You are on page 1of 73

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 1


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Newsletter
Of
NORTH EAST INDIA RESEARCH FORUM

Cover page: The collage includes pictures extracted from the Large Hadron
Collider at CERN, overground surface in Switzerland and France above the
accelerator ring and simulated production of black hole in ATLAS.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/northeast_india_research/
www.neindiaresearch.org

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 2


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Editorial
It is really an honor and privilege for considered as an engine for social and
me to pen the editorial of the North East economic progress. Economists estimated,
Quest, the news letter of the North East for instance, that more than 40 percent
India Research Forum. At first I must growth in US economy over the second
thank Dr. Arindam Adhikari for his fine half of 20th century came from the
dream and action leading to the creation of investments in fundamental research.
this wonderful forum. I think many of his Coming to the political situation, it is
dreams are near realization. This forum is really sad to see the region, even after six
proved to be a useful media for sharing decades of independence, continued to be
papers, reprints, and other scientific and plagued with insurgency and violence.
career related information among the Kidnapping, extortion, killing, bomb blast
members. and bandh are some day to day events. In
Now let’s come to some important fact, the post-independence political
issues of the region. If the advancement of developments have reduced the region into
knowledge and human resources are a peripheral outpost barring from all
prerequisites for social and economic affairs of the nation and its consequences
growth, then the brain drain from this were ignored over the decades. Today,
remote region needs to be checked considering the complex nature of the
immediately. Every year especially after problems, situation demands a flexible but
the declaration of 10+2 results, a large robust conflict management policy. There
number of students along with a huge should be proper analysis of conflict
amount of money move out to other Indian situations and its diverse aspects without
cities mostly southern for better education any prejudice, and address them seriously
for a competitive globalised job market. and sincerely. Government’s desperate
Some families consider education attempts to maintain status quo need to be
outsourcing as a status symbol either. And changed at least partially. The talks with
the prevailing political situation is also NSCN (IM) are continuing for years
responsible for this unabated exodus of without any resolution in sight. After all,
students from this region. However we cannot solve today’s problem using
resource and infrastructure of many of yesterday’s tools.
those technical institutions are not From this issue a new column is
adequate. Hope this does not sound introduced – software of the issue – and
something like the “ONGREJI HATAO” for the beginning “Gaussian 09” is
(Remove English) slogan of our freedom included. Many software packages are
fighters. Of course, this is not a totally available; some of them are widely used
new development. At the time of British by researchers and scientists. Something
era, best minds went mostly to Calcutta, of all those softwares is worth knowing
now the destinations have changed. So, and so the column should to continue.
without compromising quality, higher Before logging out, I thank the editorial
education must be expanded along with board members and contributors for their
innovative programs of study. Of late committed support towards the survival of
there is a movement to set up some North East Quest. I am also thankful to
institutions like IIT, IIM, NIT, Royal Panacea studio (Anirban Adhikari) for
Institute of Managements, etc. have designing the cover page. Wish a glorious
ushered a hope to become north east a journey of the North East Quest.
potential destination and may also
contribute to the development of an -- Abdul Wahab
integrated NE personality.
Among other factors, a peaceful
political situation is crucial for science to
flourish. In today’s global economy,
scientific discovery and innovation is

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 3


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1. THE FORUM 5
2. SCIENCE NEWS & DISCOVERIES 9
3. SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGH OF 2009 22
4. NORTHEAST INDIANS MADE US PROUD 26
5. MEMBERS IN NEWS, AWARDS /FELLOWSHIPS 28
6. INSTRUMENT OF THE ISSUE – MALDI 29
Khirud Gogoi
7. SOFTWARE OF THE ISSUE – Gaussian 09 32

8. ARTICLES SECTION

a) Electrochemical Supercapacitors: A Newly Developing Science and


Technology for Electrochemical Energy Storage 37
Nurul Alam Choudhury (Invited article)

b) Automotive exhaust catalysis 40


Pankaj Bharali

c) Sonoelectrochemical Processes: Scale up from Sonovoltammetry


to Pre-Pilot Plant for Trichloroacetic Acid Degradation 44
M.D. Esclapez, V. Sáez, D. Milán-Yáńez, I. Tudela, O. Louisnard,
J. González-García (Guest article)

d) Indigenous Knowledge on Natural Dye of NE Region towards


Green Chemistry 49
Chandan Tamuly

e) Experiencing the ‘Nobel’ Week 54


Arindam Adhikari

f) Climate Confusion – Science Must End Climate Confusion 61

9. THESIS ABSTRACT
Synthesis and Application of Shape Tunable Metal and
Metal Oxide Nanoparticles 63
Md. Harunar Rashid

10. MEMBER’S FACE 66


11. PhD/POSTDOC OPPORTUNITIES 67
12. CONFERENCE CALL 69
13. THROUGH THE LENS OF THE MEMBERS 71
-------

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 4


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

North East India Research Forum was 4. Corruption = 18%


th 5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4%
created on 13 November 2004.

1. How we are growing. • Which area of science is going to


dominate by creating a great impact
Every forum has to pass through on society in next decade?
difficult phases at the time of birth. NE
India Research Forum is also no 1. Nanoscience & nanotechnology =
exception. At the very beginning, it was 22%
a march hardly with few members 2. Biotechnology = 11%
(from chemistry only) and today the 3. Nanobiotechnology = 38%
forum comprised of a force of more 4. Chemical Engineering = 0%
than 300 elite members. Now we are in 5. Medicine = 11%
a position such that people voluntarily 6. Others = 16%
come and join the group irrespective of 7. None = 0%
disciplines.
• Kindly let us know your view
regarding the following topic. What
activities of this group you like
most?

1. Research articles = 33%


2. Information about
vacancy/positions available =
10%
3. Way to have a contact with all
Graph of no of members w.r.t. months members = 29%
4. Scientific discussions = 14%
2. Discussions held in the forum 5. Others = 2%

• Necessity of directory of all the • Selection of name for Newsletter


members of the forum.
• Possibility of organising conference There were total 36 proposals submitted
in the N. E. India. by members of the forum for the
• Taking initiation on setting up of Newsletter. The name proposed by Mr.
South East Asian Scientific Abhishek Choudhury, N.E. QUEST
Institute. received the maximum number of votes
• On selection of Best paper award. and hence it is accepted as the name of
• Let us introspect. the Newsletter.

3. Poll conducted and results • How often should we publish our


newsletter '' N. E. Quest’’?
• North East India is lacking behind
the rest of the country due to- 1. Every 3 months = 61%
2. Every 6 months = 38%
1. Geographical constrain = 0% 3. Once a year = 0%
2. Bad leadership = 40%
3. Lack of work culture = 36%

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 5


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

4. Editors of Previous NE-Quest • Research collaboration among


Issues forum members.

1. Vol 1 Issue 1 April, 2007 • Motivate student to opt for science


Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari education.
2. Vol 1 Issue 2 July 2007
Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath • Help master’s students in doing
3. Vol 1 Issue 3 October 2007 projects in different organisation-
Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur proposed by Dr. Khirud Gogoi.
4. Vol 1 Issue 4 January 2008
Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia • Supporting schools in rural areas by
5. Vol 2 Issue 1 April 2008 different ways.
Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka
6. Vol 2 Issue 2 July 2008 • Best paper awards.
Editor: Dr. Rashmi Rekha Devi
7. Vol 2 Issue 3 October 2008 • Compilation of book on ‘Education
Editor: Dr. Prodeep Phukan system of different countries’.
8. Vol 2 Issue 4 January 2009 Initiative for this project is taken by
Editor: Dr. Manab Sharma Dr. Mantu Bhuyan, NEIST, Jorhat,
9. Vol 3 Issue 1 April 2009 Assam
Editor: Dr. Debananda Ningthoujam
10. Vol 3 Issue 2 July 2009 7. New activity
Editor: Dr. Robert Singh Thangjam
11. Vol 3 Issue 3 October 2009 • HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd is
Editor: Dr. Pankaj Bharali willing to sponsor some future
12. Vol. 3 Issue 4 January 2010 activities of the forum and have
Editor: Dr. Abdul Wahab asked for space to advertise for their
(Current issue) products in the N..E.Quest. Starting
this issue (July 2009) N.E.Quest is
5. A domain in the name of www. providing one page for the
neindiaresearch.org is booked. advertisement. Details about this
deal will be informed soon once
6. Future activities finalised. Thanks to Dr. Robert
Thangjam for his initiative in this
Proper planning and consequent matter.
implementation always play an
important role in every aspect. Some of • North East India Research Forum cells
the topics / activities / suggestions have been started in the following
which were being discussed, time to universities and colleges,
time in the forum will get top priorities
in our future activities. Those are Cell in the Dibrugarh University
mentioned here, Contact: Dr. Jitu Ranjan Chetia
Dept. of Chemistry
• Preparing complete online database Email: jituranjan@yahoo.co.in
of N.E. researchers with details.
Cell in Tezpur University
• Organising conference in the N.E. Contact: Dr. Ashim J. Thakur
region-proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora. Dept. of Chemistry
Email: ajtthax@yahoo.com

