Nanotechnology and Physics of Materials are two of the most progressive branches in the Materials Science and Technology field. Among them, the nanotechnology is considered as a key technology for the future to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications.
Sri Lanka is well known for processing a variety of economically useful minerals, which are mainly being exported as cheap raw materials but playing a main role in global materials based industry. Proper value addition to our economically useful local materials has almost been lacking, due to dearth of advanced scientific research conducting in the country. However, the recently endorsed National Nanotechnology Initiative facilitates scientists to investigate into applications in nanotechnology with a view to add value in practically every aspects of our exports hence achieving technological progress and competitiveness.
The Nanotechnology and Physics of Materials Project of NIFS commenced its work in January 2013. At present, the following two sub projects, which emphasize on the basic and fundamental scientific aspects on advanced synthetic materials and advanced materials derived from Sri Lankan minerals, are carried out under this project.
Study of mechanism and effect of dopents in advanced transition metal semiconductors
Preliminarily, the effect of the precursor on crystal growth in nano particle formation is investigated in order to understand the mechanisms to control the size of the particles from sub micron to nano scales. The gain knowledge is extended to prepare advanced transition metal semiconducting materials with appropriate particle size. Further, fundamental scientific investigations are carried out to study the mechanism and the effect of dopents on electrical and electrochemical property enhancement of these advanced transition metal semiconducting materials. The long term objectives of this sub-project are twofold as follows. Development of efficient mechanisms and techniques for synthesizing nano particles. Introduction of performance enhanced advanced transition metal semiconducting materials for electrochemical energy conversion applications such as Li-ion, Na-ion and Mg-ion rechargeable batteries.
Investigation of ion intercalation in advanced materials derived from Sri Lankan minerals
Primarily, investigations on deriving advanced materials out of abundant Sri Lankan minerals are carried out under this sub project. These advanced materials derived from the local minerals will then be subjected to fundamental investigations on structural modification in atomic/nano scale. Furthermore, advanced scientific investigations on ion intercalation/de-intercalation mechanisms and electrochemical behaviour of these intercalated materials will be carried out.The long term objective of this sub-project is the conversion of Sri Lankan natural minerals in to highly upgraded advanced materials such as high purity graphite, surface modified graphite, extended graphite, graphene and nano-carbon composites…etc, which are pricey materials for a number of advanced nano technological and high-tech industrial applications. Moreover, application oriented performance enhancement of these developed materials are carried out specially aiming for energy conversion applications such as in rechargeable batteries.
Postgraduate degrees obtained:
M. Phil students
Dr. H.W.M.A.C. Wijayasinghe
Mr. R.I.C.N. Karunaratne
Mr. G.D.K. Heshan
Mr. W. G. Jayasekara