Dr Nimai Mishra, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, along with his research group comprising of students pursuing PhD under him, Mr Syed Akhil and Ms V G Vasavi Dutt have published a research article titled “Surface Modification for Improving Photoredox Activity of CsPbBr3 Nanocrystals” in the Journal “Nanoscale Advances” (The Royal Society of Chemistry).

Inorganic lead halide perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) are used in photocatalytic reactions in the modern era. The surface chemistry of the PNCs can play an important role in the excited state interactions and efficient charge transfer with redox molecules. In this work, Dr Mishra’s research group explored the impact of CsPbBr3 nanocrystal surface modification on the excited state interactions with the electron acceptor benzoquinone (BQ) for three different ligand environments: as oleic acid/oleylamine (OA/OAm), oleic acid (OA)/ trioctylphosphine (TOP), and oleic acid (OA)/ oleylamine (OAm)/ trioctylphosphine (TOP) ligands.

The research infers that amine-free PNCs (OA/TOP capped) exhibit the best-excited state interactions with benzoquinone as compared to the conventional oleylamine ligand environment. The photoinduced electron transfer (PET) rate constants were measured from PL-lifetime decay measurement. The amine-free PNCs show the highest PET which is 9 times higher than conventional ligands capped PNCs. These results highlight the impact of surface chemistry on excited-state interactions of CsPbBr3 NCs and in photocatalytic applications.

More importantly, this work concludes that amine-free PNCs maintain a redox-active surface with a high photoinduced electron transfer rate which makes them an ideal candidate for photocatalytic applications.

To read the full paper: Please Click Here

Dr Jatindra Kumar Dash, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, has recently published a paper, “Content-based image retrieval system for HRCT lung images: Assisting radiologists in self-learning and diagnosis of Interstitial Lung Diseases” in the reputed Springer Journal- Multimedia Tools and Applications. The research has been carried out in collaboration with Prof. Sudipta Mukhopadhyay, IIT Kharagpur and Professor & Head, Department of RADIO DIAGNOSIS & IMAGING, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

Content-based Image Retrieval (CBIR) is a technique that can exploit the wealth of the data stored in the repository and help radiologists in decision making by providing references to the image in hand. A CBIR system for High-Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) lung images depicting the sign of Interstitial Lung Diseases (ILDs) is built, and the system can be used as a self-learning tool by budding radiologists. The system is built by addressing several challenges using advanced machine learning techniques. The objective of this work is to develop a CBIR system for ILDs that is reliable and needs minimal human intervention for ling disease diagnosis.

The system developed will act as a helping tool for radiologist by providing a second opinion for the diagnosis of a diverse group of lung diseases called Interstitial Lung Disease. It will help the budding radiologist for self-learning. When used in daily medical practice, the system may reduce the workload of radiologists in countries, having a low number of physicians per inhabitants.

Dr Dash is associated with SRM University-AP for almost three years. His research interests include Content-Based Image Retrieval, Medical Image Analysis and Texture Analysis. He has currently employed his time into the design and development of a Computer-Aided Diagnosis System for Lung Cancer Screening.

Read More: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11042-020-10173-4

Prof Ranjit Thapa, Professor, Department of Physics, SRM University – AP, Andhra Pradesh has been awarded a first-year grant of Rs 28 Lakhs by the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITy), Government of India. Prof Ranjit will be working on the project titled “Catalysts for CO2 Reduction to C2 Product: Descriptor to Database” as the project leader. He has started the work to search for the best catalyst to convert CO2 into useful product and hence solving the problem of climate change due to large production of CO2 through different sources.