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 6


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Phone: +91 (3712) 267008/9/10 extn Email: katharpankaj@yahoo.com


5059 &
Mr. Satyendra Nath Kalita,
Cell in Manipur University Lecturer, Deptt. of Zoology
Contact: Dr. Debananda S. Ningthoujam Email: satyendranathkalita@gmail.com
Coordinator, Microbial Biotech Lab
Reader & Head, To run the forum smoothly, to
Dept of Biochemistry, make it more organised and to speed up
Manipur University, Canchipur, activities, formation of a
Imphal, India committee/team is essential. The
Email: n.debananda@gmail.com combined discussion of the moderators
and senior members make the forum
Cell in Mizoram University feel the importance of Advisors, co-
Contact: Dr. Thangjam Robert Singh ordinator, volunteer, webmasters etc.
Assistant Professor Of course it needs more discussion and
Department of Biotechnology will be approved by poll.
Mizoram University,
Aizawl, India 8. Guidelines for the forum
Email: robth@mzu.edu.in
Phone: +91 389-2330861/2330859 (O) The moderators formulated some
guidelines for the forum which are as
Cell in Govt. Science College, Jorhat follow. These guidelines were kept
(Jorhat Institute of Technology) open for discussion in the forum. With
Contact: Mr. Prasanta Kumar Bordoloi, time and need the guidelines will be
Senior Lecturer changed.
Email: prasantabordoloi@yahoo.co.in
Mobile: +91-9957036339 1. Anybody in the forum can start a
meaningful and constructive
Cell in Arya Vidyapeth College, discussion after discussion with
Guwahati moderators.
Contact: Mr. Pabitra Kalita, 2. Comments from the individual
Senior Lecturer
members do not necessarily reflect
Email: pabitra_kalita@rediffmail.com
the view of the forum.
Mobile No: +91-9613133859
3. No single moderator can take a
&
Dr. Pradip Bhattacharyya, crucial decision. All decision would
Senior Lecturer be taken by the moderators
Email: prdpbhatta@yahoo.com unanimously or together with the
Mobile No: +91-9864087494 group as majority.
4. One should not write any massage
Cell in Pandu College, Pandu to the forum addressing some
Contact: Mr. Sanchay Jyoti Bora particular members. It should
Lecturer, Department of Chemistry always start with Dear all / Dear
E-mail: sanchay.bora@gmail.com esteemed members etc.
Mobile: (+91) 9854078814 5. If one has to write a mail to a
particular member she/he should
Cell in Bajali college, Pathsala write personal mail.
Contact: Mr. Arindam Talukdar, 6. Everyone has the freedom to speak
Lecturer, Environment and Tourism but that doesn’t mean that one
Dept. should attack personally. Of course

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 7


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

we do have differences. There can continues, it becomes an irritation


be debate or discussion, but it also for many members.
should always be a healthy one.
• It is also the duty of the person who
One’s personal comment should be
requests article to acknowledge the
written in such a way that it reflects
person who helped him/her. This
his/her view only. It should not
can be done by writing ' Request
touch other's sentiments/emotions.
fulfilled by......' in the subject area
7. Whenever we are in a forum,
while composing the mail and write
society, home, members should be
a thanking message in the main
sensitive / caring enough to their
message board. Once this is done,
comments so that it does not hurt
then if some other members want to
sentiment of any second members.
send the article will know about the
8. Members should not post greetings
status of the request. This will also
messages (Bihu wish, New Year
help members in keeping mailbox
wish etc) to the forum.
clean.
9. Members should post authentic
news only. The source of the news • Before asking for article, he/she
should be authentic. No should always check his/her
controversial news or comment institute/university libraries (online
should be posted to the forum. resources). If it is not available or
10. Our main aim is to discuss science accessible then only the member
to generate science consciousness, should request to the forum.
scientific temperament, sensitivity,
• Moreover sending articles
awareness and research for the
benefit of the mankind in general (copyright protected articles) to the
and North East India in particular. open forum violates copyright act.
11. In severe cases, moderators can take So please send the article to the
a hard decision unanimously or person who requests not to
majority wise (may be through everybody through this open forum.
poll). (This point needs to be
accepted by all the members).
-------0-------
While sending request or while
fulfilling request for articles please
follow the following points.
• The forum has been formed to help
each other. When a member
requests articles/literature to forum,
members of the forum are always
happy to help the person by
supplying the articles. But at this
stage we have to keep in mind that
the article should be sent to the
person who requested it, not to the
whole forum as it creates lots of
unnecessary mails in the message
box of the forum. Moreover if it

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 8


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

CSIR team maps India’s first human


The Large Hadron Collider, Revived genome

It is largest science experiment


ever conducted. The Large Hadron
Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European A team of scientists of Institute of
Organization for Nuclear Research, Genomics and Integrative Biology
took a quarter of a century to plan and (IGIB), a council of scientific and
about $10 billion to build. Housed in a industrial research (CSIR) lab, on 8th
17-mile underground ring, the LHC has December 2009 declared success in
been designed to accelerate particles at decoding the genome sequencing of an
temperatures colder than that of deep Indian citizen, a move that opens vistas
space to a velocity approaching the for low cost healthcare and predictive
speed of light. Beset by a series of medicine for the masses. The
hiccups and delays, the CERN scientists sequencing of the genome puts India in
on Nov. 29 finally recorded a a select group of countries including the
benchmark achievement, powering up a US, the UK, Canada, Korea and China,
proton beam to an energy of 1.05 who have demonstrated such capability,
trillion electron volts (TeV), overtaking Samir Brahmachari, director general of
the Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab in CSIR, told reporters at New Delhi. He
Illinois as the world's most powerful said the genome has 3.1 billion base
accelerator. Eventually the machine pairs and the team at IGIB generated
will power up to as much as 7 TeV, over 51 Gigabases of data using next
causing collisions of such high energy generation sequencing technology. The
that they will re-create the conditions in sequencing of first human genome in
the seconds after the Big Bang. Amid India, sets the stage for India’s entry
the by-products of these collisions, into the elite club which will open up
physicists will be searching for signs of new possibilities in diagnostics,
a hypothetical subatomic particle called treatment and low-cost affordable
the Higgs boson, which according to healthcare in future for the masses, he
current theory is responsible for said. The Indian genome sequence,
imparting mass to all things in the achieved in about nine weeks at a cost
universe. Other scientists are hoping for of $30,000, is among sequences of 14
even deeper clues, like confirmation of persons available worldwide, IGIB
an ambitious theory called director Rajesh Gokhale said. The first
supersymmetry. Let the physics begin. genome sequencing was a global effort
achieved by several scientists across the
(Source: www.time.com)
world over a period of 13 years

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 9


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

beginning in 1990 with an investment (Source: www.time.com)


of $3.5 billion.
The Fundamental Lemma, Solved
(Source: The Times of India)

A New Planet (or Brown Dwarf?)


Discovered

In 1979 the Canadian-American


mathematician Robert Langlands
developed an ambitious and
revolutionary theory that connected two
branches of mathematics called number
In last December, an international team theory and group theory. In a dazzling
of astronomers announced it had set of conjectures and insights, the
spotted a planet like object orbiting a theory captured deep symmetries
star much like our sun. The star lies 300 associated with equations that involve
trillion miles, or about 50 light-years, whole numbers, laying out what is now
from Earth; the planet like object is known as the Langlands program.
estimated to be 10 to 40 times the size Langlands knew that the task of proving
of Jupiter. Using a new planet-hunting the assumptions that underlie his theory
instrument on the Subaru telescope in would be the work of generations. But
Hawaii, scientists were able to get he was convinced that one stepping
direct images of this new object — stone that needed confirmation —
which may or may not be a brown dubbed the "fundamental lemma" —
dwarf (a failed star). Although direct would be reasonably straightforward.
images of other solar systems have been He, his collaborators and his students
taken before, this is the first time were able to prove special cases of this
astronomers have captured a star this fundamental theorem. But proving the
similar to the sun in size and general case proved more difficult than
temperature. Scientists say the real Langlands anticipated — so difficult, in
surprise is the location of the orbit of fact, that it took 30 years to finally
GJ 758 B, as the newly identified object achieve. Over the past few years, Ngo
was dubbed: it was previously thought Bao Chau, a Vietnamese mathematician
that large planets form either closer to working at Université Paris-Sud and the
or farther from their stars, but not in the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in
location of GJ 758 B, which is about as Princeton, formulated an ingenious
far from its star as Neptune is from the proof of the fundamental lemma. When
sun. Alan Boss, an astronomer at the it was checked this year and confirmed
Carnegie Institute for Science who was to be correct, mathematicians around
not involved in the research, said the the globe breathed a sigh of relief.
"beautiful detection of a very low-mass Mathematicians' work in this area in the
companion to a sun like star reminds us last three decades was predicated on the
again how little we truly know" about principle that the fundamental lemma
the planets around nearby stars. was indeed accurate and would one day
be proved. "It's as if people were

