Science, technology and innovations in India

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Electronic polymer based low-cost sensor developed to detect explosives rapidly


Posted On: 24 SEP 2021 12:57PM by PIB Delhi



Indian scientists, for the first time, have developed a thermally stable and cost-effective electronic polymer-based sensor for rapidly detecting nitro-aromatic chemicals used in high-energy explosives. The detection of explosives without destroying them is essential for protection, and criminal investigations, minefield remediation, military applications, ammunition remediation sites, security applications, and chemical sensors play a vital role in such cases.


Though explosive poly-nitroaromatic compounds can be analyzed usually by sophisticated instrumental techniques, the requirements for quick decision making in criminology laboratories or reclaimed military sites or to detect explosives in possession of extremists often require simple, cheap, and selective field techniques which will be non-destructive in nature. Non-destructive sensing of nitroaromatic chemicals (NACs) is difficult. While earlier studies are based mostly on photo-luminescent property, detection of the basis of conducting property has not been explored so far. Detection on the basis of conducting property helps in making a handy detection device where results can be seen with the help of a LED.


To overcome such disadvantages, a team of scientists led by Dr Neelotpal Sen Sarma from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Guwahati, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, has developed a layer by layer (LBL) polymer detector consisting of two organic polymers -- poly-2-vinyl pyridine with acrylonitrile (P2VP-Co-AN) and copolysulfone of cholesterol methacrylate with hexane (PCHMASH), which undergoes a drastic change in impedance (resistance in an ac circuit) in the presence of very low concentration of NACs vapour within few seconds. Here, picric acid (PA) was chosen as the model NAC, and a simple and cost-effective electronic prototype was developed for visual detection of PA. The team has filed a patent for the novel technology funded by DeitY, GoI.


“An electronic sensing device build around a polymer gas sensor can quickly detect the explosive on-site,” said Dr Neelotpal Sen Sarma.


The sensor device comprises of three layers--polymers copolysulfone of cholesteryl methacrylate along with 1-hexene (PCHMASH), and copolymer of poly-2-vinyl pyridine with acrylonitrile by sandwiching PCHMASH in between two P2VP-Co-AN outer layers by stainless steel (SS) mesh. The sensitivity of the system is determined by monitoring the change in the impedance response with time (sec) in the presence of the vapour of the analyte (picric acid).


The tri-layer polymer matrix was found to be very efficient molecular sensor for nitroaromatic chemicals. The sensor device is quite simple and reversible in nature, and its response does not alter with varying operating temperature in presence of other common chemicals and humidity.


The device can be operated at room temperature, has a low response time and negligible interference from other chemicals. The fabrication is a very simple, is negligibly affected by humidity, and the cholesterol-based polymers used are biodegradable.


https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/image/image001S9CQ.jpg



Patent details:
 

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Armed with microbes, India prepares to fight season of deadly farm fires

A proprietary microbial solution developed by the state-run Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), known as Pusa decomposer, is the best bet yet to prevent fires set by farmers to millions of acres of crop residue after summer paddy harvests, experts say.

 

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Newly devised sensor can detect explosives swiftly --India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

3-4 minutes




In a development that could be of immense use in criminal investigations, Indian scientists have come up with a thermally stable and cost-effective electronic polymer-based sensor for rapidly detecting nitro-aromatic chemicals used in high-energy explosives.

The detection of explosives without destroying them is essential for criminal investigations, minefield remediation, and several other military and security-related applications. Chemical sensors play a vital role in such cases.

Though the explosive poly-nitroaromatic compounds can be analyzed very well using sophisticated instrumental techniques, the quick decision making in criminology laboratories or reclaimed military sites, or to trace explosives in possession of extremists often require simple, cheap, and selective field techniques which will be non-destructive in nature.

In a development that could be of immense use in criminal investigations, Indian scientists have come up with a thermally stable and cost-effective electronic polymer-based sensor for rapidly detecting nitro-aromatic chemicals used in high-energy explosives.
Non-destructive sensing of nitroaromatic chemicals (NACs) is, however, difficult. Earlier studies were based mostly on photo-luminescent property. Detection based on conducting property has not been explored so far.

A team of scientists led by Dr. Neelotpal Sen Sarma from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Guwahati, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, has filled the gap.