CO2 is a known greenhouse gas and key reason for global warming and climate change. Can we challenge mother nature by converting CO2, a greenhouse gas into energy with the required efficiency? This is a mystery and a mammoth problem and a much-needed problem to be solved with a fundamental approach. Prof Ranjit Thapa believes that metal nanocatalyst on support materials can solve the problem and can increase the efficiency of CO2 reduction to C2 products, viz., ethylene (C2H4) and ethanol (C2H5OH). An experimental approach to find the best catalyst for CO2 reduction needs enormous funds and trials, and a long time is required to develop the exact catalyst for industry application. The mammoth task is to find the suitable composition, shape, and size of metal nanoparticle (MNP) on an appropriate surface for the catalytic reactions. Prof. Ranjit proposes that this can be achieved by computational modelling using Density Functional Theory (DFT) through finding and estimating the electronic descriptor and revealing active sites through structure-activity relations. Recent progress in Machine Learning (ML) for materials with DFT modelling drives towards rational design of catalysts. The electronic descriptor, storage of MNP/support information in the database followed by prediction using Machine Learning (using predictive model equation) will help to narrow down the search for the best catalyst for CO2 reduction to C2 species.

Further, Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, SRM University – AP, Andhra Pradesh received Rs 19.92 Lakhs as the first instalment from DST-National Supercomputing Mission (NSM). His project’s primary focus will be on understanding the critical factors that influence the performance of organic solar cells. Using the supercomputer, his research group will model the electronic process that occurs during solar cell operation. The outcome of this project will guide experimentalists to develop organic solar cells with higher efficiency. Organic solar cells are flexible, lightweight, and low-cost and have many exciting applications in wearable electronic devices, smart windows, etc.

Prof V S Rao, Vice-Chancellor, SRM University – AP, and Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro Vice-Chancellor, SRM University – AP congratulated Prof Ranjit Thapa and Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva. Prof Narayana Rao said, “Necessary facilities and support will be provided by the University to effectively carry out the two projects.”

Prof C Durga Rao (Principal Investigator), Professor, Department of Biology, and Associate Dean, Sciences, Department of Biology, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh has received a total outlay of Rs. 1,10,52,941/- from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, to work on the project titled “Understanding the molecular basis for the extreme differential level of expression of genes from human and animal rotaviruses in gene-transfected cells: Implications for improving the growth of human vaccine strains”. Using the grant, the professor will be spawning the appropriate facilities to perform cell culture and virus-related research at SRM University-AP.

Understanding how a virus overpowers the host resistance mechanisms and seizes the host cellular processes for its own growth is very challenging and is essential for the development of not only efficient viral vaccines but also for antiviral therapeutic strategies. Prof Durga Rao informs, “Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe and acute dehydrating diarrhoea in infants and children below 5 years of age. Efforts by us and Dr Bhan, former Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, led to the discovery and development of the first made in India rotavirus vaccine, produced by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad.”

In the earlier project, the professor Rao observed that while some human rotaviral proteins could be expressed at high levels when the cloned genes were introduced into mammalian cells, other proteins could not be expressed at detectable levels. However, the virus expresses copious amounts of all its proteins when it infects the cells. Prof Durga Rao further shares, “Within a few hours of infection, each virus employs several ploys in the infected cell to subvert the cellular defence and regulatory mechanisms and captures the host for its own progeny production.”

Based on the earlier observations, this project will advance to unravel the tricks employed by the virus, and viral transactions in the infected cells. The outcome of the project will have implications for genetically engineering the poorly growing human vaccine strains for their efficient growth in cell culture, leading to reduced cost of not only rotavirus vaccines, but also other viral vaccines.

Dr Nimai Mishra, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, accompanied by his research group encompassing students pursuing PhD under him, Mr. Syed Akhil and Ms. V.G.Vasavi Dutt have published a comprehensive mini-review titled “Amine-Free Synthesis of Colloidal Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals” in the Journal “ChemNanoMat” (Wiley-VCH) with an Impact Factor of 3.4.

Colloidal cesium lead halide (CsPbX3) perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) are emerging disciplines in research aided by their exceptional optical properties and remarkable colour tunability. Oleic acid and oleylamine are the frequently used surface capping ligands in colloidal CsPbX3 synthesis. The oleylamine plays an important role in surface passivation and maintaining colloidal stability. However, in the long run, it is accountable for poor colloidal stability because of the facile proton exchange. This heralds to the formation of labile oleylammonium halide, which removes the halide ions from the Nanocrystals’ surface.