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 10


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

working on the far side of the river Inching our reality ever closer to
waiting for someone to throw this Star Trek's, scientists at the University
bridge across," says Peter Sarnak, a of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute
number theorist at IAS. "And now all of successfully teleported data from one
sudden everyone's work on the other atom to another in a container a meter
side of the river has been proven." away. A landmark in the brain-bending
field known as quantum information
(Source: www.time.com) processing, the experiment doesn't quite
have the cool factor of body
Water on the Moon transportation; one atom merely
transforms the other so it acts just like
the first. Still, atom-to-atom
teleportation has major implications for
creating supersecure, ultra-fast
computers.
(Source: www.time.com)

AIDS Vaccine
There is water on the moon, scientists
stated unequivocally in last November.
Gallons of it. On Oct. 9, NASA used a
rocket to punch a hole about 100 ft.
across the moon's surface, then
measured about 25 gal. of water vapor
and ice in the resulting debris. Some
scientists speculated that there may be
enough water in the craters of the
moon's poles to sustain future colonies In a field that has seen more failure than
of astronauts. Others said the ice could success, experts received the news of an
hold a historical record of the solar effective new AIDS vaccine with a fair
system. NASA said the first priority share of skepticism. In last September,
was to figure out where the water came a $105 million trial of a novel
from and measure how much of it there combination of two older vaccines was
is. Meanwhile, the discovery had a the first to show protection against HIV
more immediate and widespread impact infection. The results of the trial, which
among the rest of us: the rekindling of involved more than 16,000 volunteers,
an old thrill. In 2009, the moon, our suggested that the vaccine was 31%
recently neglected neighbor, regained effective at preventing infection among
her mystery. those who were inoculated. It was a
(Source: www.time.com) modest outcome, given that behavior-
based prevention methods, like condom
Teleportation! use, can be equally if not more
effective. The volunteers were also
largely heterosexual and monogamous,
putting them at low-to-moderate risk
for HIV infection — rather than high-
risk, like intravenous drug users — and
prompting questions about how
impressive the results of the study

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 11


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

really were. But given that no other The birth of yet another
inoculation has shown any effect laboratory mouse is hardly worth noting
against the AIDS virus, it was reason to — unless the furry creature is the first
celebrate — cautiously. to be developed from stem cells that do
not involve embryonic cells. That
(Source: www.time.com) deserves to be called a breakthrough.
The new pups, whose creation in two
Breeding Tuna on Land separate labs in China was announced
in July, were the first to be bred from
induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
These are adult cells (usually skin cells)
that scientists reprogram back to their
embryonic state by introducing four
genes. The reprogrammed stem cells
are then programmed again to develop
into mice, a feat that has been
accomplished before only using
embryonic stem cells. Breeding an
In Australia, a tankful of southern entire mouse that is itself capable of
bluefin tuna — regal, predatory fish reproducing — as the mice did in one
prized for their buttery sashimi meat — of the Chinese labs — is a strong sign
began to spawn, and they didn't stop for that iPS cells may be as useful as
more than a month. "People said, 'It embryonic stem cells for a potential
can't be done, it can't be done’," said source of treatments for disease,
Hagen Stehr, founder of Clean Seas, the scientists said.
Australian company that operates the
(Source: www.time.com)
breeding facility. "Now we've done it."
Scientists believe that the breeding The Human Epigenome, Decoded
population of the highly migratory
southern bluefin has probably
plummeted more than 90% since the
1950s. Others have gotten Pacific
bluefin to spawn and grow in ocean
cages, but by coaxing the notoriously
fussy southern bluefin to breed in
landlocked tanks, Clean Seas may
finally have given the future of bluefin
aquaculture legs.
(Source: www.time.com)
The decoding of the human
Stem-Cell-Created Mice genome nearly a decade ago fueled
expectations that an understanding of
all human hereditary influences was
within sight. But the connections
between genes and, say, disease turned
out to be far more complicated than
imagined. What has since emerged is a
new frontier in the study of genetic
signaling known as epigenetics, which
holds that the behavior of genes can be

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 12


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

modified by environmental influences results were shocking to most — "We


and that those changes can be passed said it was possible, but every single
down through generations. So people person I talked to said, 'Absolutely not,'
who smoke cigarettes in their youth, for " said study co-author Jay Neitz of the
example, sustain certain epigenetic University of Washington — and raised
changes, which may then increase the the possibility that a range of vision
risk that their children's children will defects could someday be cured. That's
reach puberty early. In October, a team a transformative prospect in itself, but
led by Joseph Ecker at the Salk Institute the discovery further suggests that it
in La Jolla, California, studied human may be possible to enhance senses in
skin and stem cells to produce the first "healthy" people too, truly
detailed map of the human epigenome. revolutionizing the way we see the
By comparing this with the epigenomes world.
of diseased cells, scientists will be able
to work out how glitches in the (Source: www.time.com)
epigenome may lead to cancers and
other diseases. The study, which was A Robot Performs Science
published in the journal Nature, is a
giant leap in geneticists' quest to better
understand the strange witches' brew of
nature and nurture that makes us who
we are.
(Source: www.time.com)

Gene Therapy Cures Color Blindness

By any standard, it was an


elementary discovery — the
identification of the role of about a
dozen genes in a yeast cell. But what
made this finding a major breakthrough
was the unlikely form of the scientist: a
robot. In April, "Adam," a machine
designed at Aberystwyth University in
Wales, became the first robotic system
Modern science already offers to make a novel scientific discovery
ways to enhance your mood, sex drive, with virtually no human intellectual
athletic performance, concentration input. Robots have long been used in
levels and overall health, but a experiments — their vast computational
discovery in September suggests that power assisted in the sequencing of the
truly revolutionary human enhancement human genome, for example — but
may soon move from science fiction to Adam was the first to complete the
reality. A study in Nature reported that cycle from hypothesis to experiment to
a team of ophthalmologists had injected reformulated hypothesis without human
genes that produce color-detecting intervention. Interviewed after Adam's
proteins into the eyes of two color-blind experiment appeared in Science,
monkeys, allowing the animals to see inventor Ross King argued that
red and green for the first time. The artificial intelligence had almost
limitless scientific potential — and that

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 13


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

a computer would one day make a The new study, a five-year


discovery akin to Einstein's special examination of variation at some
theory of relativity. "There isn't any 55,000 SNPs in 1928 individuals, found
intrinsic reason why that wouldn't that Negrito populations had a high
happen," he said. "A computer can level of genetic overlap with other
make beautiful chess moves, but it's not southeast Asia populations, suggesting
doing anything special. In my view, a common ancestry. East Asians, the
that's what's going to happen in analysis suggests, share a large degree
science." of common genetic background with
southeast Asians but very little with
(Source: www.time.com) central Asians, seeming to preclude a
peopling of east Asia through a
Asia Populated in One Migratory northern route via the Eurasian Steppes.
Swoop And genetic variation within local
(Large genetic study brings message of populations decreased from southeast to
ancestral unity.) northeast Asia. The two observations
suggest that diverse peoples living in
Researchers mapping a massive array southeast Asia migrated northwards.
of genomes across Asia say they have
found evidence that humans covered
the continent in a single migratory
wave, and share a common ancestry.
The findings were released by the
Human Genome Organisation (HUGO)
Pan-Asian SNP Consortium which
looks at single-nucleotide
polymorphisms (SNPs), or variations at
individual bases that make up the
genetic code. The results challenge the
view that Asia was populated by at least
two waves of migration.
"In Asia, we are all related," says Negrito populations in Malaysia
Edison Liu, a lead author from the are more closely related to other
Genome Institute of Singapore. "It Asians than previously thought. F.
Grehan/CORBIS
brings us closer together."
It is thought that a wave of humans
Asian unity. Merely organizing the
emerged from Africa some 60,000–
work was a massive task. Researchers
75,000 years ago and travelled along
in 11 countries and regions took
the southern coast of India, into
samples from 73 populations, requiring
southeast Asia and down to Oceania.
countries often at political or economic
But scientists struggled to explain some
loggerheads to share ideas, technology
of the variation seen in Asia today —
and genomes. For countries lacking the
such as the obvious physical differences
technological capabilities to do the
between Malaysian and Filipino
genetic analysis but loath to ship
Negrito populations and other Asians.
genetic samples to another country, Liu
Some researchers have postulated that a
established a system by which
second wave, or series of waves, from a
researchers could bring the samples to
northern route largely repopulated the
host countries and do the studies
area, leaving the Negrito and others as
themselves, in collaboration with their
relicts of the earlier migration.
hosts. "The chain of custody was never

