The contemporary requirement of obtaining energy in an environmentally sustainable manner provide a unique challenge and hence, a great opportunity for chemical and materials engineers and scientists. The research focus of our group is on the electrodynamically-intensified electrochemical systems, solid-state batteries, electrocatalytic process engineering, photoelectrochemical methods of energy conversion and electrochemical taste sensors. Our approach aims to utilize the synergy that can be borne out of integrated experimental design and phenomenological modeling for developing the energy and process systems relevant to contemporary and future requirements.

In the context of experimental analysis, characterization and testing, we employ a variety of tools like electrodynamical intensification of electrochemical processes, electrocatalysts and reactor design, current-voltage characteristics of photoelectrochemical response to solar spectrum, integrated electrochemical sensors and instrumentation development, characterization using chemical and electrochemical spectroscopy.

The research and development themes in the electrochemical and reaction engineering group can be broadly classified under:

    1. Electrodynamical-intensification of electrochemical systems

    While the modification of electronic "temperatures" via the application of relatively small electrochemical potentials has been extensively exploited over the last two-hundred years, the electrochemical phenomena due to coupling with electrodynamics has been insufficiently explored. We are particularly interested in the electrochemical phenomena at relatively high (~50 to 100 V) electrochemical bias which enables the generation of plasma electro-thermo-chemical systems. We are also investigating the practical implementation of magnetic fields on electrocatalysis, battery characteristics and photoelectrocatalytic systems.

    2. Assembly, organization and stability of nanostructures, interfaces and functional materials for electrochemical systems

    Recurrent theme in a variety of engineered and natural systems is the factors that govern the stability of micro- and nano-structures and the correlation between the nanostructure and the functionality of the engineered materials. A variety of interfacial effects become critical in the reduced dimensional structures and we are interested in the physicochemical factors governing the ex-situ and in-situ morphology of functional nanostructures.

    3. Microkinetics, reactivity and selectivity indices in electrocatalysts and photoelectrocatalysts

    Traditionally, the development of catalysts has relied extensively on combinatorial experimentation. Over the last decade, the development of a variety of experimental and theoretical tools has enabled the rational design and development of electrocatalysts and photoelectrocatalysts. Our focus in this area is to facilitate the identification and validation of general reactivity and selectivity indices in electrocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic systems using both experimental and computational studies.

    4. Interfacial Ionics

    Transport of ions, atoms and small molecules on the surface/near surface regions is important in many engineering and natural contexts like fuel cells, heterogeneous catalysts and drug delivery. Such a transport is often associated with presence of defects and amorphous regions in the materials making the experimental study challenging. Our focus in this area is to identify the molecular determinants behind interfacial ionic transport and to engineer materials having the desirable molecular transport properties.