Leveraging on the synthetic toolboxes developed from decades of research into more traditional semiconductor nanocrystals, lately, researchers are focusing on creating various amine‐free synthesis approaches to improve the colloidal and photostability of CsPbX3 perovskite NCs. In this paper, Dr Mishra and his team encapsulated various amine‐free based synthetic routes of CsPbX3 (X=Cl, Br, I) PNCs that have been reported so far. They reviewed this progress in terms of their underlying synthetic approaches, and post‐synthetic treatment steps.

Furthermore, Dr Mishra and his group analyzed the prospects of these perovskite nanocrystals in terms of their photo‐luminescence properties and device performances. Advancing, a deeper understanding of the role of precursors and ligands will significantly bolster the versatility of these amine‐free PNC materials.

To read the full paper: Please Click Here

Nikhila Korivi offers revolutionary approach to ensure Data Security

Nikhila Korivi, third year, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM University- AP, Andhra Pradesh was steered by Dr Manikandan V M, Assistant Professor, Department of CSE, to present the pioneering research paper “Reversible Data hiding in encrypted images using checkerboard based pixel inversion” in the IEEE International Conference on Computing, Communication and Security (ICCCS-2020), IIT Patna, held on October 14-16, 2020.

Nikhila and her mentor, Dr Manikandan V M, worked on the paper conjointly for which, she is profoundly grateful to the professor. She says, “I thank Dr Manikandan and my other professors at SRM University-AP for their continuedguidance that inspired me to do research. Their encouragement propelled me to successfully present the research paper at ICCCS-2020, a conference revered by the entire scientific community.”

Nikhila has been keen on exploring and broadening her horizon of knowledge. Right from her early undergraduate days, Nikhila was intrigued by Information Security, an emerging discipline in the modern era. Soon she recognized that Reversible Data Hiding is an active research area in the realm of Information Security, which has extensive application in Medical Image Transmission, and Cloud Computing.

On approaching her professor, Dr Manikandan enthused Nikhila to embark on the research work and propose a new Reversible Data Hiding scheme in encrypted images by using a checkerboard pattern-based pixel inversion technique. Nikhila informs, “The proposed scheme ensures a better bit error rate without compromising on the embedding rate. The algorithms were implemented using Matlab-2019 and the experimental studies of the proposed scheme have been carried out using a standard image dataset (USC-SIPI) managed by the University of Southern California.”

This revolutionary approach is immensely beneficial when it comes to Data Security, and it is widely implemented in medical image transmission along with many other sectors. Fostering her interest in pursuing research and advanced studies, Nikhila plans to enhance her research work by focusing on designing and developing new Reversible Data Hiding schemes with better embedding rates without compromising other efficiency parameters such as computational complexity, robustness, and bit error rate.

Converting waste to fuel: way forward to a resilient planet

Dr Lakhveer Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science published a book titled “Waste to Sustainable Energy: MFCs – Prospects through Prognosis”. This book has been featured in the list of Best Waste Management books of all time by CNN, Forbes, and Inc-Book Authority. The book has been awarded this stature by venerated reviewers of the International Expert Committee, as well as global leaders of the discipline.

A Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) bio-refinery treat water using microorganisms and converts waste products and byproducts into fuel. This entails efficient waste management along with contributing to the generation of renewable fuel, and products that foster sustainable development. Addressing the present challenges in waste management, bioenergy, bioproduct recovery, and commercial sustainability, this book on MFCs emphasize on an array of mechanisms, routes, and reaction engineering approaches for extensive transformation of waste to wealth.