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 14


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

broken," he says. "It was extraordinarily specific genetic components such as


collegial." differences between enzymes that
The result is not a complete shock. metabolize drugs, and human leukocyte
While this study provides the most antigen variations. It will be especially
detailed analysis of genetic diversity tantalizing, says Liu, to see if drug-
among Asians to date, a 2005 study on metabolism genes show the same
mitochondrial DNA came to a similar north–south variation in east Asia.
conclusion. Martin Richards, at the "There would be implications for drug
University of Leeds, UK, is a specialist response and clinical trials," he says –
in genetic variation in southeast Asia although he adds that it will not be
who led that study. "By and large, (the possible to link specific health
new study) is not surprising for fans of information to genotypes across the
mitochondrial DNA, I think, but continent.
naturally it is very heart-warming," he
(Source: www.bbc.co.uk )
says.
The new study also supports
mitochondrial DNA evidence that Arctic Tern's Epic Journey Mapped
challenges the customary "out of (The Arctic tern's extraordinary pole-to-
pole migration has been detailed by an
Taiwan" model, in which migration
international team of scientists.)
from mainland China through Taiwan
led to the settlement of southeast Asia
and the Pacific islands. Instead it seems
Taiwan may have been largely settled
from islands in southeast Asia.
But the results are not conclusive,
as the authors admit. Stoneking says he
was "very surprised that the Negrito
populations were not more genetically
distinct", and would like to see other The researchers fitted the birds with
supposed relict populations, such as tiny tracking devices to see precisely
those in New Guinea and Australia, which routes the animals took on their
studied in the same kind of detail. He 70,000 km (43,000 miles) round trip.
argues that it is not possible to tell The study reveals they fly down either
whether extensive genetic intermingling the African or Brazilian coasts but then
with surrounding populations might return in an "S"-shaped path up the
have obscured evidence for two waves middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The long-
of migration. He says he has evidence distance adventure is described in the
to support the two-wave theory in work US journal PNAS.
yet to be published that looks "From ringing, we knew where the
specifically at mitochondrial DNA and Arctic tern travelled," said Carsten
Y-chromosomes of Negrito Egevang of the Greenland Institute of
populations. Natural Resources. "The new thing is
Liu says he is discussing plans for a that we've now been able to track the
second phase study with much higher bird during a full year of migration, all
resolution — based on 600,000–1 the way from the breeding grounds to
million SNPs. Possible extensions for the wintering grounds and back again."
the new project will be a look at copy The avian world is known for its great
number variation (duplications in migrations.
sections of DNA), a resequencing of Albatrosses, godwits, and sooty
mitochondrial DNA and a focus on shearwaters all undertake epic journeys.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 15


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

But none can quite match the Arctic revolutionising our understanding of
tern's colossal trip. Starting in August migration patterns, but the resulting
and September, this small bird — data on distribution also help address
which weighs little more than 100g the requirement to identify important
(3.5oz) — will head away from biological hotspots," said Richard
Greenland with the intention of getting Phillips from BAS, a co-author of the
to the Weddell Sea, on the shores of PNAS paper.
Antarctica.

With such a small bird, the trackers


also need to be tiny.

The first surprise is that the terns


do not make straight for the Antarctic
when they leave the Arctic, but make a
After setting out (yellow line) the lengthy stop-over in the middle of the
birds pause in the North Atlantic North Atlantic, about 1,000 km (620
(red circle) to feed. Going home
miles) north of the Azores. Here, they
(orange line), they follow the
winds. feed on zooplankton and fish to fuel
Total distance travelled 70,900km themselves for the long journey ahead.
On southbound leg: 34,600km "We were able to compare biological
Daily progress south: 330km productivity in the ocean from satellite
On northbound leg: 25,700km imagery and we could see a high
Daily progress north: 520km productive area that the birds will spend
Within winter grounds: 10,900km time in," said Mr Egevang. "Even more
importantly, it's the last high productive
It will spend about four or five area before they enter tropical waters
months in the deep south before where we know productivity is low."
heading back to the far north, arriving
home in May or June. A team from
Greenland, Denmark, the US, the UK
and Iceland attached small
(1.4g/0.05oz) "geolocators" to the
animals to find out exactly where they
went on this polar round trip.
The devices record light intensity.
This gives an estimate of the local day
length, and the times of sunrise and
sunset; and from this information it is
Scientific name: Sterna paradisaea
possible to work out a geographical Average wingspan of 75-85cm
position of the birds. The geolocators Breeds in Arctic and sub-Arctic
were provided by the British Antarctic Lays eggs in small ground scrape
Survey (BAS). "The use of these Feeds on fish and crustaceans
devices on seabirds is not only Birds live more than 30 years.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 16


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

The birds then head south along the Deploying the tools of synthetic
coast of western Europe and western biology, the JBEI researchers
Africa before making a choice, either to engineered a strain of Escherichia coli
continue hugging Africa or sweep (E. coli) bacteria to produce biodiesel
across the Atlantic from the Cape Verde fuel and other important chemicals
Islands to continue the journey along derived from fatty acids. "The fact that
the Brazilian coast. our microbes can produce a diesel fuel
About half the birds that were directly from biomass with no
tracked decided to take the South additional chemical modifications is
American path. It is not clear why, but exciting and important," said Jay
the researchers believe wind might Keasling, the Chief Executive Officer
make either route seem favourable to for JBEI, and a leading scientific
the terns. After spending their northern authority on synthetic biology. "Given
winter months in Antarctic waters, the that the costs of recovering biodiesel
terns then fly back towards the Arctic. are nowhere near the costs required to
But rather than retracing their distill ethanol, we believe our results
southward flight paths, the birds follow can significantly contribute to the
a gigantic "S" pattern up the middle of ultimate goal of producing scalable and
the Atlantic Ocean. cost effective advanced biofuels and
"They make a detour of several renewable chemicals," he added.
thousand km but once we start Keasling led the collaboration,
comparing the route to the prevailing which was made up of a team from
wind system, it makes perfect sense - JBEI's Fuels Synthesis Division that
moving in a counter-clockwise included Eric Steen, Yisheng Kang and
direction in the Southern Hemisphere, Gregory Bokinsky, and a team from
and clockwise in the Northern LS9, a privately-held industrial
Hemisphere. It's just more energy- biotechnology firm based in South San
efficient for them to do that even Francisco. E. coli is a well-studied
though they are travelling several microorganism whose natural ability to
thousand more km than if they flew in a synthesize fatty acids and exceptional
straight line." amenability to genetic manipulation
make it an ideal target for biofuels
(Source: www.bbc.co.uk )
research.
The combination of E. coli with
Strain of Escherichia Coli (E. Coli)
new biochemical reactions realized
Bacteria to Produce Biodiesel Fuel through synthetic biology, enabled
Keasling, Steen and their colleagues to
produce structurally tailored fatty esters
(biodiesel), alcohols and waxes directly
from simple sugars. "Biosynthesis of
microbial fatty acids produces fatty
acids bound to a carrier protein, the
accumulation of which inhibits the
making of additional fatty acids," Steen
A microbe that can produce an said.
advanced biofuel directly from biomass "Normally E. coli doesn't waste
has been developed by a team of energy making excess fat, but by
scientists from the US Department of cleaving fatty acids from their carrier
Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute proteins, we're able to unlock the
(JBEI). natural regulation and make an

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 17


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

abundance of fatty acids that can be July 25, 1978. Louise Brown, a.k.a.
converted into a number of valuable the "test-tube baby," is born in England.
products," he added. "Further, we Brown, pictured on a newspaper cover
engineered our E. coli to no longer eat soon after her birth, is the first baby in
fatty acids or use them for energy," he the world to be conceived by in-vitro
further added. fertilization (IVF), a procedure that
After successfully diverting fatty combines egg and sperm outside the
acid metabolism toward the production mother's womb. Today, assisted
of fuels and other chemicals from reproductive technology is responsible
glucose, the JBEI researchers for an estimated 250,000 babies born
engineered their new strain of E. coli to every year, but there is much debate
produce hemicellulases - enzymes that about the fate of unused embryos,
are able to ferment hemicellulose, the which play a vital role in stem-cell
complex sugars that are a major research.
constituent of cellulosic biomass and a
prime repository for the energy locked
within plant cell walls.

