The research groups in CSIR-NCL are supported by several high quality resource centres e.g. High Performance Computing facilities, Centre for Materials Characterization, Central NMR facility, Catalyst Pilot Plant, Combi-chem-bio Resource Centre and Digital Information Resource Centre.
The Biological Sciences research area has a distinguished history with many pioneering contributions. This is augmented by the privilege of leadership by some of the most renowned scientists in the field over six decades. This research area has spanned the period in which biology witnessed its most explosive growth and transformation into a modern subject area. To cop up with the extant demands of the society, the horizon has also broadened over the years, from biology to biotechnology. The track record of publications in high impact journals speaks about the quality of the Biological Sciences research. Major research areas are Microbial Technology, Human Disorders, Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology.
Research in the area of physical sciences covers a wide range of subjects like condensed matter physics, soft condensed matter physics and solid state NMR. All these areas are explored both by experimental and theoretical scientists. Under condensed matter physics, scientists are working in the field of nano materials, magnetic materials, advanced functional materials, materials for solar cells, etc. Soft condensed matter refers to a broad class of materials like colloids, gels, liquid crystals, granular materials, clays, polymers, proteins, bio-membranes etc. Scientists from different disciplines carry out both experimental and theoretical work on these systems. In the area of solid state NMR, research work is focussed on methodology development and applications to various materials.
The major activities in the area of organic chemistry are particularly in the frontier areas of asymmetric synthesis, total synthesis of biologically-relevant natural products, enantioselective catalysis, and biomimetism, which have been clearly echoed in many of the gleaming publications, emanating from various research groups of the division in the last few years. Some of the notable contributions from selected research groups, provided below, would gauge the vibrant activity of this division. Prominent research areas of the organic chemistry division are total synthesis of a wide variety of biologically useful compounds and natural products, enantioselective catalysis to tackle formidable challenges in synthetic organic chemistry, development of synthetic oligonucleotides, development of unusual amino acids, chemistry-biology interface, applied organic chemistry, etc.
Physical Chemistry/Materials Science
The Physical and Materials Chemistry Division is engaged in multidisciplinary research ranging from basic research on chemistry and physics of materials, physical organic chemistry and theory and computational Chemistry to applied research like nano-materials for optoelectronic, magnetic and fuel cell applications. Some of the important research areas include, Physical-Organic Chemistry, Molecular interactions, Functionalized carbon nano-structured materials, Nanomaterials for electronic devices, solar photovoltaics, Theory and Computational Chemistry, Multi-scale modeling, Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, Magnetic materials, Nanomaterials, Advanced functional materials, Nano-bioconjugate, Electrochemistry, Nano Materials for Fuel Cells, Solar energy materials, NMR of materials, etc.
Research work in the homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis divisions involves synthesis of novel catalytic materials for applications in various chemical transformations. With world-class expertise and facilities in synthesis, characterization, evaluation, and pilot-plant production of catalysts, the group is destined to develop globally competitive technologies with the prescript of sustainable chemistry. The group also undertakes bi-lateral and multi-lateral projects, student exchange, and faculty exchange programs between academic institutes spread across the world. Research activities in the division involves exploration of new methods for the synthesis of materials; development of new materials; functionalization of materials; Influence of various parameters on their properties (surface area, pore structures, catalysis); investigation on the nature of active sites responsible for the particular reaction; mechanistic study of reaction, etc. Demand-driven research is undertaken from various industrial partners to solve the problems faced in the present day processes; to secure our future for chemical, fuel and energy production from alternative resources/methods; photocatalysis for water splitting; catalysis for clean environment, etc.
Polymer Science & Engineering
The major theme of research in the area of Polymer Science & Engineering is to relate the methods of synthesis of organic macromolecules to the goals and objectives of material science. This involves synthesis of well defined macromolecular structures using several chemistries (radical, anionic, metal catalyzed polymerizations, step growth polymerizations) and study their structure, molecular and supra molecular properties with the ultimate objective of deriving structure-property relationships. The objectives are to explore synthesis of polymers with controlled molecular structures, sequences and morphology using a diverse range of chemistries, to examine the solution as well as the solid state properties of polymers, and to design monomers and polymers for specific end applications. Research competency in polymer chemistry and materials include polymer synthesis, solution characterization of polymers by GPC and light scattering, structure determination by solution and solid state NMR, thermal and dynamic mechanical analysis, study of crystallization phenomena, study of structure & morphology by X-ray diffraction, thermal analytical system and optical as well as scanning/transmission electron microscopy.
Chemical Engineering & Process Development
The Chemical Engineering and Process Development (CEPD) Division explores both fundamental and applied aspects of chemistry, biology and physics with a focus on research that will bring substantial benefits to society in terms of advancement of science, products and services in the marketplace. Scientists in CEPD Division come from different scientific and engineering backgrounds and have wide ranging R&D experience. They provide the right interdisciplinary knowledge-blend for carrying out coordinated research work in frontier areas. The R&D work has led to well equipped state-of-the-art laboratories with proper infrastructure satisfying safety norms. The Division undertakes well defined government R& D programmes as well as sponsored, collaborative, and consultancy projects with industries. It has a successful record of accomplishments that bring out solutions where none existed before. Various research activities of the division are: Modeling and simulation, Catalytic reactions and chemical kinetics, Green Chemistry and catalyst design for fine chemicals, Chiral chemistry for pharmaceuticals and synthesis of natural products, Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in reaction, reactor and plant design, mixing, multiphase flows, multiphase reactors, process intensification, process engineering and scale-up, coal gasification and combustion, CO2 capture and utilization, granular suspension dynamics and formation of microstructures, and micro-reactor design for continuous flow synthesis, Surface and materials chemistry, Separation processes including reactive separations, Crystallization, Effluent treatment, Biochemical Engineering, and Bioinformatics.