Extensive use of fossil fuels for energy emits carbon dioxide and other harmful gases adversely affecting the environment and leading to soaring global warming. Subsequently, domestic, agricultural waste products from animal facilities, refineries, and industries cause a tremendous environmental burden. Energy systems from MFCs enable the treatment and recycling of wastes, preventing environmental problems, and offsetting the pollution loads. Dr Lakhveer informs, “We are aiming at ensuring a sustainable and resilient environment that eliminates any potential odds of future climate change. Though globalization has preceded the escalation in production processes, a significant quantum of the waste materials generated through these practices can be transformed into fuels with the help of MFCs. Efficacies of this mechanism would ensure a paradigm shift built on the principles of sustainability.”

This book focuses on the MFCs with various combinations of substrates generating bioelectricity with valued co-products. Essentially, the book provides fundamental ideas on MFC technologies, entailing various design and modeling aspects with examples. Further, the book illustrates distinctive aspects of basic sciences, reactor configuration, application, and market feasibility of MFCs. Critically assessing the feasibility of waste-powered MFCs for sustainable bioenergy production, the book highlights the tradeoff between resource needs and energy production. The extensive research and details in the book will help academicians, entrepreneurs, and industrialists to understand the scope and challenges empowering them to select unique, and specific integrated approaches in unit processes.

Advancing his research to mitigate environmental issues, Dr Lakhveer will continue to explore bioenergy, water treatment, bioelectrochemical systems, and nanomaterial synthesis for energy and water applications, and bioreactors development. Also, he is presently editing two books that address several environmental challenges.

Dr Anil K Suresh is a renowned scientist in the area of Bio-Nanotechnology . The prestigious Ramalingaswami Fellow is now an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, SRM University-AP. He recently developed an innovative catalyst that he named “Jumbo Catalyst” to address the demanding challenges in heterogeneous catalysis. This 3D-megacatalyst generated using “intact eggshell” food-waste is hand-removable with an overall surface area of ~ 78 cm2, featuring wide catalytic support and is highly stable in polar and non-polar solvents for ultra-efficient heterogeneous catalysis. This megacatalyst can overcome the existing limitations such as cost, time, labour, sustainability, mechanical stability, diverse-reactions, large-volumes, aggregation, recyclability and precursor recovery. Dr Anil K Suresh owns the copyrights for this pathbreaking invention through a published patent.

Catalysis is widely used in various industrial processes to produce desired end products. Research in this area substantially evolved from using organic reagents and metals to the adaptation of metal-based nanoparticles. Supported catalysis is a fast-emerging class of catalysis using inert and supportive frameworks with a potential for efficient reuse and recovery of the catalyst. Synthesis of metal-organic frameworks, fibres, polymers and hydrogel-based catalytic nanoparticle loadings are being reported. However, these are associated with intrinsic complexities and are produced using toxic ingredients, ecologically unbenign and are expensive.

The megacatalyst, generated by Dr Anil and his team using eggshell food-waste in the process, is autogenic, facile, cost-efficient and entirely biodegradable. Dr Anil strongly believes that theirs is the biggest catalyst developed so far. The intact eggshell provides an extensive support area for ultra-efficient catalysis. Applicability of this megacatalyst is so simple that even a layman can use it with ease. Moreover, this supported megacatalyst can be effortlessly removed from the reaction mixture post application as it can be recovered by hand. Catalytic reactions using the megacatalyst can be controlled as the tuff, and uniform coating protects the shedding of nanoparticles. Dr Anil Says, “We presume that the mega-size of the catalyst could be instrumental in several challenging applications. As a proof of concept, we selected three eclectic applications including- 1. Large volume sewage dye degradations, 2. Gram-scale hydrogenation of nitroarenes and 3. Transesterification of used oil to biodiesel- which are all difficult to achieve, highly challenging but are now practically feasible using our megacatalyst.”

“Keeping in mind the ultra-catalytic proficiency of our catalyst that can be simply resourced from continuously available eggshell waste, with minimal maintenance for the large scale practical implementation, we welcome interested beneficiaries from diverse heterogeneous catalysis sectors for bringing this innovation to execution,” Dr Anil asserted.

