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Tile : Solution Properties of Mixed Surfactant Systems

PI: Dharmesh Varade, SEAS

Funding Organization: ITC Limited (Indian Tobacco Company)

Amount Sanctioned: approx. 50 Lakhs (Including Tax)

Duration: 3 years (August 2017- July 2020)


Summary: The main objective of this project is to develop profound understanding with tailored approach for utilizing surfactants in mixtures. This project involves a multitude of activities ranging from selection of surfactant mixtures, understanding and optimization of surfactant self-assembly and evaluating the physicochemical properties of the mixed surfactant systems. We envisioned a long term program to develop innovative solutions for creating design rules for utilizing these surfactant combinations in formulating the products. 


Title: Developing Data Analytics Architecture Applications in Agriculture

PI: Dr. Sanjay Chaudhary

Co-PI : Dr. Mehul Raval

Funding Organization: Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, (NRDMS - NSDI)

Funding Amount: Rs. 27.51 lacs

Duration: Two years, June 2017 to May 2019

Summary: Geo-spatial data is very important to develop flexible and versatile functions and applications, for developing multidisciplinary applications, helping in planning,  managing and utilizing natural resources efficiently using spatial analysis. We need common standards for data integration and effective analytical infrastructure and we aim to use OGC standards  for big data processing of spatial data. The core scientific and technological objectives are:

  • Development of big data integration and analytical platform built on open source architecture for enrichment of large data sets including geo-spatial data bases. Agriculture will be used as the domain to realize various aspects of proposed architecture.
  • Integration with already developed and deployed Decision Support Systems andSpatial Decision Support Systems for an application domain.
  •  Indexing, querying, analyzing, and visualizing Geo-spatial data at scale using open source.
  • To connect structured and unstructured data in real time or batch processing for data management and analytics of systems for decision making in operational environment, e.g applications like agro advisory system should be able to process event streams in a real time, extract relevant information and identify values that do not follow the general trends.
  •  Develop and implement distributed algorithm(s) to store and process geo-spatial data.
  •  Implement advanced data structures to store and process geo-spatial data in an efficient manner.


Title: Nanocrystalline substituted cobalt based metal oxides for oxygen evolution reaction: A prerequisite for photochemical water splitting

PI: Dr. Aditi Singhal

Co-PI: Dr. Arnab Dutta (IITGn)

Project Duration: 3 year (2017-2020)

Funding Organization: DST-SERB Extra Mural Research Award (EMR)

Funding Amount: Approx. Rs. 32 Lakhs

Summary: Clean and environmental friendly energy is the most important need of the 21st century. It is well known that the use of fossil fuels causes problems connected with source availability as well as with environmental compatibility. Hydrogen is going to be an important part of future energy systems and therefore, electrocatalysts that will evolve hydrogen with the lowest possible energy consumption will be very important. Electrocatalysis of water can be the best way to bridge the global energy supply between the present era of fossil fuels and the future era based on hydrogen economy. Water splitting, however, is controlled by difficult oxygen evolution reaction (OER) step because it involves 4 electrons and 4 protons transfer. If an efficient catalyst for OER could be developed, hydrogen can be produced efficiently by combining the catalyst with a solar device. In this way, oxygen and hydrogen can be generated without hampering the environment.

In this context, the current project focuses on designing more advanced cobalt based metal oxides and substituting them with transition metals. Cobalt oxide based materials have been chosen because they are economical and have shown promising activity towards OER recently. Prepared materials will be used as oxygen evolution reaction (OER) electrocatalysts with the aim to get higher catalytic activity in terms of low overpotential and high current density. The catalytic OER on one hand will give oxygen and on other hand it will also provide cost-effective route for clean, renewable hydrogen fuel which will be able to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and also result in minimizing the environmental pollution.


Title:  Non-parametric Smart Sensing Analytics based on Large Spectrum Data and Estimation of Channel Activity Statistics

Funding Agency: DST-UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), British Council

DST Theme: Data Science

India Partner: Ahmedabad University

UK Partner: University of Liverpool, Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GJ, United Kingdom

PI : (1) Dr. Dhaval Patel (Ahmedabad University - India) (2)  Dr. Miguel López-Benítez (University of Liverpool, UK)

Abstract: Future wireless networks will demand huge amounts of radio frequency spectrum resources. It is unlikely that such demand will be met without employing smart dynamic spectrum sharing approaches based on cognitive radio (CR) techniques. In this context, one important requirement of future wireless networks will be the ability to detect the presence of other wireless systems within a particular region of the spectrum occupancy data. Spectrum sensing is a popular approach to address this problem and constitutes a fundamental building block of CR systems. Existing sensing schemes are parametric and imperfect in nature, and unrealistic to implement on large scale networks due to various practical performance limitations. The main objective of this project is to develop feasible non-parametric smart sensing mechanisms with an improved performance obtained by exploiting statistical knowledge of the spectrum activity patterns, and validate their suitability by means of a proof-of-concept wireless prototype / test bed.

Grant approved: 120,112 GBP (1,03,29,646 INR) This is the total grant for India and UK partner. 