They have developed a layer-by-layer (LBL) polymer detector. The detector consists of two organic polymers -- poly-2-vinyl pyridine with acrylonitrile (P2VP-Co-AN) and copolysulfone of cholesterol methacrylate with hexane (PCHMASH), which undergo a drastic change in impedance (resistance in an ac circuit) in the presence of even very low concentrations of nitro-aromatic compounds within few seconds. A chemical called picric acid (PA) was chosen as the model NAC, and a simple and cost-effective electronic prototype was developed for its visual detection. The study team has filed a patent for the novel technology.

The device can be operated at room temperature, has a low response time and negligible interference from other chemicals. The fabrication is simple and is negligibly affected by humidity.
 

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Large-scale reactor developed for cost-effective production of hydrogen using sunlight and water


Posted On: 29 SEP 2021 6:51PM by PIB Delhi



A team of scientists have, for the first time, developed a large-scale reactor which produces a substantial amount of hydrogen using sustainable sources like sunlight and water, which is a cost-effective and sustainable process.


India has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. To achieve this feat, in the current scenario, researchers all over the world are working towards renewable energy solutions which should be sustainable with a limited carbon footprint. One of the most economical ways to achieve this is to produce hydrogen at a large scale through photocatalytic water splitting. It is the long-term persistent solution for the growing renewable energy needs and a low-cost economic process which will benefit society in the longer term. Thus significant efforts from scientists towards achieving this goal are utmost necessary and urgent need-of-the-hour.


In this direction, Dr. Kamalakannan Kailasam and his team, including Prof. Ashok K Ganguli, Dr.Vivek Bagchi, Dr.Sanyasinaidu Boddu, Dr. Prakash P N & Dr. Menaka Jha from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India have developed a prototype reactor which operates under natural sunlight to produce hydrogen at a larger scale (around 6.1 L in 8 hours). They have used an earth-abundant chemical called carbon nitrides as a catalyst for the purpose.


The process had been attempted many times by many researchers using complex metal oxide/nitride/sulphide based heterogeneous systems but was very difficult to reproduce in large quantities. The INST team employed the low-cost organic semiconductor in carbon nitrides which can be prepared using cheaper precursors like urea and melamine at ease in a kilogram scale. When the sunlight falls on this semiconductor, electrons, and holes are generated. The electrons reduced the protons to produce hydrogen, and holes are consumed by some chemical agents called sacrificial agents. If the holes are not consumed, then they will recombine with the electrons. This work is supported by the DST Nano Mission NATDP project, and the related article has been published in the ‘Journal of Cleaner Production’ recently, and the team is in the process of obtaining a patent for the technology.


The INST team has been working in this area of photocatalytic water splitting to generate hydrogen for quite some time now. “The energy crisis and ever-threatening climate crisis urged us to work on this promising way of hydrogen production through photocatalytic water splitting. The stability and chemical flexibility of having different organic groups in carbon nitrides triggered us to work on these cost-effective organic semiconductor materials for sustainable hydrogen production,” added Dr. Kamalakannan.


The INST team started from the lab-scale process to the bulk scale of developing the photocatalyst and hydrogen production through a large prototype reactor. The reactor is about 1 metre square, and the photocatalyst was coated in the form of panels where water flow is maintained. Upon natural sunlight irradiation, hydrogen production occurs and is quantified through gas chromatography. The team is in the process of optimising the hydrogen production with effective sunlight hours in addition to the purity of the hydrogen, moisture traps, and gas separation membranes so as to hyphenate with the fuel cells.


Hydrogen generated in this manner can be used in many forms like electricity generation through fuel cells in remote tribal areas, hydrogen stoves, and powering small gadgets, to mention a few. Eventually, they can power the transformers and e-vehicles, which are long-term research goals under progress.


Publication link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.127162


Patents: Development of large-scale prototype reactor with photocatalysts (suspended powders) and successful use of them in large-scale hydrogen production – Under process.











Figure 1. Natural sunlight-driven H2 production using large-scale prototype reactor fabricated in INST Mohali.
 

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A new water repellent material for improved wearable motion sensors --India Science Wire
3-4 minutes



Physiological monitoring of human movement for applications such as gait analysis, and monitoring of patients during rehabilitation processes could soon become better with the development of a new water repellent material for making wearable motion sensors.

