Carbon based Hierarchical Structures
We synthesize a variety of carbon micro- and nano- structures using sol-gel emulsion, electrospinning, pyrolysis and chemical vapor deposition technique. A large number of polymer precursors such as photoresists, organic gels, and polymers are employed to yield carbon structures. Polymer structures and thin films are patterned and miniaturized to fabricate three dimensional carbon surfaces upon pyrolysis. Our group is engaged in using these hierarchical carbon structures and surfaces for various applications notably as anode materials for Lithium ion battery, biosensors and water and air purification.
Electrospinning is a technique to fabricate nanofibers by applying high voltage to a polymer solution. We work with different polymers (PS, PAN, PMMA, Cellulose etc.) and Block co-polymers (PS-b-PMMA) to obtain the electrospun nanofibers. These electrospun nanofibers are then functionalized to provide the additional features such as porosity, core and shell morphology, hollow fibers, alignment, pyrolysis to yield carbon nanofibers etc. for specific applications. Some of these applications being pursued in our group include using them as electrode material for energy storage devices, biosensors, environmental pollution control and health related issues.
Nature-inspired Functional SurfacesNature inspires us to solve our complex problems in many different ways, may it be birds flying, or cactus surviving in the desert. In our group we focus on structural functionalities as provided by Nature such as self-cleaning, superhydrophobicity and optical activity. We either replicate (biomimicking) the hierarchical structural patterns by soft lithography or fabricate them (bio-inspiration) using variety of micro- and nano-fabrication tools. While superhydrophobic polymer and carbon surfaces may be used in microfluidics, filtration and textile applications, optically active surfaces may find potential applications in solar cells, light sensitive detectors and displays