The Department of Physics is glad to announce that Dr Soumyajyoti Biswas, Assistant Professor, has published a paper titled ” Near universal values of social inequality indices in self-organized critical models” in the journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications having an impact factor of 3.263. This research was done in collaboration with Prof S S Manna of S N Bose National Center for Basic Sciences and Prof B K Chakrabarti of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.
It is well known that wealth invariably accumulates only in a few hands while a majority of the world continues to remain poor. In economics, it is quantified in Pareto’s 80-20 law (20% of people possess 80% of wealth) or ‘The Law of the Vital Few’. This research reveals that the implication of this law goes far beyond the socio-economic systems. It is also a crucial indicator of the onset of critical phenomena in a wide class of physical systems.
It has been observed that in the dynamics of disordered systems, such as fracture and breakdown of solids, slowly increasing the external force produces acoustic emissions (crackling noise), the sizes of which follow Pareto-like behaviour (most noises are weak, only a few are strong that results in the breakdown). Quantifications of these “inequalities” in these physical systems reveal some universal characteristics in a wide class of models, known as self-organized critical systems.
The main implication of this observation lies in predicting catastrophic breakdown in disordered systems. Applications of these inequality measures, which are traditionally in the domain of social sciences, have proved to be immensely useful in identifying the approaching breakdown points in the models of disordered systems. Given that the methods are applicable to a wide variety of models, the 80-20 law has the potential for a wide range of applications. Dr Biswas and his PhD student Diksha are currently working with a team in Spain on experimental data and studying these inequalities in real systems.Continue reading →
The research at the Department of Physics is currently focusing on developing new theoretical frameworks to revamp the fundamental concepts that describe the origin of the universe. Assistant Professor Dr Amit Chakraborty has published a paper titled Revisiting Jet Clustering Algorithms for New Higgs Boson Searches in the Hadronic Final States in the European Physical Journal C, with an Impact Factor of 4.59.
Displaced signatures originating from the pair production of a supersymmetric particle, called sneutrino, at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are studied. The theoretical model considered in this work is the Next-to-Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model supplemented with right-handed neutrinos triggering a Type-I seesaw mechanism. The research has shown how such signatures can be established through a heavy Higgs portal when the sneutrinos are decaying to charged leptons and charginos giving rise to further leptons or hadrons. The research also illustrated how the Yukawa parameters of neutrinos can be extracted by measuring the lifetime of the sneutrino from the displaced vertices, thereby characterising the dynamics of the underlying mechanism of neutrino mass generation.
Explanation of the research
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is currently the remarkably successful theory to describe the basic building blocks of the universe and their interactions with the three fundamental forces of nature. Despite its success at explaining the universe, the Standard Model does have several limitations. For example, how neutrinos get their mass, why the mass spectrum of the different elements of SM fermions, namely quarks and leptons, are so hierarchical, why the Higgs boson mass is so low, etc. The primary research is to understand these issues and then propose theoretical models which circumvent these shortcomings of SM and provide signatures that can be tested in the ongoing or future proposed experiments.
For this research project, Dr Amit Chakraborty have collaborated with Particle Physics Department, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK and School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, UK. His broad research interest is to perform theoretical studies of physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM) in particular, collider search strategies and prospects of different BSM models at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and future proposed collider experiments. He aims to build new theoretical models, develop new techniques/tools, and devise new search strategies to improve our knowledge of the standard model as well as BSM physics processes.
Dr Amit Chakraborty’s future research topics include Higgs Boson Physics and Beyond Standard Model Physics Phenomenology, Dark Matter at the Colliders, Interpretable Machine Learning techniques in BSM Physics, and Ultra-light particles and Physics Beyond the Colliders.
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Assistant professors Dr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay and Dr Imran Pancha from the Department of Physics and the Department of Biological Sciences, respectively, along with Ms Ashwini Nawade, a PhD student of the Department of Physics, have developed a method to integrate plant proteins in the solid-state electronic circuits and utilize the biological functionality to produce a thin film, cost-effective photodetector. Their paper entitled Electron Transport across Phycobiliproteins Films and its’ Optoelectronic Properties has been published in the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology with an Impact Factor of 2.07. It is an interdisciplinary research project between the Department of Biotechnology and Physics.
Explanation of the research
Biomolecules such as proteins, peptides being the most crucial life-forms, have an intimate relationship with various life activities for biological functions. The contemporary work with biomolecules mainly focuses on its evolving potential associated with nanoscale electronics where proteins and peptides are integrated as sensing materials. The researchers explored the optoelectronics functionality of combined proteins known as phycobiliproteins. They investigated electron transport behavior across the phycobiliproteins films under dark and white light illumination. The research affirms that the photochemical activity of the protein is more stable in a solid-state/ thin-film with tightly bonded water molecules than its presence in a buffer solution. Furthermore, the studies demonstrate that phycobiliproteins films modulate their electrical conductivity within their different conformation states. Researchers speculate that the electrical conductance variation could originate from the chemical alteration of cysteine-conjugated bilin chromophores to protein and the electrostatic environment around the chromophores.
The research explores the photochemical properties and electrical transport efficiency of phycobiliproteins (PBPs) films. In addition, it investigates the optoelectronics functionality of PBPs films by studying electron transport behavior across the protein films under a dark state and white light illumination. The researchers proposed to develop a photodetector with the protein film in the future.Continue reading →
Dr Soumyajyoti Biswas, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, had two lucky breaks as he got his article “Kinetic Exchange Models of Societies and Economies” featured in the prestigious journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, the theme issue co-edited by Dr Biswas himself, along with Dr Guiseppe Toscani from the University of Pavia, and Dr Parongama Sen from the University of Calcutta. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society has the prestige of being the world’s longest-running science journal launched in 1665. Publishing high-quality theme issues on topics of current importance and general interest within the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences, the journal continues its history of influential scientific publishing.
