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Post doctoral fellow

My primary research interest has been towards developing and modifying the instrumentation of in-house developed set up of Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) techniques, in order to glean better insight of electronic as well as charge transport properties of various nanostructures including molecular self-assemblies. Along with systems developed in-house I have also been working on high end commercial SPM instruments, so as to have expertise on both probe microscopy systems. This has helped me in understanding and analyzing the advantages of each system for a given research problem.

I have earned my doctoral degree in Physics from SP Pune University, Pune, India under the guidance of Prof. C. V. Dharmadhikari. Prof. Dharmadhikari’s group is unique and only one in India, which is working on instrumentation and measuring modes of SPM. This experience, as documented in my CV, provided me with a broader perspective on these methods and in particular with the capability to perform many dedicated experiments to investigate and modify atomic structure and local properties at surfaces which go far beyond mere imaging. Soon after obtaining doctoral degree, I started working as a postdoctoral researcher. As of now I was associated with three leading research groups of India.

I stared my postdoctoral career as a UGC’s Dr. D. S. Kothari postdoctoral fellow at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India with Dr. Aparna Deshpande, then I worked as UGC’s Dr. D. S. Kothari postdoctoral fellow at Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, India with Prof. D. D. Sarma.

After that, I was associated for a short duration as Postdoctoral researcher at Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, India with Prof. Arindam Ghosh.

Currently I am working as a TRIL Postdoctoral Fellow with International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste 34151, Italy. In collaboration with CNR-IOM, Trieste, Italy. I am associated with the Surface Structure and Reactivity at the Atomic Scale (STRAS) group of Dr. Cristina Africh, where I am using commercial, state-of-the-art Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) operating in Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) and at low temperature, with a dedicated UHV sample preparation chamber.

My particular interest here is to design atomic and molecular structures on surfaces by molecular level self-assembly and atom-by-atom manipulation and to investigate the structure and the properties of such structures using scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS).

From my doctoral days I have been working in close collaboration with the team of scientists from diverse training background and expertise such as physicists, chemists, engineers and theorists. These collaborations have helped me in analyzing a specific scientific problem with a broader perspective. Some of such projects that I have worked on are outlined below.
a) Modification and calibration of existing indigenously developed setup of Photon Emitting Scanning Tunneling Microscope to simultaneously study optical and electronic properties of individual nanostructures.
b) Development and calibration of sample heating assembly for STM to perform temperature dependent imaging/spectroscopy on different samples.
c) Synthesis and investigation of gold nanoparticles along with their composites for memory, charge storage application. We have successfully studied memory characteristics of these composite films and also investigated them thoroughly with STM along with temperature dependent STS to understand the process of charge transport.
d) Characterization of silicon nanoparticles with oxygen, hydrogen, heptane passivation from photovoltaic application point of view. STM/STS along with other characterization techniques were used thoroughly to understand the exact mechanism of passivation of solar cell as well as silicon surface with the help of these nanoparticles.
e) Atomic level imaging of graphene-like nanocarbon was performed with the help of STM/STS to analyze the role of defects present in the atomic arrangement. Imaging of graphene-like nanocarbon was done successfully and STS measurements were performed at several defect sites of the graphene-like nanocarbon.

In the ongoing project I am trying to get better insight about on the growth and characterization of Boron doped graphene on Ni (111) substrate. I was involved in the growth process of the sample followed by the scanning tunneling microscopic imaging of the surface. We also had a chance to further analyse the sample with the synchrotron radiation light source Elettra. I was also involved in one of the other projects of the group in which we are probing the interaction of cobalt tetraphenylporphyrin (CoTPP) molecules and the Ag(100) surface by means of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy.