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An interview with Graphene expert: Prof. Rahul Raveendran Nair

January 08
14:08 2020

During University of Manchester’s delegation visit to India, Diplomacy India had a chance to interview Prof. Rahul Raveendran Nair. He spoke about his visit to India, on-going research and future research, exploration during the interview.

Prof. Rahul Raveendran Nair is a Professor of Materials Physics and holds a prestigious Royal Society Fellowship. His awards include a Leverhulme early Career Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, IUPAP Young Scientist Award (2014) from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the Moseley Medal and Prize (2015) from the Institute of Physics, Lee Hsun Lecture Award on Materials Science (2018), Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Creativity prize (2018) from the Prince Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW).

Prof. Rahul was kind enough to answer a few questions we had to him.

What was your purpose of visit to India ?

I was a part of the University delegation to India to strengthen the relationship between The University of Manchester and India. We visited several higher education institutions and discussed possible collaborative research programs to address the common challenging research problems (e.g., water, energy, climate change, etc). We also visited several industries to showcase our internationally leading research.

What is the main scope of your research ?

My research encompasses a range of multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary areas in Physics, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering. The main scope of our research is the novel synthesis and construction of application-oriented devices based on two-dimensional (2D) crystals to explore new physical phenomena. We are actively engaged in the design and development of 2D materials based membranes and nanofluidic devices for probing fundamental molecular transport at the nanoscale and their potential applications in our daily life. Our major activities are developing high throughput techniques to realise large-area membranes for applications such as desalination, barrier coating, organic solvent nano-filtration, membranes for healthcare technology, and (bio) pharmaceutical purification.

How will the future research and development on two – dimensional (2D) material affect daily life ?

 Currently, we are actively engaged in developing Graphene-based water filters. We believe our research will bring clean water to the poorest communities around the world. Also, my colleagues at Manchester are working on the application of Graphene in energy storage devices. This has huge potential to bring new generation batteries with quicker charging capabilities and extended lifetime.

How do you wish to explore your future research in material physics ?

For the next 3-5 years at least, I will be working on water-related research since the fundamental understanding of water molecules at the nanoscale and its application in daily life is an underexplored research area. I believe this research can bring significant benefits to society.

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