Wearable motion sensors are made of materials that convert the mechanical strain that arises from human movement into electrical signals. The material must be flexible, robust, and highly sensitive to both large and subtle movements.

In the new study, the researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati have developed a material that promises to be superior to existing strain sensors for both sensitivity and durability.

Physiological monitoring of human movement for applications such as gait analysis, and monitoring of patients during rehabilitation processes could soon become better with the development of a new water repellent material for making wearable motion sensors.
Until now, wearable strain sensors were made of polymers or fabrics in which nanoparticles of specialized materials were embedded. The constant stretching that is used to detect motion, however, leads to wilting and eventual failure of the material.

In the new work, the researchers evolved a metal-free, chemically reactive, and conductive ink, which they deposited on a chemically reactive paper in a specific pattern. The patterned interface was found to be stable over time, through many cycles of operation. In addition, it was tolerant to abrasion, highly water repellent, and sensitive to low strain levels.

The study team was led by Dr Uttam Manna of the Department of Chemistry, and Prof. Roy Paily of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and included Ms Supriya Das, Mr Rajan Singh, Mr Avijit Das, and Ms Sudipta Bag. The scientists have published a report on their work in the journal `Materials Horizons’.

Elaborating on the usefulness of the new material could be better, Dr Manna said, “The sensor made using the material was so sensitive that it could differentiate smiling from laughing and could even detect swallowing motion. The unconventional interface holds promise for the development of devices in diverse areas including healthcare, human-machine interactions, and energy harvesting”.
 

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Large-scale reactor developed for cost-effective production of hydrogen using sunlight and water


Posted On: 29 SEP 2021 6:51PM by PIB Delhi



A team of scientists have, for the first time, developed a large-scale reactor which produces a substantial amount of hydrogen using sustainable sources like sunlight and water, which is a cost-effective and sustainable process.


India has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. To achieve this feat, in the current scenario, researchers all over the world are working towards renewable energy solutions which should be sustainable with a limited carbon footprint. One of the most economical ways to achieve this is to produce hydrogen at a large scale through photocatalytic water splitting. It is the long-term persistent solution for the growing renewable energy needs and a low-cost economic process which will benefit society in the longer term. Thus significant efforts from scientists towards achieving this goal are utmost necessary and urgent need-of-the-hour.


In this direction, Dr. Kamalakannan Kailasam and his team, including Prof. Ashok K Ganguli, Dr.Vivek Bagchi, Dr.Sanyasinaidu Boddu, Dr. Prakash P N & Dr. Menaka Jha from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India have developed a prototype reactor which operates under natural sunlight to produce hydrogen at a larger scale (around 6.1 L in 8 hours). They have used an earth-abundant chemical called carbon nitrides as a catalyst for the purpose.


The process had been attempted many times by many researchers using complex metal oxide/nitride/sulphide based heterogeneous systems but was very difficult to reproduce in large quantities. The INST team employed the low-cost organic semiconductor in carbon nitrides which can be prepared using cheaper precursors like urea and melamine at ease in a kilogram scale. When the sunlight falls on this semiconductor, electrons, and holes are generated. The electrons reduced the protons to produce hydrogen, and holes are consumed by some chemical agents called sacrificial agents. If the holes are not consumed, then they will recombine with the electrons. This work is supported by the DST Nano Mission NATDP project, and the related article has been published in the ‘Journal of Cleaner Production’ recently, and the team is in the process of obtaining a patent for the technology.


The INST team has been working in this area of photocatalytic water splitting to generate hydrogen for quite some time now. “The energy crisis and ever-threatening climate crisis urged us to work on this promising way of hydrogen production through photocatalytic water splitting. The stability and chemical flexibility of having different organic groups in carbon nitrides triggered us to work on these cost-effective organic semiconductor materials for sustainable hydrogen production,” added Dr. Kamalakannan.


The INST team started from the lab-scale process to the bulk scale of developing the photocatalyst and hydrogen production through a large prototype reactor. The reactor is about 1 metre square, and the photocatalyst was coated in the form of panels where water flow is maintained. Upon natural sunlight irradiation, hydrogen production occurs and is quantified through gas chromatography. The team is in the process of optimising the hydrogen production with effective sunlight hours in addition to the purity of the hydrogen, moisture traps, and gas separation membranes so as to hyphenate with the fuel cells.