(Source-ANI)

A History of Embryonic-Stem-Cell
Research

Embryonic-stem-cell research is barely


12 years old, but it has provoked more
controversy—political, religious, and
ethical—than almost any other field of
scientific inquiry. And it has seen
enormous highs and lows: the thrill of
new discoveries, the debacle of faked
research. So far nobody has been cured
using embryonic stem cells, but
scientists believe these cells have the
potential to unravel mysteries about
biological development and treat vexing
diseases. Last year, US President
Obama lifted Bush-era restrictions on
the research, making far more federal
funding available to scientists. As a
new chapter begins, we look back at the
evolution of a scientific discipline.

March 28, 1984. Zoe Leyland, seen


here as an infant, is the first baby born
from a frozen IVF embryo, enters the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 18


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

world in Australia. An estimated specific" lines, carrying the genetic


400,000-plus frozen embryos are now signature of patients with diabetes,
stored in fertility clinics across the U.S. spinal cord injury, or a genetic blood
Some will become babies one day; disorder. The notion that human
others will be discarded or remain embryonic-stem-cell lines can be
frozen for years on end. (Image: derived from eggs alone—and not
Monash Review) human embryos—creates a major buzz.
Nov. 5, 1998. The first human But a report released by a Seoul
embryonic-stem-cell line is isolated by National University panel two years
Dr. James Thomson (shown here in later finds that Hwang fabricated
2003), a developmental biologist at the evidence for his research. In this photo,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Hwang is seen arriving for a 2006 court
colleagues. The team derived the cells hearing in Seoul. In October 2009 he is
from embryos donated by individuals convicted of falsifying his papers and
who were undergoing treatment at embezzling government funds, and is
fertility clinics. (Image: Jeff Miller) sentenced to a suspended two-year
prison term. The scandal rocks the
stem-cell-research world. (Image:
Seokyong Lee/Getty Images)

Aug. 9, 2001. President Bush limits


federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell
research to cells that were derived prior
to his announcement. Scientists, Nov. 2, 2004. Embryonic-stem-cell
patients' advocates, religious leaders, research polarizes voters in the 2004
politicians, and the public begin taking US presidential election. On Election
sides in the great embryonic-stem-cell Day, Californians vote to allocate $3
debate. At one end: those who find the billion in state funds over 10 years to
research morally unacceptable and stem-cell research. Other states—
oppose it altogether. At the other: those including Maryland, New Jersey, and
scientists and supporters who say Massachusetts—and private institutions
Bush's criteria will handcuff research begin investing in embryonic-stem-cell
and stall medical advances. research as well, sidestepping federal
March 12, 2004. The premiere restrictions.
journal Science publishes an eye- July 19, 2006. President Bush
popping paper by Korean researcher vetoes a bill that would allow federal
Hwang Woo Suk. Hwang and his team funding for stem-cell research on
report that they have created a single embryos discarded by IVF patients. In a
human embryonic-stem-cell line press conference, shown here, he is
through cloning. A second report joined by children produced by
published one year later claims the "adopted" embryos, often referred to as
creation of 11 additional "patient- "snowflake" families. "These boys and

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 19


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

girls are not spare parts," he says. Most received FDA clearance to launch the
couples, however, do not want to world's first human embryonic-stem-
donate their embryos to other couples. cell clinical trial. Geron, which plans to
(Image: Charles Dharapak/AP) test an embryonic-stem-cell-based
therapy in patients with acute spinal-
cord injuries, hoped to begin recruiting
patients last summer, but the trial is
currently on hold as the company
conducts additional research. (Image:
Getty Images)

Nov. 20, 2007. Two teams of


scientists report that they have created
"induced pluripotent" stem cells (iPS
cells), which have similar properties to
embryonic stem cells, without human
embryos. One team, led by Kyoto
University researcher Shinya
Yamanaka, uses adult human skin cells
to derive the iPS cells; the other, led by
the University of Wisconsin-Madison's
Dr. James Thomson, uses newborn
foreskin cells. (Pictured here is Junying
Yu, an associate scientist on Thomson's
team who was the lead author of the
study.) Both sides of the embryonic-
stem-cell debate hail the advance but
disagree on what it means. Opponents
say researchers no longer need to
conduct research on human embryos;
scientists say embryonic stem cells
remain the gold standard and the
science must proceed on all fronts.
(Image: Bryce Richter/Reuters)

March 9, 2009. President Obama


signs an executive order lifting Bush-
era limitations on human embryonic-
stem-cell research (pictured here). The
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
crafts new draft guidelines for
scientists, then receives 49,015
comments in response. NIH publishes
its final guidelines in July. (Image:
Jan. 23, 2009. California biotech Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
company Geron announces that it has

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 20


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Scientists have found a way to make an


almost limitless supply of stem cells
that could safely be used in patients
while avoiding the ethical dilemma of
destroying embryos. In a breakthrough
that could have huge implications,
British and Canadian scientists have
found a way of reprogramming skin
cells taken from adults, effectively
winding the clock back on the cells
until they were in an embryonic form.
The work has been hailed as a major
step forward and welcomed by pro-life
organisations, who called on
researchers to halt other experiments
which use stem cells collected from
embryos made at IVF clinics.
Sir Ian Wilmut, who led the team
that cloned Dolly the Sheep and heads
the MRC Centre for Regenerative
Medicine at Edinburgh University, said:
Dec. 2, 2009. The NIH approves 13
"This is a significant step in the right
human embryonic-stem-cell lines for
direction. The team has made great
federally funded research. NIH Director
progress and combining this work with
Dr. Francis Collins, an evangelical
that of other scientists working on stem
Christian, tells reporters in a conference
cell differentiation, there is hope that
call that even people who believe in the
the promise of regenerative medicine
inherent sanctity of the human embryo
could soon be met."
can ethically support research on
Stem cells have the potential to be
embryos that would otherwise be
turned into any tissue in the body, an
discarded. "Many people who've looked
ability that has led researchers to
at this have come to that conclusion,
believe they could be used to make
including me," he says. Two weeks
"spare parts" to replace diseased and
later, 27 additional lines are approved.
damaged organs and treat conditions as
The total for 2009: 40. (Image: Jeff
diverse as Parkinson's disease, diabetes
Miller)
and spinal cord injury.
(Source: www.newsweek.com) Scientists showed they could make
stem cells from adult cells more than a
Scientists' Stem Cell Breakthrough year ago, but the cells could never be
Ends Ethical Dilemma used in patients because the procedure
involved injecting viruses that could
cause cancer. Now, scientists at the
universities of Edinburgh and Toronto
have found a way to achieve the same
feat without using viruses, making so-
called induced pluripotent stem (iPS)
cell therapies a realistic prospect for the
first time.

(Source: www.guardian.co.uk)

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 21


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

The first act of the human story was


Our Oldest Ancestor, "Ardi" still missing.
Now comes Ardi, a 4.4-million-
(The discovery of a fossilised skeleton that year-old female who shines bright new
has become a "central character in the light on an obscure time in our past.
story of human evolution" has been Her discoverers named her species
named the science breakthrough of 2009 Ardipithecus ramidus, from the Afar
by the editors of the journal Science.) words for "root" and "ground," to
describe a ground-living ape near the
root of the human family tree. Although
some hominins are even older, Ardi is
by far the most complete specimen of
such antiquity. The 125 pieces of her
skeleton include most of the skull and
teeth, as well as the pelvis, hands, arms,
legs, and feet. (The 47-million-year-old
fossil of the early primate called Ida is
also remarkably complete, but she is
Only a handful of individual fossils not a direct ancestor to humans, as
have become known as central initially claimed during her debut this
characters in the story of human year.)
evolution. They include the first ancient
human skeleton ever found, a
Neandertal from Germany's Neander
Valley; the Taung child from South
Africa, which in 1924 showed for the
first time that human ancestors lived in
Africa; and the famous Lucy, whose
partial skeleton further revealed a key
stage in our evolution. In 2009, this
small cast got a new member: Ardi,
now the oldest known skeleton of a
putative human ancestor, found in the
Afar Depression of Ethiopia with parts
of at least 35 other individuals of her
species. “It's not a chimp. It's not a human. It
shows us what we used to be.” Prof.
Ever since Lucy was discovered in Tim White, University of California,
1974, researchers wondered what her Berkeley
own ancestors looked like and where
and how they might have lived. Lucy When the first fossils of Ardi's
was a primitive hominin, with a brain species were found in 1994, they were
roughly the size of a chimpanzee's, but immediately recognized as the most
at 3.2 million years old, she already important since Lucy. But the
walked upright like we do. Even the excitement was quickly tempered by
earliest members of her species, Ardi's poor condition: The larger bones
Australopithecus afarensis, lived were crushed and brittle, and it took a
millions of years after the last common multidisciplinary team 15 years (of 47
ancestor we shared with chimpanzees. scientists of diverse expertise from nine

