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Soft Programmable Materials In Sustainable Technologies (SPRINT LAB)

About Us

Recent years have witnessed a tremendous surge in the use of composite materials across multiple research communities. Composites, which involve an innovative combination of different materials, enable synergistic enhancement of the properties of individual components. For example, nanoparticle-hydrogel composites can exhibit superior mechanical properties compared to the hydrogel itself, and at the same time improve the stability of the nanoparticles against aggregation. Exciting strategies involving a rational selection of hybrid or composite materials to modulate interfaces have further opened new directions in the field of materials discovery with unique bulk and interfacial properties. In our group, we plan to harness the plurality of bulk and interfacial properties offered by organic-inorganic composites to fabricate functional materials, with potential applications in green enhanced oil recovery (EOR), carbon capture, programmable and multi-responsive emulsions, and atmospheric water harvesting (AWH).

A second aspect of the research in our group is to use structured solvents like liquid crystals as templates for molecular assembly and synthesis of functional materials. The central theme in this direction is to translate the anisotropic order of these solvents into well-defined hierarchical structures that possess macroscale anisotropy. Such structures are quite prevalent in many biological systems and have potential applications in membrane separations, nanofluidic osmotic energy conversion and energy storage devices.

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