Hydrogen generated in this manner can be used in many forms like electricity generation through fuel cells in remote tribal areas, hydrogen stoves, and powering small gadgets, to mention a few. Eventually, they can power the transformers and e-vehicles, which are long-term research goals under progress.


Publication link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.127162


Patents: Development of large-scale prototype reactor with photocatalysts (suspended powders) and successful use of them in large-scale hydrogen production – Under process.











Figure 1. Natural sunlight-driven H2 production using large-scale prototype reactor fabricated in INST Mohali.
Carbon nitride have some carbon nitrogen double bond too , light induced reaction can produce cynide , not always but a possible case
 

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Scalable synthesis method developed of Nano-crystals with bright emission colours useful for LED


Posted On: 05 OCT 2021 1:26PM by PIB Delhi



Indian researchers have developed a method that can help large scale synthesis of a special class of semiconductor nanocrystals. These nanocrystals called two-dimensional layered perovskite and perovskite nanocrystals, which have bright emission colours and are not affected by or corroded by the environment, are useful for both high colour purity and low-cost solution processability.


Nanomaterials have unique properties compared to their bulk counterpart as they exhibit bright emission and are useful for light-emitting diodes (LED) apart from several other applications in our day-to-day life. However, large-scale syntheses of such materials are challenging as the reaction mechanism, and kinetics of large-scale syntheses are often different from small-scale syntheses. Such large scale synthesis methods are necessary for industrial applications.


To this end, a group of researchers at the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), have synthesized two-dimensional layered perovskite and perovskite nanocrystals by a method called sonochemical process that is often used for large scale synthesis. This process utilizes the principles of sonochemistry to make molecules undergo a chemical reaction with the application of powerful ultrasound radiation. This work has been published in the ‘Journal of Physical Chemistry C’.


The team tracked how these nanomaterials grow during the reaction. They controlled reaction parameters, such as time and temperature, to tune the dimensionality of these nanomaterials and their emission colours. The researchers showed that at an early stage of reaction, two-dimensional layered perovskites form, and they get converted to perovskite nanocrystals controllably. They also demonstrated a white-light-emitting diode with the mixture of these perovskites. Further works are in progress by the CeNS team to increase the stability of these nanomaterials.
 

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New biodegradable polymer fabricated using guar gum, and chitosan has high potential for packaging material


Posted On: 05 OCT 2021 1:28PM by PIB Delhi



A team of Indian scientists have developed an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable polymer using guar gum and chitosan, both of which are polysaccharides extracted from guar beans and shells of crab and shrimps. The fabricated guar gum-chitosan film having high water stability, high mechanical strength, and excellent resistance to harsh environmental conditions can potentially be used in packaging applications.


Polysaccharide is one of the biopolymers with high potential for use in synthesis of packaging material. However, due to some drawbacks of polysaccharides, such as low mechanical properties, high water-solubility, and low barrier properties, they are not preferred.


In order to overcome these challenges of polysaccharide, Dr. Devasish Chowdhury, Associate Professor, and Sazzadur Rahman, Inspire Junior Research Fellow, fabricated a guar gum-chitosan composite film which is a cross-linked polysaccharide without using any plasticizer with the help of a method called the solution casting method (a simple technique to make polymer films). The fabricated biopolymer composite film had high water stability, high mechanical strength, and excellent resistance to harsh environmental conditions. This work has been published recently in the journal ‘Carbohydrate Polymer Technologies and Applications’.


The researchers found that the fabricated crosslinked film did not dissolve in water even after 240 hours. In addition, the mechanical strength of crosslinked guar gum-chitosan composite film was higher compared to general biopolymer (Biopolymer are known to possess poor strength). The cross-linked guar gum-chitosan composite film was also highly water repellent or hydrophobic due to its high contact angle of 92.8º. It had low water vapor permeability when compared with the film made only from chitosan.


The superior mechanical strength, water repellent properties, and resistance to harsh environmental conditions of the fabricated cross-linked guar gum-chitosan increase its potential of being used in packaging applications.


Publication link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carpta.2021.100158.