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 22


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

nations) to excavate Ardi, digitally centimeters tall, Ardi had a body and
remove distortions, and analyze her brain only slightly larger than a
bones. chimpanzee's, and she was far more
Ardi's long-awaited skeleton was primitive than Lucy. But she did not
finally unveiled in 11 papers in print look like an African ape, or even much
and online in October (Science, 2 like the known fragments of more
October, pp. 60–106). Her discoverers ancient apes.
proposed that she was a new kind of
hominin, the family that includes
humans and our ancestors but not the
ancestors of other living apes. They say
that Ardi's unusual anatomy was unlike
that of living apes or later hominins,
such as Lucy. Instead, Ardi reveals the
ancient anatomical changes that laid the
foundation for upright walking.
Not all paleoanthropologists are
convinced that Ardi. ramidus was our
ancestor or even a hominin. But no one
disputes the importance of the new
evidence. Only a half-dozen partial Ancient upstart. Ardi may have
skeletons of hominins older than 1 moved upright on branches and on the
ground, a key step in the evolution of
million years have ever been published. upright walking.
And having a skeleton rather than bits
and pieces from different individuals When researchers studied her face
not only provides a good look at the and teeth, they found derived features
whole animal but also serves as a that tie Ardipithecus to all later
Rosetta stone to help decipher more hominins, including Lucy's species and
fragmentary fossils. As the expected us. For example, Ardi's muzzle juts out
debate over Ardi's anatomy and less than a chimpanzee's does. Even
relations to other primates begins, males of her species lacked the large,
researchers agree that she and the other sharp, daggerlike upper canines seen in
specimens of her species provide a chimpanzees. The base of her skull is
wealth of new and surprising data on short from front to back, as in upright
some of the most fundamental walkers, rather than elongated, as in
questions of human evolution: How can quadrupedal apes.
we identify the earliest members of the In addition, Ardi's pelvis convinced
human family? How did upright her discoverers that she did indeed walk
walking evolve? What did our last upright—long the defining trait for
common ancestor with chimpanzees being a member of the human family.
look like? From now on, researchers The upper blades of Ardi's pelvis are
asking those questions will refer to shorter and broader than in living apes,
Ardi. lowering her center of gravity so she
could balance on one leg at a time while
Body of evidence walking, for example. But she didn't
Ardi's biggest surprise is that she was walk as well as humans or Lucy. Her
not transitional between pelvis was useful for both climbing and
Australopithecus and a common upright walking, making her a
ancestor that looked like living "facultative" biped, according to her
chimpanzees and gorillas. Standing 120 discoverers.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 23


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Ardi's remarkably complete hand Human relations


and foot bones add to this picture. Her At face value, Ardi is a hominin—if
wrist joints were not as stiff as those of you define hominin on the basis of
African apes, and the bones of her palm traits in the face, skull, and teeth. Many
were short, indicating that she did not researchers who have read the
knuckle-walk like chimpanzees or descriptions of Ardipithecus or seen
swing beneath tree branches, the casts of the fossils agree on this. But
discoverers say. Yet Ardi's foot was since Lucy's discovery, the gold
more rigid than a chimpanzee's, standard for identifying a hominin has
suggesting that it was an odd mosaic been walking upright. Among primates,
used for both upright walking on the only humans and our closest relatives
ground and careful climbing and were habitual bipeds. On this point,
walking atop branches in the trees. Ardi stands on shakier ground.
Indeed, Ardi's long curving fingers and
opposable big toe suggest she grasped
tree branches.

Lucy, meet Ardi. Ardi (left) this year


joined Lucy as one of the rare fossil
By hand or by foot? Ardi's foot hominin skeletons that shape our
(right) has an opposable toe for understanding of human evolution.
grasping branches.
The pelvis, which provides the
If so, our ancestors began walking pivotal evidence for upright walking, is
upright while still living primarily in a fragmentary and crushed—parts of it
woodland rather than in more open, have been called "Irish stew"—and
grassy terrain, as once believed. The outside researchers want to review its
international discovery team went to reconstruction. The discoverers note,
great lengths to reconstruct the scene however, that the interpretation of
where Ardi took her first steps, upright walking rests on traits in the
collecting 150,000 specimens of fossil foot and on the best-preserved portions
plants and animals from Aramis and of the original pelvis, not the
nearby. After using radiometric reconstruction.
methods to tightly date the fossil- A few outside researchers who
bearing sediments to 4.4 million years have already seen the cast of the pelvis
ago, the team concluded that Ardi lived agree that it shares some key traits with
on an ancient floodplain covered in later hominins, such as the shape and
sylvan woodlands, climbing among size of a large opening known as the
hackberry, fig, and palm trees, and sciatic notch. Yet Ardi's hands and feet
coexisting with monkeys, kudu are so primitive that some researchers
antelopes, and peafowl. strongly question whether she really
walked upright more often than other

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 24


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

apes or was less able to climb and could have been a side branch, an
swing beneath branches. The next steps extinct lineage that was a sister species
will be to further compare Ardi's bones to our direct ancestors. As the study of
with those of more ancient apes and to Ardi widens to include new
see how her unique anatomical features collaborators, the team is granting
affected how she moved. requests to view the casts and will
Many researchers also challenge return to Aramis to search for more
the papers' forceful argument that Ardi fossils.
reveals the basic body plan of the In the year of the bicentennial of
common ancestor of humans and Darwin's birth, it seems fitting that
chimpanzees. They point out that Ardi researchers finally broke through the 4-
lived perhaps 1 million to 3 million million-year barrier to understanding
years after that ancestor—plenty of our origins. Models for our earliest
time for evolutionary change. Some ancestors can now be informed by
also question the social implications of plenty of fresh data and at least one
Ardipithecus males' reduced canines, body of hard evidence.
which the discovery team interprets as
implying less male-male aggression (Source www.sciencemag.org)
than is seen in chimps.
The debate reveals how hard it is to
identify upright walking in such an
early hominin. Must Ardi walk upright *******************
like an australopithecine to be admitted
to the human family? Or is it enough
that she walked upright in an
intermediate manner, if her face, skull,
and canines align her with later
protohumans? Ardi is already
prompting some to ask whether habitual
upright walking is essential to being a
hominin. Perhaps some ancient apes
became hominins head first. “Today, more than ever, scientists
There's precedent for new hominin and engineers across the globe
fossils provoking controversy and need each other if we are to
redefining what it means to be a continue to achieve the
member of the human family. Many remarkable advances in human
understanding: the kind of
thought a big brain and tool use
breakthroughs that the world will
emerged in concert with upright
always require to improve the
walking—until Lucy, with her chimp-
welfare of human beings.”
sized brain, proved that upright walking
came first. Bruce Alberts
As researchers ponder the Editor-in-Chief of Science
definition of a hominin, they also
wonder exactly where Ardi fits in our
family tree. The discovery team
suggested as one hypothesis that
Ardipithecus gave rise to Lucy's genus
Australopithecus, which is generally
thought to have led to our own genus,
Homo. But they also noted that Ardi

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 25


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

University, he was the Principal


1. Dr. Darlando T. Khathing Investigator of one the largest science
projects in NEHU. Owing to the
successful completion of that project, at
least eight other new projects were
conceived and sanctioned subsequently.
He is a life member of many
national scientific societies. He served
as the Executive of many of them. He
was also the founding Chairman of
Prof. Darlando T. Khathing is the Vice- several regional Chapters of the
Chancellor of the newly established national bodies. He is a member of
Central University of Jharkhand, Selection Committees and Governing
Ranchi. He has joined the University on Councils in many central institutions.
1st March, 2009. Dr. Khathing Dr. Khathing headed, for fifteen
originally hails from Manipur. He years, the Regional Sophisticated
consistently maintained a very good Instrumentation Centre, Shillong, which
academic career (1st class throughout) jurisdiction covered seven North
and was trained in top institutions of the Eastern States and was actively
country (St. Edmund’s College, involved in coordinating and
Shillong; St. Stephen’s College, Delhi; encouraging interaction between the
and Bose Institute, Kolkata, where he analytical scientists and researchers of
did his Ph.D.). He was the recipient of the region. He held several important
the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust posts in his former University – Chief
Fellowship for his postdoctoral research Proctor, Public Relations, Chief
at the Atomic Energy Research Vigilance Officer and lastly as the
Establishment, Oxfordshire, England. Registrar for over eight years. He
The selection for the fellowship then contributed immensely to the
was too tough as only one individual University earning the status of
once in two years − for the combined “University with Potential for
science faculties including medical Excellence”. Only nine Universities in
sciences − was awarded. the country have this status. He played
Dr. Khathing is a Professor of a leading role in the successful holding
Physics at the North-Eastern Hill of the 96th Indian Science Congress
University (NEHU) and is a Nuclear Session at NEHU, Shillong, where he
Scientist by training. He started his was one of the two Local Secretaries.
early research career at the Bhaba Dr. Khathing is the first person from the
Atomic Research Centre, Trombay. His entire North East region to be appointed
research group has been using different Vice-Chancellor of a Central University
nuclear facilities at Kolkata, Delhi, located outside the region. His
Trombay and Germany. His University is the first among the twelve
administrative responsibilities have not new Central Universities, to start its
stopped him from pursuing his research academic sessions.
interests and he continues to publish Dr. Khathing is the son of late
regularly in international journals. He Major “Bob” Khathing, IFAS, MBE,
has authored over 70 research articles in MC, Padmashree 1957, and late Mrs.
refereed international journals of Klerisnorah Khathing, nee Lyngdoh,
repute. Even as the Registrar of his one of the early Meghalaya graduates

