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Prof. V Lakshminarayanan

Prof. Lakshminarayanan (16th April 1952) is a material scientist associated with Soft Condensed Matter group of Raman Research Institute retired as Professor in 2014.   His scientific contribution is mostly in Molecular self-assembly on surfaces, electrochemistry in soft matter and electrochemically generated nanomaterials.

Early Years and Education

Prof. Lakshminarayanan was born to M. Vedagiri and Subbulakshmi at what was then Madras and now Chennai. He had his early school education in Tamil Nadu at different places and college education in Coimbatore. He obtained his Bachelor’s (1972) and Master’s (1974) degrees in Chemistry from Madras University.  He was awarded Doctorate degree from Bangalore University in the year 1988.

Career

Prof. Lakshminarayanan joined the Materials Science division of National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore in 1975. He began his career working in the area of ultra trace analytical methods in chemistry and Electrochemical Instrumentation. He later moved to Raman Research Institute in the year 1981 as a   Scientist.  During his brief post doctoral stint at Johns Hopkins University USA, he studied the reaction kinetics of methanol oxidation reaction and the retarding effect of the intermediates on the Pt-Ru catalyst surfaces, a problem crucial to the development of the direct methanol fuel cells. He became Associate Professor in 1998 and Professor in the year 2003.

Scientific Work

At RRI, during his initial days,  he was involved in addressing several challenging issues relating to the fabrication of intricate waveguides using electroforming technique for the radio telescope receiver system. For his research  in the area of molecular thinfilms,  he developed a home made scanning tunneling microscope based on a novel inertial sliding mechanism which  provided excellent vibrational stability and atomic resolution images. The STM  was extensively made use of, for studies in the area of self-assembled monolayer of organic thiol molecules on noble metal surfaces. Based on the measurement of interfacial capacitance of the organic thiol monolayer on gold  and along  with the supporting evidence from STM studies,  which showed that there exists a  nanometer thick ‘hydrophobic gap’ at the interface of a super hydrophic film and water which is an experimental confirmation of the LCW theory proposed by Chandler’s group.

The work on the noble metal nanoparticles and their conducting polymer nanocomposites carried out by his group demonstrated for the first time that they can be grown as mesoporous films on solid conducting surfaces. These films can find applications in sensor development and as electro catalyst for alcohol oxidation reaction, important for the development of room temperature alkaline fuel cells.

His collaborative work established that the metal nanoparticles and nanomaterials dispersed in liquid crystal materials made of disc like molecules are actually semiconducting molecular electronic systems exhibiting about a million times increase in the electrical conductivity when doped with gold nanoparticles.  A charge transfer process, based on the donor-acceptor type interaction was proposed to explain the hugely enhanced electrical conductivity.  These studies have potential application in photoconductive and molecular electronic devices. His work on electrochemistry in lyotropic liquid crystals provided significant insight into the electron transfer reactions in quasi-ordered media, which mimic the biological systems. He also demonstrated the utility of lyotropic and related micro-emulsion systems in the preparation of mesoporous materials and in the formation of highly impermeable self-assembled monolayer films on the gold surface.

Hobby

Listening classical music concerts & discourses.

Born 16th April 1952
Chennai (Madras), India
Field: Soft Condensed Matter
Institutions National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
Raman Research Institute, Bangalore
Alma mater Madras University
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