For more details, Dr. Devasish Chowdhury IASST ([email protected]) can be contacted.
 

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New coating technology (LCCT) with improved protection for thermal power plant boilers can enhance their life


Posted On: 07 OCT 2021 2:59PM by PIB Delhi



Indian Scientists have developed a unique laser-based clad coating technology (LCCT) that provides improved protection to the boiler parts in thermal power plants. It can enhance life of boiler parts by 2- 3 times compared to currently use surfacing technologies. It has been found that this technology is suitable, not only for boiler parts of thermal power plants but also for any engineering application involving high temperature erosive and corrosive environment.


Laser cladding is a technique for fusing a coating material on a substrate. It allows materials to be deposited accurately, selectively, and with minimal heat input into the underlying substrate. This process allows for property improvements of the surface of a part, including better wear resistance, thus allowing for the repair of damaged or worn surfaces.


In advanced supercritical and ultra-supercritical thermal power plants, various parts of the boiler and its accessories such as feeder nozzle tip, re-heater boiler tube bends, burner spreaders often degrade due to severe wear and corrosion at high temperatures and thereby requiring frequent replacements during breakdown and maintenance schedules. Shutdown due to such problems severely affects power production in the ever-increasing demand of today's technologically advanced world. Failure of such components during the running period of the plant makes the job of breakdown maintenance challenging and cumbersome due to the prevailing high temperature and dust enveloped conditions and a massive loss in power production in coal-fired power plants.


To overcome this challenge, scientists from International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India led by Dr. S. M. Shariff, have developed a unique laser-based clad coating technology (LCCT) that provides adequate protection to the boiler parts ensuring life span improvement beyond two years. An Indian patent has also been granted to the novel technology.


The LCCT has been developed with a meticulous fusing of a Nickel-based soft matrix with hard metallic carbide particles of (tungsten, chromium, or vanadium) on steel parts by employing a high-power laser integrated into a multi-axis robot with process monitoring and control. The control of the microstructure of the coating with manipulation of laser-heat for precise melting of hard carbide particles in the evenly distributed soft matrix under controlled dilution enabled this unique LCCT suitable for boiler parts of thermal power plant as well as engineering applications involving high temperature erosive and corrosive environment.


The patented LCCT has been successfully tested for feeder nozzle tips of boilers for 200 and 500 Megawatt of NTPC's thermal power plants at Farakka and Korba. Field results have indicated that life enhancement of LCCT had driven boiler parts by 2- 3 fold compared to currently used other surfacing technologies. ARCI is awaiting the transfer of this technology to numerous job shop entrepreneurs to make this LCCT technology very economical to cater to India's coal-based thermal power plants and those of developing countries.





https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/image/image0017DLA.jpg



Fig. 1: Laser-based clad coating deposition in progress Inset shows the laser-clad coated nozzle tip fixed in the boiler.


For more detail, please look into Indian Patent # 201811039663, or may contact Dr. S. M. Shariff (shariff[at]arci[dot]res[dot]in).
 

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New toxic-free, superior multilayer technology that packages together electronic components can help country’s strategic sectors


Posted On: 08 OCT 2021 4:48PM by PIB Delhi



Indian Scientists have indigenously developed toxic-free and superior multilayer technology that packages together electronic components like resistors, capacitors to produce multilayer circuits. These technologies, known as Low-Temperature Cofired Ceramic (LTCC) and High-Temperature Cofired Ceramic HTCC substrates with applications as satellite communication components, are currently being imported in India. The indigenous development can plug the money drain through import substitution and support the country’s strategic sectors.


Low orbit satellites satellite systems which are in demand today need a sustainable technology supporting reduced satellite volume and mass, besides reduced production time and affordable cost. Hybrid microsystems based on LTCC technology (integration of passive components, such as a capacitor, resistor, inductor, resonator and filter, etc., into a multilayered ceramic module) is an interesting solution in future communication satellites due to their outstanding performance and moderate cost. Currently, the LTCC products are being imported from vendors like DuPont, Ferro etc., and hence country’s revenue is getting drained owing to the exorbitant price of these products.