Project Tenure: Three Years (April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020) 


Title: Superstable Responsive Aqueous Foam for Synthesis of Novel Biomimetic Materials 

PI: Dr. Dharmesh Varade 

Co-PI: Dr. Ajay Karakoti 

Project Duration: 3 years

Starting date: March 2017

Ending date: Feb 2020 

Funding Organization: DST - SERB Early Career Research Award

Funding Amount: Approx. 40 Lakh

Proposal Summary:  The proposed project is on a simple and sustainable system that combines a good foamability and an outstanding foam stability, which can then be readily tuned to weak foam stability by changing the polymorphism of the system upon heating. To achieve this, catanionic surfactant systems, i.e. mixtures of cationic and anionic surfactants will be utilized. Such mixtures are expected to show decent properties with respect to foam formation and stabilization as they are well-known to pack very competently at the gas/water interface, affords free surfactant in solution and form vesicles usually considered at thermodynamic equilibrium. The existence of vesicles will affords bulk viscoelastic properties and provides good foam stabilities once generated as by efficiently blocking the liquid drainage. Here, the foamability and the outstanding foam stability of that system at room temperature will be studied, establishing the link to the supramolecular assembly (vesicles) in water; this stable foam can be used as templates for synthesis of novel biomimetic materials. In solution, those vesicles may melt into micelles at a temperature depending on the nature of the surfactants. Hence, this can allows us to tune the foam stability with temperature. The stabilizing surfactant aggregates adsorbed at the gas/liquid interface is quite analogous with the extended form of Langmuir monolayers. These monolayers, arranged parallel to each other and separated by Plateau border, offers greater possibility for the binding various charged ions at the gas–liquid interface, thereby, utilizing the liquid lamellae as a plausible template for growing a wide variety of biomimetic materials like metal and alloy nanoparticles (Au, Pt, Ag, Pd, Ni, Co etc.), metal oxide (CeO2) and metal oxide on metal (MOM) nanoparticles (CeO2@Au). We aim to study the enzymatic activity of bimetallic nanoparticles and compare the reactivity with individual nanoparticles particles prepared via the aqueous foam method. In addition, we would like to study the enzymatic activity of metal oxide on metal system using CeO2@Au as the model system as it will combine the peroxidase activity of gold with superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity of cerium oxide nanoparticles. This system if successful will be unique as we will be able to demonstrate and create an inorganic nanoparticle system that can show dual enzymatic activity in one system.

Broad Area: Nanocomposites and nanotechnology.

Subject Area: Chemistry and Materials Science


Title: Quaternion based leader-follower robust tracking control of an industrial robot using an anthropomorphic arm

PI: Dr. Harshal B. Oza

Project Duration: 3 years (2016-2019)

Funding Organization: Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

Funding Amount: Rs. 30 Lakhs

Summary: This research project aims to develop a method to control an industrial robot remotely. The principal motivation of this project is in developing a safe technology for operators of industrial robots with a potential to develop solutions for hazardous area applications. The currently available technology in the area makes the task of the operator cumbersome when interacting with a robot via two or three dimensional devices such as a joy-stick or teaching pendants. This project will make use of a dexterous wearable accessory as a leader that will generate desired joint trajectories of the follower 6-degree if freedom robot. A task space control of the end effector of the follower robot will be achieved by utilizing quaternion based robot kinematics and dynamics.

Title: Description based person identification in unconstrained surveillance video (2016 - 2019)

PI: Dr. Mehul S Raval

Co-PI: Dr Sanjay Chaudhary

Project Collaborator (PC): Anand Laddha, Scientific Officer, BARC, Trombay

Project Duration: 3 years

Funding Organization: Board of Research in Nuclear Science (BNRS), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India

Funding Amount: 20.92 Lakhs

Summary: The goal of the project is to locate a person-of-interest based on specific set of soft biometric attributes from a surveillance video without prior registration. The project will integrate and minimize semantic gap between han input image or a video frame and then uses these features to locate a matching individual in the video streamuman descriptions and soft biometric traits. Moreover it aims at extracting soft biometric features from an input image or a video frame and then uses these features to locate a matching individual in the video stream. This project will add another dimension to surveillance as human cognitive perceptions are used while searching the video streams.

Title: Systematic Design of Redox Potential Tunable Nanoparticles to Mimic the Function of Biological Enzymes for Mitigating the Diseases caused by Reactive Oxygen Species

