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College of Science & Mathematics

Fellowship Serendipity

Dr. Sutapa Ghosh is a professor at the Institute of Chemical Technology in New Delhi, India

Separated by an ocean, several countries and two distinct fields of scientific research, one would think that the chance of two distinct intelligentsia coming in contact with one another would be pretty much impossible; however, the beauty of serendipity is that it makes such events plausible.

At a conference in New Delhi, India, such kismet occurred when the College of Science and Mathematics’ own professor of chemistry, Dr. Kandalam Ramanujachary [Dr. Chary] and the Institute of Chemical Technology ’s Dr. Sutapa Ghosh unexpectedly initiated a discussion that would lead to their collaboration here at Rowan University.

“The director of my group notified me that there were some individuals working with graphene, Nanoparticles and quantum dots, and wanted to know if I’d be interested in working with them,” explained Dr. Chary, whose 35 years worth of experience and published papers regarding Nanotechnology left him delighted at the opportunity.

“We began a discussion about her expertise and mine, and I couldn’t have been more excited for the opportunity,” Dr. Chary said.

Dr. Ghosh constructs graphene particles for use in capacitors

Dr. Ghosh’s expertise lies in the field of graphene, which is the conductive first layer of atoms of a graphite particle, made of entirely carbon.

“In India, I worked on isolating graphene from graphite, and here at Rowan, I’m trying to measure the quantum dots of graphene by creating molecular models of the dot,” explained Dr. Ghosh. “Once we find the dot [the point at which a molecule loses all metallic conductivity], Dr. Chary’s expertise in metal oxides will allow us to identify and control graphene’s bandwidth so it can later be applied to super capacitors.”

Capacitors have a synonymous function to lithium batteries, but such batteries are inefficient at holding charges, as well as dispersing energy.

“Capacitors are more powerful and more efficient than batteries,” said Dr. Chary, “however; they are made with toxic and made from a metal that isn’t bountiful in the Earth, cadmium. If we can figure out how to make capacitors with carbon, which is safer and more plentiful, it will be monumental in the future of capacitors.”

While Rowan University is providing the facilities for the collaboration, all of the funding for Dr. Ghosh and Dr. Chary’s research is derived from a highly competitive grant program funded by the Raman Research Fellowship.

“Dr. Ghosh applied to a program that takes thousands of applications, and only around four or five are accepted a year,” mentioned Dr. Chary.
The two have been collaborating since late October and are making big strides.

“The labs here are fantastic and are allowing me to make great progress on my research,” said Dr. Ghosh. “It has been very fun working with the students and Dr. Chary.”

While the program is temporary, Dr. Chary is excited for what will come next.

“[Dr. Ghosh] will go back to India to continue developing her research, and we will hopefully publish several papers,” Dr. Chary said. “This research is the first step towards the future of capacitors.”

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