Hence, Dr K.P. Surendran, Principal Scientist, Materials Science &Technology Division, CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology NIIST, under the purview of Advanced Manufacturing Techniques scheme of Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India, developed a series of LTCC tapes and HTCC substrates which are on par with international standards. They have dielectric properties or the ability of storing electric energy in an electric field that are comparable to the commercial tapes, whereas thermal conductivity is better than them. A patent has already been filed on tape casting of HTCC substrate based on zircon.


An aqueous tape casting technique has been developed, which is relatively health hazard free since it does not employ volatile organic components like xylene and methyl ethyl ketone. The technology developed is a glass-free LTCC tape casting composition, which can address the brutality issues of tapes.


These tapes find application in various satellite communication components at the Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad (ISRO), which require thousands of microwave substrates every year as also in Deference Research laboratories and BHEL


The technology is in the 5th stage of the Technology Readiness level, and Dr K.P. Surendran has signed an MoU with Ants Ceramics, Vasai, Maharashtra on LTCC tapes. These LTCC tapes and conductive pastes can be supplied to Space Application Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, to be tested as a cost-effective replacement to the commercial LTCC tapes which they are currently importing. If the testing is successful, NIIST tapes can be employed in ISRO’s several microwave components like S- and C- band receivers for their satellite transponders.


The knowledge generated in the AMT project has given NIIST confidence for developing an all gold system as a substitute for the imported commercial LTCC tape system currently being used in Space Application Centre ISRO for satellite applications. A project in this direction has been proposed under the ISRO Respond programme. Commercial exploration and mass production of this product is also being planned after testing the gold paste based LTCC tapes at SAC.


(Indian Patent Ref. No. IN201611001838 dated 19/01/2016, French Patent WO2017125947A1)


For more details contact Dr. K.P. Surendran ([email protected], [email protected]).








 

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Novel composite materials developed for high-temperature battery and supercapacitors


Posted On: 08 OCT 2021 4:47PM by PIB Delhi



Indian researchers have developed a thermally stable solid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries for energy storage that promise application for a wide range of temperatures from 30-500 degrees Celsius.


Energy generation and storage is the need of the hour, and worldwide efforts are being invested for developing cost-effective, efficient options. The current state of art indicates a possible replacement of conventional low energy density, low shelf life batteries with Lithium-ion and Sodium-ion batteries. However, there are several scientific and technical limitations in the present technology, for example, dependence of liquid electrolytes and narrow range of operating temperatures. Therefore, efforts are required to develop solid-state energy storage devices.


In this direction, a group of researchers led by Dr. Anshuman Dalvi of Department of Physics, BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus has developed solid-state energy storage devices in the form of thermally stable solid electrolytes for Li+ ion batteries and supercapacitors and tested their stability and efficiency using state of the art facilities. The establishment of the FIST program of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India supported XRD facility has given a new dimension to the ongoing research by providing them infrastructural support to investigate composite materials at high temperature with great resolution. This work has been published in the journal ‘Materials Research Bulletin in 2021’.


The team has used DST FIST-supported High-temperature X-ray diffraction (HTXRD) facility Rigaku SmartLab, particularly useful for the thermal stability assessment of novel solid electrolytes. The XRD patterns were obtained in situ up to 500 oC. Now, the batteries and supercapacitors to operate at high temperatures are being developed.


The results from HTXRD patterns (technique used to study the structural changes in the material as a function of temperature) for the range 30-500 oC for the ionic liquid (IL) dispersed sol-gel derived NASICON( superionic sodium conductors) structured LiTi2(PO4)3 (LTP) composites indicated that IL does not react with LTP at higher temperatures to form unwanted compound. The composite was used in Lithium button cells. Excellent stability has been achieved under battery conditions. The composite promises battery application for a wide range of temperature.


Further, the samples are being used as electrolytes for electric double-layer (EDLC) supercapacitors. A high capacity of around 200 F/g and thermal stability at least up to 100 oC has been achieved for 10000 cycles. The EDLCs was used to power LEDs successfully. Efforts are on to fabricate EDLCs operating at 200 oC.


Dr Dalvi further elaborated, “Ionic liquid composites with NASICONs, Garnets, and some other fast ionic solids have been found to be promising for high-temperature energy storage devices. These devices are strategically important for military and space applications.”