PI: Dr. Ajay Karakoti

Co-PI: Dr. Sanjay Singh

Project Duration: 3 years

Starting date: June 2016

Ending date: May 2019

Funding Organization: DST - SERB Early Career Research Award

Funding Amount: 33 Lakh

Proposal Summary: Excessive generation of ROS has been linked to various conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancers, atherosclerosis, macular degeneration, cardiac fibrosis and arthritis. Antioxidants are now being looked upon as persuasive therapeutic agents against the diseases and disorders caused by ROS, as they have capability to neutralize free radicals. In this proposal it is hypothesized that ROS scavenging activity of cerium oxide nanoparticles can be increased by modification of its redox potential. It is proposed to synthesize a library of novel cerium oxide nanoparticles with varying redox potentials by testing the hypothesis that covalent ligation with electron withdrawing and donating groups can change its redox potential. Cerium oxide nanoparticles will be synthesized and functionalized with ligands of varying electronic properties. Interaction between various ligands and nanoparticles will be quantified by calorimetry and the effect of ligand functionalization on redox potential will be measured. In-vitro ROS scavenging activity of bare and functionalized nanoparticles will be correlated with the shift in redox potential. The mechanism of nanoparticle uptake will also be studied before and after functionalization of nanoparticles with ligands. ROS protection in mammalian cells will be tested by depleting the cell glutathione which would increase the cytoplasmic concentration of free radicals.

Broad Area: Synthetic enzymes and nanotechnology

Subject Area: Chemistry and Materials Science

Title: Design and Performance Analysis of Non-parametric Detection algorithm for Cognitive Radio - MIMO Communications

PI: Dr. Dhaval Patel

Co-PI: Dr. Sanjay Chaudhary

Funding Organization: Gujarat Council on Science and Technology (GUJCOST), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of Gujarat

Funding Amount: Rs. 4,30,000/-

Project Duration: Two Years

Starting date: 1st June 2016

Ending date: 31st May 2018

Project Summary: The aim of the project is to develop non-parametric detection algorithm and analyze the performance in a real-time wireless environment. In this project, we focus on the study and Monte-Carlo simulations of a new non-parametric scheme to detect the presence of the primary user without knowing its structure and channel information. The work includes the detailed performance evaluation of non-parametric detection scheme in the actual wireless environment. To achieve this, GNURADIO software and the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) hardware based wireless test bed will be created to prepare the experimental setup of CR-MIMO (Cognitive Radio – Multiple Input Multiple Output) systems. Thus, the project will provide simulations and an experimental performance evaluation of non-parametric detection schemes to provide opportunistic spectrum access in a cognitive radio environment.

Title: ASVI – Assistance System for the Visually Impaired

PI: Dr. Harshal Oza

Co-PIs: Jaina Mehta, Rishabh Shah

Project Duration: 1 year

Starting date: December 2015

Ending date: February 2017

Funding Organization: Ahmedabad University

Funding Amount: 4.58 Lakhs

Summary: ASVI is an idea to develop a system for the visually impaired, so that they can be informed before some critical obstacles are encountered. As is the case with most research projects in this field, the proposed project has its motivation in devising the technology to ensure safe movements for the user. The project will detect stationary objects posing hazards for the user and intimate them beforehand. It is envisaged to provide necessary aid in avoiding obstacles in lateral movements as well. A prototype will be built with the ultimate goal of reaching out to a wider user base.

Title: Inorganic Layered Materials: New Opportunities for Nanomaterial Synthesis and Novel Multifunctional Catalyst Design

PI: Dr. Dharmesh Varade

Project Duration: 3 year

Starting date: 1st April 2015

Ending date: 31st March 2018

Funding Organization: Ahmedabad University

Funding Amount: 11.82 Lakhs

Summary: The large need for new materials in general and highly functional materials in particular is the motivation for the proposed project. Seminal recent studies by applicant that have shed new light on the remarkable properties of inorganic layered materials (e.g.; Clay, LDH etc.) interactions with noble and non-noble metals suggest unexplored opportunities for nanomaterial synthesis and multifunctional catalyst scaffold design. To obtain these versatile materials, green and competent approach will be utilized, which can emerge as a potential pathway to a new class of intriguing materials with wide-ranging applications. This will help prominently to create many fascinating opportunities and knowledge for emerging advanced and functional materials.

Funding for research infrastructure

Type of Funding: Infrastructure - Gujarat Institute of Chemical Technology (GICT)

Title: Establishment of Basic Lab for Research in Novel Engineered Materials

PI: Dr. Ajay Karakoti, SEAS

Funds allocated: 85 Lakhs

Project Duration: NA

Summary(Short): This funding will support the creation of a basic R&D laboratory infrastructure for the faculty and students of SEAS. The basic infrastructure will allow faculty and students to synthesize novel materials in the broader areas of energy and environment with special focus on selected areas such as catalysis, hydrogen storage, water treatment, extraction processes and chemical and gas sensors. The proposed laboratory will be established in 200 square meter area fully equipped with chemical resistant laboratory benches, fume hoods and small instruments to facilitate research such as pH meter, conductivity meter, analytical and coarse weighing balances, centrifuge, probe and batch sonicator, UV-Visible spectrophotometer, tube furnace, muffle furnace, hot air oven, vacuum oven, rotary evaporator among other things.

Broad Area: Energy and Environment

Subject Area: Chemistry and Materials Science

Grants and Funds Awarded

Institute of Engineering and Technology, Ahmedabad University receives generous grant from Gujarat Institute of Chemical Technology (GICT), Ahmedabad for the development of common research lab. It will strengthen research in the domain of Chemical Engineering and Multi-disciplinary research activities.