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 26


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

from Scottish Church College, Kolkata. Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary


His wife Nokdila is the daughter of late Sciences, for his outstanding
Mr. Shashimeren Aier, IAS, often contributions in the field of atmospheric
known as “Father of Modern sciences. Dr. Goswami’s research
Nagaland”, and Mrs. Metongla Aier, contributions include a novel system of
first Naga lady evangelist. Dr. and Mrs. accurate weather prediction – almost a
Khathing are blessed with a son, season in advance; it is a neural
Alexander, and two daughters, Sirawon network model that resembles the way a
and Imtina. human brain works. In India, Dr.
Goswami was the first to employ this
2. Dr. Prashant Goswami method as an experimental weather
forecast system. Dr. Goswami's work
has received recognition and acclaim
through a number of publications in
prestigious international journals of
science, presentations in international
and national conferences and invited
talks in many national and international
institutes. Dr. Goswami has held the
prestigious position of Invited Professor
in the Laboratory for Dynamic
Meteorology, Fcole Normale
Dr. Prashant Goswami of CSIR Centre Superieure, France. He is an elected
for Mathematical Modelling and member of the New York Academy of
Computer Simulation (C-MMACS), Sciences, USA. He also conducts
Bangalore, is one of the country's most activities of the Indian node of an Indo-
outstanding scientists in the field of French Centre for Environment and
climate and environmental research. Climate. He has also represented India
A direct descendent of Pandit as the Nodal Officer of Indo-Chinese
Hemchandra Goswami, Dr. Goswami Bilateral Programme on Weather and
was born in Sanmari, Golaghat, Assam. Climate under Department of Science
He studied Physics in Science College, and Technology, Govt. Of India. He is
Jorhat, Dibrugarh University and also associated with a number of other
Gauhati University and earned, international projects. In India he serves
respectively, his B.Sc. in 1978 and a number of committees in different
M.Sc. in 1982 with specialization in agencies in different capacities. He has
Theoretical Physics. He completed his supervised several Ph.D. students and
Ph.D. in 1987, the thesis entitled “A many M.Sc./M.Tech. projects, with a
unified geometrical framework gauge sizable number from Assam. He is also
symmetries”, from the Department of the coordinator of the collaboration
Physics, Indian Institute of Science, between CSIR and Tezpur University.
Bangalore. After his Ph.D., Dr. The north-east has a fragile climate
Goswami joined Centre for and eco-system. Dr. Goswami, under a
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, CSIR project, is currently engaged in
Indian Institute of Science, as a Post- setting up of a national climate
Doctoral Fellow and then the monitoring network, with several
Department of Physics, I I T- Kanpur as stations in the north-east; the work has
a Visiting Faculty; in 1993 he joined begun in Tezpur (Tezpur University)
CSIR C-MMACS. He won the and Jorhat ( NEIST).
prestigious Bhatnagar Award, in Earth,

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 27


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Dr. Thangjam Robert Singh, December 2009. He finished his doctoral


Assistant Professor, Department of thesis on X-ray crystallography at
Biotechnology, Mizoram University, is North East Institute of Science and
selected for the award of DBT Overseas Technology, Jorhat, directed by Dr.
Associateship (2009-2010). His major Rajani K Boruah.
scientific fields of interest are
bioprospecting of plant bioresources for Dr. Maiurima Borthakur has recently
novel products/genes/metabolites and joined Jubilant Chemsys, Noida as a
micropropagation and genetic Research Scientist. She did her Ph.D. at
improvement through biotechnological Medicinal Chemistry Division, NEIST,
approaches. Jorhat under the guidance of Dr.
Romesh Chandra Boruah. She was
Mr. Ashok Patowary along with his awarded both JRF and SRF for her
coworkers recently came to limelight doctoral thesis at NEIST. She also
when a team of scientists of Institute of achieved the best performing SRF
Genomics and Integrative Biology award of NEIST for the year 2008-09.
(IGIB) declared success in decoding the
whole genome sequencing of an Indian Dr. Madan Gopal Borthakur has
citizen. He was one of the students who recently joined the Guwahati Biotech
are actively working on this project. Park, IIT Guwahati, as a faculty. He
Earlier they completed the genome carried out his Ph.D. at Medicinal
sequencing of an organism, Zebrafish, Chemistry Division, NEIST, Jorhat
first such effort in India. Mr. Patowary under the supervision of Dr. Romesh
did his B.Sc. in Zoology (2004) from B. Chandra Boruah.
Barooah College, Guwahati and M.Sc.
in Molecular Biology and Mr. Golap Kalita has received the
Biotechnology from Tezpur University prestigious JSPS fellowship for the
(2006). Since August 2006, he is financial year 2010. He would soon join
pursuing towards his Ph.D. at IGIB the Department of Electrical and
with Dr. Sridhar Sivasubbu. Electronics Engineering, Chubu
University, Aichi, Japan, after
Dr. Pranjal Saikia has recently joined submitting his Ph.D. thesis in March
the Institute of Science and Technology 2010. He has been working in the same
of the Department of Chemical department since 2006 for his doctoral
Sciences, Gauhati University, Guwahat thesis.
as a faculty. He obtained his Ph.D.
degree from Indian Institute of Dr. Saitanya Kumar Bharadwaj joins
Chemical Technology (IICT) and the University of Mississippi as a
Osmania University, Hyderabad in visiting research scholar by the end of
2009. He was a DST-DAAD exchange February. He finished his Ph.D. at IIT
fellow to Ruhr University, Bochum, Guwahati under the supervision of
Germany for three months. He did his Professor M. K. Chaudhuri. He
postdoctoral research at University of attended several national and
Cincinnati, USA before joining the international conferences including
Gauhati University. PAN-IIT Global conference at
California and 59th meeting of Nobel
Dr. Binoy Kumar Saikia has joined Laureates and students 2009 at Lindau
the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Germany.
Kolkota as a Quality Control Officer in ------0------

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 28


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

easily if it was mixed with the amino


Matrix-Assisted Laser acid tryptophan and irradiated with a
Desorption/Ionization (MALDI) pulsed 266 nm laser. The tryptophan
was absorbing the laser energy and
helping to ionize the non-absorbing
Khirud Gogoi
alanine. The breakthrough for large
molecule laser desorption ionization
Introduction
came in 1987 when Koichi Tanaka of
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/
Shimadzu Corp. and his co-workers
ionization (MALDI) is a soft ionization
used what they called the “ultra fine
technique used in mass spectrometry,
metal plus liquid matrix method” that
allowing the analysis of biomolecules
combined 30 nm cobalt particles in
(biopolymers such as proteins, peptides,
glycerol with a 337 nm nitrogen laser
nucleic acids and sugars) and large
for ionization. Using this laser and
organic molecules (such as polymers,
matrix combination, Tanaka was able to
dendrimers and other macromolecules),
ionize biomolecules as large as the
which tend to be fragile and fragment
34,472 Da protein carboxypeptidase-A.
when ionized by more conventional
Tanaka received one-quarter of the
ionization methods. It is most similar in
2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for
character to electrospray ionization both
demonstrating that, with the proper
in relative softness and the ions
combination of laser wavelength and
produced (although it causes many
matrix, a protein can be ionized. Karas
fewer multiply charged ions).
and Hillenkamp were subsequently able
The ionization is triggered by a
to ionize the 67 kDa protein albumin
laser beam (normally a nitrogen laser).
using a nicotinic acid matrix and a 266
A matrix is used to protect the
nm laser. The availability of small and
biomolecule from being destroyed by
relatively inexpensive nitrogen lasers
direct laser beam and to facilitate
operating at 337 nm wavelength and the
vaporization and ionization.
first commercial instruments introduced
in the early 1990s brought MALDI to
an increasing number of researchers.
Today, mostly organic matrices are
used for MALDI mass spectrometry.

