deep tissue penetration, photodynamic, photothermal and diagnostic applications.

Abstract of the Research

Metal Nanoclusters (NCs) composed of the least number of atoms (few to tens) became very attractive for their emerging properties owing to their ultrasmall size. Preparing copper nanoclusters (Cu NCs) in an aqueous medium with high emission properties, strong colloidal stability, and low toxicity has been a long-standing challenge. Although they are earth-abundant and inexpensive, they are comparatively less explored due to their limitations such as ease of surface oxidation, poor colloidal stability, and high toxicity. To overcome these constraints, we established a facile synthetic route by optimizing the reaction parameters, especially altering the effective concentration of the reducing agent to influence their optical characteristics. The improvement of photoluminescence intensity and superior colloidal stability was modelled from a theoretical standpoint. Moreover, the as-synthesized Cu NCs showed a significant reduction of toxicity in both in vitro and in vivo models. The possibilities of using such Cu NCs as a diagnostic probe towards C. elegans were explored. Also, the extension of this approach towards improving the photoluminescence intensity of the Cu NCs on other ligand systems was demonstrated.

Research SRMAP

The Department of Chemistry is glad to announce that Assistant Professor Dr Nimai Mishra and his research group Manoj Palabathuni, Syed Akhil, and Rahul Singh have published an article titled “Charge Transfer in Photoexcited Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals: Review of Materials and Applications” in the Q1 journal “ACS Applied Nano Materials ” published by The American Chemical Society. The journal has an Impact Factor of 6.14.

Cesium Lead Halide (CsPbX3) perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) have attracted significant views from researchers due to their essential optoelectronic properties, especially long charge carrier transfer, high efficiency in visible light absorption, and long excited states lifetime, etc. Because of these properties, these materials exhibit outstanding charge transfer and charge separation, which enables them for solar cell applications. Recently, cesium lead halide perovskites have emerged as photocatalysts. In photovoltaics or photocatalysis, upon photoexcitation, the exciton dissociates, and the electron/hole is transmitted from the conduction/valance bands to the electron/hole acceptors. Therefore, it is essential to understand how the charge transfer occurs at the PNCs interface, which can help the researcher maximize the output in solar cells and photocatalytic efficiency.

In this article, Dr Mishra’s research group has outlined different charge transfer dynamics based on critical factors and discussed their optoelectronic properties. Electron/hole transfer dynamics are the most concerning characteristic; thus, they reviewed the relevant literature that reported efficient electron/hole transfer performance. In the end, they highlighted the recent development of the use of perovskite nanocrystal as photocatalyst in organic synthesis.

Read the full paper here