The Gupta Group

Experimental (Nano)Materials Physics

multifunctional nanomaterials (MNM) lab

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Research Overview

The group of Prof. Sanju Gupta is an experimental condensed-matter (nano)materials physics group with satellites projects in experimental biophysics. The leading activities comprised of multifunctional and hybrid nanomaterials and nancomposites consisting of advanced carbons (Cs), conducting polymers (CPs), transition metal oxides (TMO) and nanoSi (nSi) for a range of energy and bio-related technologies including electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices and nano-biocatalytic interfaces motivated by the demand for improved or entirely new functional materials. Graphene, the 2D system notoriously hard-to-handle nanomaterial that could turn out to be the material of the new millennium, holds great promise to the point where the material itself and their derivatives could, in the future, help to drive down the economy of electrochemical energy storage devices as potential electrochemical electrodes for super-/ultracapacitors, among others. Our current research involves synthesis, processing, characterization, and application of novel advanced multifunction carbon materials and nanocomposites, for emerging nanotechnologies specifically, alternative energy devices and nano-bio interactions. We are planning to investigate the dynamical electrochemical processes at the solid/liquid interface by inelastic light scattering to probe their surface/interface charge transfer dynamics and to gain an insight into the associated structural changes as well as fine tuning the energy gap and continue to explore other characterization tools such as scanning electrochemical microscopy at micro- and nanoscale. A major focus of our research would be on improving the performance of electrochemical electrodes by design and synthesis of novel strategies for advanced graphene-based hybrid systems and advanced characterization. We are also studying carbon nanotubes, in their combination with graphene-based materials, and ultra dispersed nanodiamond forming three-dimensional hybrid networks as novel multifunctional materials and their radiation resilience. In regard to the former, other works include electrochemical synthesis via anodic oxidation and characterization of conducting polymer nanostructures relevant to forming nanocomposites with graphene derivatives such as graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes. Raman spectroscopy of van der Waals solids built from 2D layers of dichalcogenides (MoS2, WS2), h-BN forming heterostructures and superlattices with graphene is studied to develop new electronic devices (and photovoltaics targeted their photophysical properties). Our research involves science and engineering aspects of many novel advanced low-dimensional carbons and analogues. To achieve above mentioned goals, we use a range of analytical characterization techniques (SEM, XRD, RS, AFM, HRTEM, I-V, and Electrochemical), either in-house or through external collaboration, to probe their surface as well as average bulk structure and property in order to establish microscopic structure-processing-property correlations. We plan to participate in technology transition to benefit society, such as through intellectual property and formation of a LLC.

Ongoing Research Projects

       graphene(s) and derivatives

       graphene-based functional hybrids nanomaterials novel synthetic approaches

       electrochemical electrodes as supercapacitors and batteries

       probing dynamic electrochemical processes (interfacial aspects)

       conducting polymer nanostructures and nanocomposites with nanotubes

       physics and chemistry of carbon-based materials

       nanocomposites and hybrids (multifunctional / structural)

       nanobio interactions, nanoscaffolds and heterogeneous electron transfer (ET) kinetics

Currently advising (Graduate, Undergraduate and Gatton Academy high school students)

[Seeking self-motivated UG and graduate students]

Carson Price (UG, Sophomore), Jared Walden (EE UG, Freshman),

Ben McDonald (UG, Freshman), Eli Heintzman (UG, Junior),

Sara Botero (Chem. UG, Junior, JUMP program), Mayme vanMeveren (Graduate MS, HHS)

Alumni: Harry Heyworth (Gatton Academy Sr.)- UNC-CH, Aline Irihamye (Gatton Academy Sr.)- Univ. Notre Dame

For more details, please see our MNM home page UNDER CONSTRUCTION!