Birck Nanotechnology Center

Purdue research team leads nanomaterials conference in India

July 25, 2008

A research team from Purdue University's Discovery Park will travel to India next month to lead a joint India-United States workshop on how advancements in nanotechnology are helping address growing energy needs.

The conference, scheduled for Aug. 19-21 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, will focus on how to improve the energy transport, conversion and efficiency of nanomaterials. A session on Aug. 21, hosted by General Electric Co.'s John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, will highlight industry-university research partnerships.

 

"This workshop will bring together researchers in India, the United States and industry to initiate collaborative projects in nanomaterials for advancing energy science and technology," said Pankaj Sharma, associate director of operations and international affairs for Discovery Park. "This event also highlights Discovery Park's international efforts that are stimulating business opportunities and partnerships in India and at Purdue."

 

Pankaj Sharma
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The workshop, "Scalable Nanomaterials for Enhanced Energy Transport, Conversion and Efficiency," is co-sponsored by the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum.

The three-day conference features lectures and panel discussions on the energy transport, conversion and storage processes of nanomaterials, scalable synthesis of nanomaterials, functionalization and heterogeneous materials integration for energy, and nanomaterials and devices for clean energy and energy conservation, Sharma said.

U.S. researchers from Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Northwestern universities, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Purdue are participating in the workshop.

Joining them are researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Central Electrochemical Research Institute in Karaikudi, the Satyendar Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences in Kolkata, and the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai, Chennai and Kanpur.

"The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre's mandate is to pursue and promote world-class research and training in science and engineering, and this workshop with Purdue helps us advance that mission," said professor G.U. Kulkarni, a nanotechnology researcher affiliated with the Chemistry and Physics of Materials Unit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.

Kulkarni, the 2006 recipient of the B.M. Birla Science Prize, and professor Umesh Waghmare of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre's Theoretical Sciences Unit are the conference's technical co-organizers from India.

Nanomaterials, defined as synthetic particles or fibers less than 100 nanometers in diameter, have applications in a wide range of everyday objects. Carbon nanotubes, for example, are used as conductive wires, and polymer-based nanocomposites and nanostructured ceramics have fire resistant, conductivity and stiffness properties.

Purdue mechanical engineering professor Timothy Fisher, who leads the thermalHUB project at Discovery Park, spent five months in late 2007 and early 2008 in Bangalore collaborating on carbon nanotube research with professor C.N.R. Rao, honorary president of the Jawaharlal Nehru Center. Purdue graduate student Kyle Smith of the Birck Nanotechnology Center accompanied Fisher during the sabbatical visit.

Through a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation, Fisher and 20 other researchers are developing thermalHUB.org, an Internet-based science gateway that provides access to advanced simulation and software tools for scientists in heat transfer.

The thermalHUB project is modeled after nanoHUB.org, an Internet portal for nanotechnology developed by researchers at Purdue's Network for Computational Nanotechnology, also based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center.

"Through various research activities at Purdue and the new thermalHUB, we are extending our reach into the research communities for nanotechnology and energy by providing convenient global access to information, computing and communications resources," Fisher said. "This workshop in India provides a venue to share best practices and learning tools with the international community, from students to experienced engineers and scientists in industry and academia."

In addition to Fisher and Sharma, Purdue will send more than 20 student and faculty participants to India including Timothy Sands, director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Basil S. Turner Professor of Materials Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering; and Supriyo Datta, the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics and Computing at Purdue.

A Purdue contingent signed an agreement with India's Department of Science and Technology in February 2007 to establish research collaborations and exchanges of researchers, students and faculty.

As a follow-up to that visit, Professor Rao, who also is chairman of the Science Advisory Council to India's prime minister, was the keynote speaker for a June 18 Discovery Lecture Series event that focused on India-U.S. research collaborations.

Sharma also led a Purdue team for a symposium on bionanotechnology and pharmaceuticals in March in Hyderabad, India. Other collaborative research workshops are planned for 2009.

Discovery Park, Purdue's hub for translational interdisciplinary research, is home to 11 research centers focusing on life sciences, advanced manufacturing, the environment and cancer care to health-care engineering, entrepreneurship, nanotechnology and energy.

 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

 

Sources: Pankaj Sharma, (765) 496-7452,sharma@purdue.edu

G.U. Kulkarni, 91-80-22082814, kulkarni@jncasr.ac.in

Timothy Fisher, (765) 494-5627, tsfisher@purdue.edu

Umesh Waghmare, 91-80-2208 2842,waghmare@jncasr.ac.in

 

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Media representatives who want to talk to workshop organizers before the event next month can contact Phillip Fiorini at (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu. Arrangements also can be made to talk to Purdue researchers while they are in India for the workshop.

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