Matrix
The matrix consists of crystallized
molecules, of which the three most
commonly used are 3,5-dimethoxy-4-
Figure 1: Schematic representation of a hydroxycinnamic acid (sinapinic acid),
MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometer.
α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid
(alpha-cyano or alpha-matrix) and 2,5-
History
The term matrix-assisted laser dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB). The
desorption ionization (MALDI) was identity of suitable matrix compounds
coined in 1985 by Franz Hillenkamp, is determined to some extent by trial
Michael Karas and their colleagues. and error, but they are based on some
These researchers found that the amino specific molecular design
acid alanine could be ionized more considerations:
• They are of a fairly low

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 29


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

molecular weight (to allow neutral molecule [M] and an added or


facile vaporization), but are removed ion. Together, they form a
large enough (with a low quasimolecular ion, for example
enough vapor pressure) not to [M+H]+ in the case of an added proton,
evaporate during sample [M+Na]+ in the case of an added
preparation or while standing in sodium ion, or [M-H]- in the case of a
the spectrometer. removed proton. MALDI is capable of
• They are often acidic, therefore creating singly charged ions, but
act as a proton source to multiply charged ions ([M+nH] n+) can
encourage ionization of the also be created, as a function of the
analyte. Basic matrices have matrix, the laser intensity and/or the
also been reported. voltage used. Note that these are all
• They have a strong optical even-electron species. Ion signals of
absorption in either the UV or radical cations can be observed eg. in
IR range, so that they rapidly case of matrix molecules and other
and efficiently absorb the laser stable molecules.
irradiation.
• They are functionalized with
polar groups, allowing their use
in aqueous solutions.
• The matrix solution is mixed
with the analyte (e.g. protein-
sample). The organic solvent
allows hydrophobic molecules
to dissolve into the solution,
while the water allows for
water-soluble (hydrophilic)
molecules to do the same. This
solution is spotted onto a Figure 2. MALDI TOF mass spectrometer.
MALDI plate (usually a metal
plate designed for this purpose).
The solvents vaporize, leaving
only the recrystallized matrix,
but now with analyte molecules
spread throughout the crystals.
The matrix and the analyte are
said to be co-crystallized in a
MALDI spot.

Laser
The laser is fired at the crystals in the Figure 3. MALDI-TOF sample plate.
MALDI spot. The matrix absorbs the
laser energy and it is thought that Applications of MALDI
primarily the matrix is ionized by this
event. The matrix is then thought to In Biochemistry. In proteomics,
transfer part of its charge to the analyte MALDI is used for the identification of
molecules (e.g. protein), thus ionizing proteins isolated through gel
them while still protecting them from electrophoresis: SDS-PAGE, size
the disruptive energy of the laser. Ions exclusion chromatography, and two-
observed after this process consist of a dimensional gel electrophoresis. One

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 30


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

method used is peptide mass References


fingerprinting by MALDI-MS, or with 1. Koichi Tanaka, The Origin of
post ionization decay or collision- Macromolecule Ionization by
induced dissociation. Laser Irradiation, Nobel
Lecture, December 8, 2002.
2. Jasna Peter-Katalinic; Franz
Hillenkamp (2007). MALDI
MS: A Practical Guide to
Instrumentation, Methods and
Applications. Weinheim: Wiley-
VCH. ISBN 3-527-31440-7
3. Hardouin J (2007). "Protein
sequence information by matrix-
assisted laser
desorption/ionization in-source
Figure 4. MALDI-TOF Spectra for
Poly(Propylene Glycol).
decay mass spectrometry". Mass
spectrometry reviews 26 (5):
672–82.

***********************

Figure 5. Analysis of Protein by Peptide


mass fingerprinting.

In Organic Chemistry. Some


synthetic macromolecules, such as
catenanes and rotaxanes, dendrimers
and hyperbranched polymers, and other
assemblies, have molecular weights
extending into the thousands or tens of
thousands, where most ionization
techniques have difficulty producing
molecular ions. MALDI is a simple and
rapid analytical method that can allow
chemists to analyze the results of such
syntheses and verify their results.
In Polymer Chemistry. In
polymer chemistry MALDI can be used
to determine the molar mass
distribution. Polymers with
polydispersity greater than 1.2 are
difficult to characterize with MALDI
due to the signal intensity
discrimination against higher mass
oligomers.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 31


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

package, including cutting-edge research in


Gaussian 09 quantum chemistry and other fields.
Originally available through the Quantum
Introduction Chemistry Program Exchange, it was later
Gaussian 09 is the latest in the Gaussian licensed out of CMU, and since 1987 has
series of electronic structure programs. It been developed and licensed by Gaussian,
provides state-of-the-art capabilities for Inc. Major releases of the program are:
electronic structure modeling. Gaussian 09 Gaussian70, Gaussian76, Gaussian77,
is licensed for a wide variety of computer Gaussian78, Gaussian80, Gaussian82,
systems. All versions of Gaussian 09 Gaussian83, Gaussian85, Gaussian86,
contain every scientific/modeling feature, Gaussian88, Gaussian90, Gaussian92,
and none imposes any artifical limitations Gaussian93, Gaussian94, Gaussian95,
on calculations other than our computing Gaussian96, Gaussian98, Gaussian 03, and
resources and patience. latest Gaussian 09.
The Gaussian 09 versions for Windows
computers and Power-PC-based Mac OS X Expanding the limits of computations
computers are known as Gaussian 09W and Gaussian 09, the latest version of the
Gaussian 09M, respectively. Gaussian 09 Gaussian programs, is extensively used by
for Intel-based Mac OS X computers is chemists, chemical engineers, biochemists,
generally licensed in the same way as other physicists and other scientists worldwide.
Linux/UNIX versions. A single-CPU 32-bit Starting from the fundamental laws of
version is also available as a shrink-wrap quantum mechanics, Gaussian 09 predicts
licensed product which is known as the energies, molecular structures,
Gaussian 09IM. vibrational frequencies and molecular
All Linux/UNIX versions of Gaussian properties of molecules and reactions in a
09 can run on single CPU systems and in wide variety of chemical environments.
parallel on shared-memory multiprocessor Gaussian 09’s models can be applied to
systems. Gaussian 09W is available in both stable species and compounds which
separate single CPU and multiprocessor are difficult or impossible to observe
versions. Gaussian 09M is available in a experimentally, e.g., short-lived
single-CPU version only. For cluster and intermediates and transition structures.
network parallel execution, the Linda Gaussian 09 provides the most
parallel computing environment software advanced modeling capabilities available
must also be licensed. today, and it includes many new features
and enhancements which significantly
expand the range of problems and systems
History
Gaussian was initially released in 1970 by which can be studied. With Gaussian 09,
one can model larger systems and more
John Pople and his research group at
complex problems than ever before, even
Carnegie-Mellon University as Gaussian
70. It has been continuously updated since on modest computer hardware.
then. The name originates from Pople's use
of Gaussian orbitals to speed up Comprehensive investigations of
calculations compared to those using molecules and reactions
With Gaussian 09, one can thoroughly
Slater-type orbitals, a choice made to
improve performance on the limited investigate the chemical problems of
interest. For example, not only one can
computing capacities of then-current
minimize molecular structures rapidly and
computer hardware for Hartree-Fock
reliably, one can also predict the structures
calculations. Gaussian quickly became a
of transition states, and verify that the
popular and widely-used electronic
located stationary points are in fact minima
structure program. Prof. Pople and his
and transition states. We can go on to
students and postdocs were among those
who pushed the development of the compute the reaction path by following the
intrinsic reaction coordinate (IRC) and

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 32


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

determine which reactants and products are Predicting and interpreting spectra
connected by a given transition structure. Spectroscopy is a fundamental tool for
Once we have a complete picture of the investigating molecular structures and
potential energy surface, reaction energies properties. However, observed spectra are
and barriers can be accurately predicted. often difficult to interpret. The results of
Researchers have used these electronic structure calculations can be vital
fundamental capabilities of Gaussian 09 to to this process. For example, predicted
study isopenicillin N synthase (IPNS), a spectra can be examined in order to
member of a family of mononuclear determine peak assignments in observed
nonheme iron enzymes (Figure 1). spectra as well as comparing peak locations
Transition metal enzymes catalyze some of and intensities with experimental data.
the most important biochemical processes, Gaussian 09 can also compute relevant
and they can also serve as inspiration for spectroscopic constants and related
novel biomimetic catalysis. In the latter molecular properties with accuracy.
context, these researchers wanted to Gaussian 09 can predict a variety of spectra
determine how the metal center and the including IR and Raman, NMR,
protein matrix separately contribute to the UV/Visible, Vibrational circular dichroism
enzyme system’s catalytic activity. They (VCD), Raman optical activity (ROA),
analyzed the catalytic mechanism of IPNS, Electronic circular dichroism (ECD),
exploring the potential energy surface for Optical rotary dispersion (ORD), