Fuel Cell Proton-Exchange Membrane

Researchers: Vinitha Johny

Current researches in this field either use bare Nafion or Nafion doped membranes as PEM. Some has increased the overall efficiency but are practically impossible in commercial aspects. This is because of unavailability of hydrogen fuel cell unit to test upon or reduced chances of experimentation in the field due to high cost. A licensed version of Ansys fluent hydrogen dedicated version can predict the efficiency of required combination PEM if modelled correctly. The more efficient hybrid nanoceramic membrane thus formed can be fabricated and tested which is possible.

Network Dynamics of Areca Nut Kernel

Researchers: Chinmay KV

Are complex patterns in life essential or just an accidental phenomenon? We have identified one such complex pattern formation in areca nuts (\Areca catechus). These pattern arises due to the biophysical-chemistry of alkaloids and other biochemicals. The internal morphology of areca nuts possess two distinctive regions in the kernel of white and brown. The complex patterns form from the maturation, and the complexity starts increasing with ageing. We have perform a detailed analysis of morphological network formation in areca nuts starting from young age groups to matured age groups using simple smartphone photography and mathematical algorithms.

Structure determination and understanding the function of Thai Sacbrood Virus

Researchers: Chinmay KV

Thai sacbrood virus (TSBV) is a variant of sacbrood virus (SBV), a viral disease affecting honey bee colonies. TSBV disease was first observed in Thailand in 1976. In 1991-92, there was an outbreak of the virus in India which resulted in the destruction of more than 90 percent of the then-existing bee colonies in south India. The disease kills bees when they are larvae, thereby reducing the population of bee colonies.

Trailblazing with Cryo Electron Microscope

Researchers: Chinmay KV

Most of the researchers uses carbon grid as support film for sample. Recent study shows gold film will give better resolution because drifting will be very less when sample is interacting with high energy electron beam so that image quality will be very good. We would like to try different methodology to prepare a support film for a sample.

UNLoC-ZiLEM: Real-Time Growth and Biomolecular Interactions of Plant Derived Zinc Oxide Nanostructures Using Universal Nanofluidic Lab-on-a-Chip in Liquid-phase Electron and Single-Molecule Fluorescence Microscopy

Echtzeit-Wachstum und biomolekulare Wechselwirkungen von pflanzlichen Zinkoxid-Nanostrukturen unter Verwendung des universellen Nanofluidik-Lab-on-a-Chip in Flüssigphasen-Elektronen- und Einzelmolekül-Fluoreszenzmikroskopie

Researchers: Chinmay KV, Tobias Meyer, Moumita Ghosh, Eswar Rao, G Mohan Rao, Michael Seibt, Cynthia A. Volkert, and Siddharth Ghosh.

Plant derived nanomaterials for healthcare use can be effective as well as environment friendly - green synthesis. However, to obtain a high yield of final nanomaterial of interest and its efficacy, a fundamental high-resolution investigation of the synthesis mechanism and synthesized materials along with their interactions with physiologically relevant biomolecules in real time are required. One such materials is zinc oxide. Its physiological relevance is extremely high – source of zinc (an essential metal for human’s biological processes) and drug delivery. Plant derived ZnO nanostructures is not new, but their growth mechanism has not been studied in real time, which can in turn provide larger yield in industrial production. ZnO being piezoelectric, its nanostructures can play some crucial roles in neuronal health beside other biological importance. UNLoC-ZiLEM integrates nanomaterial synthesis, nanofluidics, and electron-optics from India and Germany to investigate the growth of ZnO nanostructures from plant derived chemicals in real time using a universal lab-on-a-chip i.e. compatible for liquid cell electron microscopy and single-molecule confocal fluorescence microscopy. Nanomaterial synthesis of ZnO will be performed using plant metabolites. Piezoelectric effect (a potential stimulated therapy) of these nanostructures will be studied in presence of neurotransmitters and external electron fields. These can be achieved if we can create an effective nanofluidic environment to manipulate individual ZnO nanoparticles at single-particle level inside the high vacuum for electron microscopy and simultaneously, within a diffraction limited confocal volume of a laser beam. A significant amount of nanoengineering will be performed to make the nanofluidic environment universally compatible for electron-optics and light-optics - universal nanofluidic lab-on-a-chip (UNLoC).

Empowering Indian Public with Academic Research

Researchers: Sam Thomas, Chinmay KV, Varghese Kurian, VS Nihal, and Subham Ghosh.

OAR Members: Moumita Ghosh, Abhilash Asok, Nikhil Hajirnis, Balasubrah maniyam M, and Siddharth Ghosh.

Collaborator: Ian Harvey

India, the largest democracy and the 10th largest economy of the world suffer from poor healthcare. Considering the fact that only recently science communication has been taken seriously and the larger context in English due to platforms like YouTube, March for Science, and World Science Festival, 78% of the population of a country like India are hardly receiving any science. Approximately, 12% of the population of India speaks English. Having access to the internet, even sometimes 12% of English speaking population frequently faces difficulty in malpractice healthcare systems. We propose to improve and aim to solve this problem by developing didactic public teaching program with advanced but low cost biologically relevant scientific experiments in vernacular languages like Telugu, Urdu, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, and Bengali. We will work with advanced researchers, psychologists, and science teachers like Ian Harvey. Ian has a significant contribution in a Wellcome Trust funded project called TeamDeploy for making Sierra Leone ebola free. He has demonstrated that how didactic public teaching and awareness is important alongside performing diagnosis. Ian has provided all the teaching modules and reports, which will be one of the most crucial resources to us while developing region-specific teaching modules in India.

Status: PostScope has been built, tested, and advanced tests being conducted. An old electron microscope is acquired. Theoretical model of the electron microscopy methods has been discussed and being implemented.

Tenure of the project: January 2020 - December 2022.