 

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Novel formulation for cost-effective and thermo-stable Insulin --India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

4-5 minutes



CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB), Kolkata (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Availability of injectable insulin formulation has been a major breakthrough in diabetes management. However, insulin needs to be kept in a refrigerator, which, otherwise after some hours becomes unfit for use due to fibrillation (some kind of ‘solidification’). Its prolonged storage even in normal refrigerator is also not good. Therefore, its thermal instability and fibrillation at non-refrigerated temperatures demands storage and maintenance of cold chain, making it expensive. Further, for diabetes patients who are staying at remote locations with no refrigerator facility or those who are travelling for long hours, the problem is more acute.

Worldwide efforts are being made to invent new formulation for thermo-stable, nontoxic and bioactive insulin. Researchers from Bose Institute, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB), Kolkata in collaboration with CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad have shown that a small peptide molecule consists of four amino acids, named as “Insulock” prevents both heat and storage induced insulin fibrillation and thereby loss of effective quantum of insulin. They found that the “Insulock” is non-toxic, non-immunogenic and heat-stable and can maintain insulin in the active form at room temperature without any loss for months. The “Insulock” has been tested in mice models. This research work has been published in iScience, an international reputed journal of Cell press.

Availability of injectable insulin formulation has been a major breakthrough in diabetes management. However, insulin needs to be kept in a refrigerator, which, otherwise after some hours becomes unfit for use due to fibrillation (some kind of ‘solidification’). Its prolonged storage even in normal refrigerator is also not good. Therefore, its thermal instability and fibrillation at non-refrigerated temperatures demands storage and maintenance of cold chain, making it expensive. Further, for diabetes patients who are staying at remote locations with no refrigerator facility or those who are travelling for long hours, the problem is more acute.
The work involves two major contributions (1) identification of an appropriate small peptide to inhibit the insulin from fibrillation, which has been accomplished by Dr. Subhrangsu Chatterjee, Associate Professor of Bose Institute and Dr. Partha Chakrabarti (Principal Investigators) and (2) Determination of the 3-dimensional (3D) structure of the Insulock-insulin complex and its thermal stability by using high-resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy, which has been accomplished by Dr B. Jagadeesh, Chief Scientist, and Dr Jithender Reddy, Scientist from NMR Centre of CSIR-IICT.

Dr. Jagadeesh of CSIR-IICT said that “gaining the structural insights about the “Insulock” and establishing its 3D-structural similarity with respect to the native insulin injection are crucial steps, which have been carried out at the NMR center of CSIR-IICT. This NMR-center has world class facilities with USFDA-audited and National accreditations, that are best suited for regulatory studies of drug molecules.

The Kolkota-Hyderabad scientists team hopes that, upon successful completion of trials in humans, the novel Insulock formulation can give a rich scope for producing cost-effective insulin injection and will be extremely useful in delivering it to the patients even in resource-limited areas. Further, the team is planning to take up the developmental activity pertaining to trials in humans by collaborating with Indian pharmaceutical industries. This discovery is expected to attract pharma giants with vested interest in thermo-stale Insulin production.
 

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Experts build kit for rapid silicosis test | India News - Times of India
TNN / Oct 11, 2021, 05:04 IST

3 minutes


MUMBAI: For the first time in the world, scientists working in a public laboratory in the city have come up with a rapid test to ascertain if a person has silicosis, a progressive lung disease caused by exposure to silica.
The kit – which detects levels of serum CC16 in blood — is the result of a collaboration between the Mumbai team of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and the National Institute for Occupational Health. “India has a high burden of silicosis with an estimate of 1.25 crore patients at the moment,” said Dr Shyam Sundar Nandi from the Mumbai laboratory, who is one of the scientists who developed the test.

 

Lonewolf

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Experts build kit for rapid silicosis test | India News - Times of India
TNN / Oct 11, 2021, 05:04 IST

3 minutes


MUMBAI: For the first time in the world, scientists working in a public laboratory in the city have come up with a rapid test to ascertain if a person has silicosis, a progressive lung disease caused by exposure to silica.
The kit – which detects levels of serum CC16 in blood — is the result of a collaboration between the Mumbai team of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and the National Institute for Occupational Health. “India has a high burden of silicosis with an estimate of 1.25 crore patients at the moment,” said Dr Shyam Sundar Nandi from the Mumbai laboratory, who is one of the scientists who developed the test.

