BANGALORE: Do not rub your eyes after reading this. The epitaph for that LCD/ plasma TV that you recently purchased has more or less been composed. And that a researcher from namma Bengaluru has had a role to play in this electronic coup, if it can be called that.
Prof Chandrabhas Narayana of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Academic Sciences Research was part of a team that comprised Indian and Japanese scientists - a Sayonara of sorts - that was successfully able to make a bundle of carbon nanotubes exhibit fluorescence, or the emission of light after it has been exposed to electromagnetic radiation.
The team was led by a researcher from IIT-Madras, Prof Pradeep Thalappil, who found out in 2007 that fluorescence can be achieved in carbon nanotubes easily when nanoparticles of gold or silver are attached to it. Prof Narayana’s role lay in performing Raman spectroscopy - named after the Indian
Nobel laureate C V Raman - studies in order to understand phenomena such as analyses of the material’s properties, interaction of light with matter and other simulation studies. The studies needed theoretical interpretation of data, which was done by another Indian researcher, Prof Jaideep Chakraborty of S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata.
Silicon, which is used by default in the electronics circuits, doesn’t emit light by itself. “If such a system can be introduced, communication becomes light-based, leading to faster computation than electricity-based circuits. The development of carbon nanotubes in this direction, therefore, is very vital,” elucidates Prof Narayana.
He adds that factors such as availability in abundance, and hence, lower costs, have tipped the scales in favour of carbon.
IBM had recently developed a display purely out of carbon nanotubes.
So, how do the Japanese figure in this development? Prof Narayana explains: “Facilities to conduct accurate imaging studies and measurements were, at that time, unavailable in India. It was Prof Pradeep, who during his visit to a Japanese institution, Institute of Molecular Science, Okazaki, found that it had the required equipment, and we entered into an arrangement with it.”
The researcher adds that with respect to carbon nanotubes, its fluorescence and integrability with electronic circuits have been demonstrated independently.
“For newer applications to emerge, collaboration between scientists and engineers is needed,” which, he says, may take about a decade. The next step, he adds, is to achieve electro-luminescence, or fluorescence by applying current, in the nanotubes.