The self cleaning material developed by a team from JNCASR has won the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award 2013.
A self-cleaning surface has the ability to clean its dirt and dust by itself. In nature, the lotus leaf is one such example. Such a self‐cleaning material was successfully fabricated by Dr. T Govindaraju and his team of PhD students at the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research(JNCASR), Delhi.
They used a simple solution processing technique that reduces cost and facilitaes large-scale fabrication.Moreover,these surfaces are chemically inert and durable for long term usage.
Their paper on Self Cleaning Functional Molecular Materials was published in Angewandte Chemie , an International Science Journal. It has been chosen as a “Hot Paper” by the Editors for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of high current interest.
M.B Avinash, the lead author of the paper, obtained his Integrated M.Sc. (Hons.) in Applied Chemistry from Kuvempu University, Karnataka, in 2008. He secured 2 Gold Medals for being the topper in the University. Currently he is pursuing his PhD at New Chemistry Unit, JNCASR.
Inspiration for developing the self cleaning material: “Ever since I learnt about the self‐cleaning property (on which I had given a course‐work seminar) of lotus leaves, I was curious to design a new system. I had to put in lot of time and effort in ultimately fabricating a mimic with novel additional properties,”says Avinash.
Current Shortcomings: A very thin coating of ~50‐100 nm of gold was employed for the final product to facilitate chemical inertness and durability.
The team however claims that in spite of using gold, the final product price will turn out to be cheaper than the other commercial products available in the market. However, the team is looking at ways to reduce the net price by finding suitable alternatives for gold.