Hope they all see the light kf day they deserve
 

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Tea & banana waste used to develop non-toxic activated carbon


Posted On: 13 OCT 2021 2:19PM by PIB Delhi



A team of scientists have used tea and banana waste to prepare non-toxic activated carbon, which is useful for several purposes like industrial pollution control, water purification, food and beverage processing, and odour removal. The newly developed process avoids usage of any toxic agent for synthesizing activated carbon, thus making the product cost-effective as well as non-toxic.


The processing of tea generates a lot of waste, generally in the form of tea dust. This could be converted to useful substances. The structure of tea was favourable for conversion to high-quality activated carbon. However, conversion to activated carbon involves use of strong acid and bases, making the product toxic and hence unsuitable for most uses. So a non-toxic method of conversion was needed to overcome this challenge.


Dr N. C. Talukdar, Former Director, Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Dr Devasish Chowdhury, Associate Professor, used banana plant extract as an alternative activating agent for the preparation of activated carbon from tea wastes.


Oxygenated potassium compounds contained in the banana plant extract help in activating the carbon prepared from tea waste. An Indian patent has recently been granted for this.


The banana plant extract used in the process was prepared by traditional way and is known as Khar, which is an alkaline extract from the ashes of burnt dried banana peels. The most preferred banana for this is called ‘Bheem Kol’ in Assamese. Bheem Kol is an indigenous variety of bananas found only in Assam and parts of North East India. To make khar, first, the peel of the banana is dried and then burnt to make an ash out of it. The ash is then crushed and made into a fine powder. Then using a clean cotton cloth, water is filtered through the ash powder, and the final solution that we get is called khar. The natural khar which is extracted from banana is called ‘Kol Khar’ or ‘Kola Khar’. This extract was used as the activating agent.


IASST team explains, “The reason for the use of tea as a precursor for the synthesis of active carbon is that in tea structure, the carbon atoms are conjugated and having polyphenols bond. This makes the quality of activated carbon better compared to other carbon precursors.”


The main advantage of this process is that starting materials, as well as activating agents, are both waste materials. In the developed process use of any toxic activating agent (e.g., toxic acids and bases) for synthesizing active carbon are avoided. Thus, this process is green for the first time plant materials have been used as an activating agent for the first time. This novel process of synthesizing of active carbon makes the product cost-effective as well as non-toxic.


Patent Details: A PROCESS FOR PREPARATION OF ACTIVATED CARBON FROM TEA WASTE, Patent number 377645








  1. Synthesis of Activated Carbon from Tea Waste







  1. Synthesis of Activating Agent from Banana Plant







(from left) Dr. Manash Jyoti Deka, Dr. Devasish Chowdhury, Dr. N. C. Talukdar


*****


SNC / RR
 

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IIT prof gets Commendation Card for developing 3D printed defence structures for Army

NEW DELHI:
An assistant professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IITGN) has been honoured with the Commendation Card for providing leadership and guidance in developing 3D printed defence structures for the Indian Army.


 

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Road safety: IIT researchers working on first-of-its kind geography based smart speed warning system - ET Auto

Researchers at different Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are working on development of a first-of-its kind "smart speed warning system" for vehicles which will alert the driver on the basis of road infrastructure and geographical location to avoid over-speeding related crashes.

According to statistics available with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, about 70 per cent of road fatalities in India occur due to over-speeding.

...

"Traditional warning systems are based on the fixed speed threshold, however, the concept of a smart warning system is based on upcoming road infrastructure and vehicle location. On approaching curves along a roadway, including blind curves or hairpin bends, vehicles equipped with such a system will warn drivers in advance, which will allow drivers to adopt corrective actions and avoid accidents," he added.


 

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IIT Madras' design of LED white light emitters wins Government award

Explaining the practical applications of this Research, Aravind Kumar Chandiran said, “The indigenously-developed bright white light emitters can potentially replace the conventional high-cost materials and phenomenally save the energy cost per lumens.” “We believe that our work contributes to the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ programme and we hope to become a technology leader in light emitters in the near future.”

“The IIT Madras team has been exploring crystalline materials called ‘Halide-Perovskites’ for various applications due to their extraordinary optoelectronic properties and excellent light-to-current conversion efficiencies,” said the press release from IIT Madras.


 

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