A kinetic model of binary interaction, with conserving or non-conserving exchange, has been an elegant and powerful tool to explain collective phenomena in myriad human interaction-based problems, where an energy consideration for dynamics is generally inaccessible. Nonetheless, in this age of Big Data, seeking empirical regularities emerging out of collective responses is a prominent and essential approach, much like the empirical thermodynamic principles preceding quantitative foundations of statistical mechanics.
Through this theme issue, the authors intend to bring together the current progress in the applications of kinetic exchange models in various applications of societies (opinion formations, rating, social networks, fake news, etc.) and economies (inequality measures, taxation, trade models, behavioral economics, etc.) using numerical simulations, machine learning techniques, analytical methods, and data analysis, reported by physicists, social scientists, mathematicians and economists through some of the original and reviewed articles.
In human interactions, such as a trade (exchange of money) or, discussions or debates (exchange of opinions), following simple dynamical rules, a collection of agents (a society) shows emergent properties that are widely seen in real data (distributions of wealth, formation of consensus, etc.). Without knowing the complexities that are involved at the individual levels, it is, therefore, possible to understand the average properties of the society as a whole. This is reminiscent of simple elastic collisions of ideal gas molecules that give average thermodynamic properties, such as temperature, pressure, etc. without knowing the complexities of the individual atoms. This has been a widely followed route to formulate statistical physical models of societies and economies.
The kinetic exchange models have been a very successful set of tools to understand the socio-economic emergent properties from simple models. Among other things, these models helped understand the growth of economic inequalities, the effects of taxes as well as the spread of opinions. A close quantitative resemblance with real data from various countries of the world demonstrates its usefulness.
The future prospects of the kinetic exchange models for societies and economies include possible predictions of extreme fluctuations in average measurable quantities by looking at the inequality of time series data. The models can help us in identifying the features of the real data that can mirror the underlying extreme fluctuations.Continue reading →
Studies and research on air pollution have sparked worldwide interest in the recent decades to overcome the imminent threat of air pollution. The air filtration mechanism is one of the efficient ways to capture particulate matter (PM) and purify the air. An innovatory air filtration mechanism blending polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) polymer nanofibers has been proposed by Prof Ranjit Thapa and his PhD scholar Deepak S Gavali from the Department of Physics.
The paper “Low Basis Weight Polyacrylonitrile/Polyvinylpyrrolidone Blended Nanofiber Membranes for Efficient Particulate Matter Capture” was published in collaboration with Applied NanoPhysics Laboratory, Department of Physics and Nanotechnology, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur. It was featured in the journal ‘ACS Applied Polymer Materials’ having an Impact Factor of 4.09.
In the twenty-first century, air pollution is a major problem facing human and environmental health. Every year, millions of people die, mostly in developing nations, owing to the aggravating level of air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92 per cent of the people live in places where the air quality level has crossed the WHO limits. Particulate matter (PM) (solid or liquid particles with different aerodynamic diameters), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and others are the relevant air contaminants.
In low-income cities, the effect of PM 2.5 pollution is high due to high urban air pollution. Even at very low concentrations, PM 2.5 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 µm) pollution has health consequences. Air filtration is one of the best remedies to tackle such problems and maintain a clean environment for humans. Among the available air filter materials, fiber-based air filters have proven to be the most potentially effective treatment, due to their high porosity, high surface area, lightweight, etc.
This study relies on a careful design that blends PAN and PVP fibers. The resultant nanofiber material is utilized to overcome the low air pressure resistance issue with high filtration efficiency. Large-scale free-standing nanofibers were obtained by a simple peeling-off process. The morphology, chemical interaction between the filter media and PM pollutant; and filtration properties were investigated. Compared to commercial mask, the semi- high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter media, PAN/PVP filter medium showed superior performance in PM 2.5 filtration. Furthermore, the intermolecular interactions between PMs and nanofibers were analyzed by DFT calculations. With constant optimization of synthesis conditions, the synthesized air filters achieved high filtration efficiency for PM removal and showed great potential for practical application.
Abstract of the Research
Particulate matter (PM) in air frequently poses a serious threat to human health. Smaller PM can easily enter into the alveolus and blood vessels with airflow. This work reports the first polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) polymer blend nanofiber filter media for effectively capturing PM. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are used to investigate the effect of the blending of two polymers on the dipole moment and the electrostatic potential. Based on the DFT calculations of the intermolecular interactions between nanofibers and PM, the PAN/PVP heteromolecular percentage is considered for experimental synthesis, which can provide better performance in the filtration of pollutants. The composite PAN/PVP fiber network was successfully developed and optimized to cope with complex environments during the actual filtration process. The role of the blending ratio of PAN and PVP in wt % was explored on PM 2.5 capture, and the refined ratio overcame the conflict between high filtration efficiency and low air pressure resistance. The air filter medium PAN/PVP (6:2) possesses an extremely high air filtration efficiency of 92% under a very low pressure drop of 18 Pa for a 0.5 g m–2 basis weight. Both polar and nonpolar functional groups in blend nanofibers promoted significantly the electrostatic attraction and improved the filtration efficiency under static and dynamic airflow. The PAN/PVP nanofiber membranes maintain outstanding air filtration under different temperature and humidity conditions. This study will shed light on the fabrication of high-efficiency low-basis weight nanofiber filter media as an end product.Continue reading →