The team is currently investigating to design and fabricate other species of megacatalyst using other significant metal precursors and earth-abundant metals to expand the applicability in allowance of diverse reactions such as oxidation of CO, Methane, Mono/Polyhydric alcohols, hydrogenation of alkynes, Nitroaromatics and CO2.
Dr Anil K. Suresh concluded that this breakthrough conception would not have been possible without the rigorous efforts of his team and the continuous support from the university management. Dr Anil Suresh thanked his PhD students Chandra Bhatt, Divya Parimi, Tharun Bollu and Madhura. Dr Anil especially thanked Professor D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, SRM University-AP for his extensive support in all his scientific endeavours since his association with the university.

Advancing the celebration, Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro Vice-Chancellor, SRM AP took the virtual podium to comment “Science and Technology is the driving force for the economic development of India. We need to encourage young scholars by providing a vibrant and conducive research environment. Expanding the frontiers of knowledge by triggering interest among students must be the priority of the institutions. Also, focus should be on translational research with societal applications through collaborative research to make our nation a global leader.”

The team comprises of undergraduate students – Mr Raviteja Reddy, Mr A Chaitanya, Mr P M Aditya, Mr K Praveen, K Yeshashwini, A Sravya, K Vasu, and G Priyanka along with faculty members – Dr Venkata N Nori, Associate Professor, and Dr Panchagnula Jayaprakash Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Aditya reveals, “We endured several challenges in various aspects of retrofitting the conventional petrol motorcycle. Also, designing a portable battery system, enhancing the performance of the Hub motor, Chassis improvements, etc. enriched our understanding of electric vehicles and manufacturing techniques.”

Conversion of IC engine bike to an e-bike is considered to be a potential business venture by the team. Sharing their forthcoming plans, Aditya informs, “We are working on additional designs and ideas to incorporate the best possible features to make the e-bike more reliable. We heartily thank Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro Vice-Chancellor, for his continuous support. Also, Dr Venkata Nori and Dr Jayaprakash propelled us to create a steadfast model by relentlessly helping us in improving our design to make our model more cost-effective.”

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Prof Siva Sankar Y, Professor & Head, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh published a research paper titled “60 GHz common gate single stage current reuse cascode LNA topology for high data rate applications” in the Journal of Electronic Materials. In the recent era, wireless communication has become essential in the lives of mankind. The data transfer rate of wireless systems varies from a few kilobits per second (kbps) to gigabits per second (Gbps), and the distance of communication supported by these technologies fluctuate from a few meters to kilometers.

Gbps transmission entails the transfer of huge data between different devices such as high-definition (HD) video cameras, smartphones, HD set-top boxes, HD DVD players, and high-definition printers. Realizing Gpbs transmission requires operating frequency of several tens of GHz to hundreds of GHz. To meet the escalating demand for high data transfer rates, wireless technologies are penetrating the millimeter wave technology domain, which supports transmission data rates up to Gbps within small distances.

Layout of the proposed circuitMillimeter (mm) wave spectrum can be used for such high-speed wireless communication. Dr Siva Sankar informs, “One of the major challenges in realizing mm wave based transceivers is the design of the CMOS analog RF components. In the design of CMOS RF components, power dissipation, and speed are the two important and conflicting factors that lay stringent requirements on RF design. In our work, RF component design has been used in mmWave transceivers.”

Dr Siva Sankar and his research group developed a high frequency, low noise LNA that can be used in mmWave transceivers to facilitate high data transfer rates. The professor explains, “The designed LNA can be used in mm wave transceivers. The speed (operating frequency) of these components is chosen to be 60GHz because the spectrum around 60GHz is available for unlicensed operation in many regulatory domains including the USA, Japan, Canada and Australia.”. Advancing the research, Dr Siva Sankar and his research group will focus on high speed RF components such as mixers, PLL, and others to realize 60 GHz.