Surface Modification and Applications Laboratory (SMAL)

Our group aims to understand and thereafter regulate surface and interfacial phenomenon for designing surface structures from nanometer to micrometer scales for potential applications. Our studies involve a wide variety of materials from semiconductors, metals to polymers. Surface patterning is carried out using low energy ion beam structuring, isotropic and anisotropic wet etching techniques as well as self-assembly methods. We strive to formulate non-conventional patterning methods using these routes. Our studies are directed towards realizing new properties of materials that have potential applications using a structure-property synergistic approach.

We study the foundations of the patterning processes from an atomistic or microscopic viewpoint by employing robust statistical formalisms. The instabilities arising due to competitions between surface tensions, relaxation mechanisms, differential sputter yields, etc. are explored for ion sculpted surfaces. Beam parameters are engineered to fabricate surfaces that exhibit unconventional and localized optical responses having potential applications in single molecule detection, optical filters, etc. We further employ evaporative self-assembly methods commonly coined as “Coffee Ring Effect” to study inter-particle and particle-surface interactions during the drying process by estimating DLVO and capillary forces associated with the system. The dynamics of the desiccation patterns are studied for far-from-ideal conditions like considering surface and particle roughnesses, volatility of liquid mixtures as well as presence of external forces and fields. Apart from its use in areas of ink-jet printing, nanochromatography etc. it has immense application potentials in the field of medical diagnostics as well.


Interested candidates willing to take up challenging problems in the fascinating area of nonlinear spatio-temporal pattern formation may apply for PhD positions. Please contact via e-mail.

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