Material Science Current Affairs

CNR Rao selected for 2017 Von Hippel Award

Eminent Scientist and Bharat Ratna Prof C.N.R. Rao was awarded 2017 Von Hippel Award, the highest international prize in materials research. He is first Indian and first Asian to win this honour.

The award will be presented to Prof Rao for his interdisciplinary contributions to development of novel functional materials, including nanomaterials, graphene, superconductivity, 2D materials and colossal magnetoresistance at Boston in November 2017,

C.N.R. Rao

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao is eminent scientist and world’s foremost solid state and materials chemists. He has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He was first Indian scientist to reach the h-index of 100.

He is also the Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, Bengaluru and a former Chair of the Japan-India Science Council. He has authored of around 1600 research papers. He also has authored and edited 45 books.

He is also an elected member of almost all scientific academies across the globe and had served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Ministers of India.

He was awarded with India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna along with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in 2014. He has been bestowed with about 70 honorary doctorates and also has received the highest civilian award from several nations.

Von Hippel Award

Von Hippel Award has been instituted by Materials Research Society (MRS), an organisation with members spanning over 90 countries. It is named after Arthur von Hippel (1898-2003), a pioneer scientist known for study of dielectrics, semiconductors, ferromagnetics and ferroelectrics. He was an early advocate of interdisciplinary approach to materials research and his example substantially furthered science of materials.

The award recognises those qualities most prized by materials scientists and engineers – brilliance and originality of intellect, combined with vision that transcends the boundaries of conventional scientific disciplines. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize, honorary membership in MRS, and a unique trophy — a mounted ruby laser crystal symbolizing the many-faceted nature of materials research.

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Scientists develop high-quality graphene from soybean

Scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have made world’s strongest material graphene commercially more viable by using soybean.

They have developed a novel “GraphAir technology” which transforms soybean oil, a renewable, natural material into graphene films in a single step.

Background

Earlier, graphene was produced in a highly-controlled environment with explosive compressed gases that required long hours of operation at high temperatures and extensive vacuum processing. This production process was costly and was major roadblock in its commercialisation.

About GraphAir technology

  • The technology grows graphene film in ambient air with a natural precursor, making its production faster and simpler. Soybean oil breaks down into a range of carbon building units when heat is applied. It makes it essential for the synthesis of graphene films.
  • Significance: This unique technology makes graphene fabrication fast, simple, safe, potentially scalable and integration friendly. It results in good and transformable graphene properties, comparable to graphene made by conventional methods. It is expected to reduce cost of graphene production and improve uptake in new applications. Besides, it can also help to produce graphene from waste oil, leftover from cooking.

What is Graphene?

Graphene is a carbon material that is one atom thick. It is the world’s strongest and lightest known material derived from carbon. It has high conductivity and excellent electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties. It is used in many applications ranging from miniaturised electronics to biomedical devices, water filtration and purification, renewable energy, sensors, personalised healthcare and medicine etc. It also used to improve battery performance in energy devices, to cheaper solar panels.

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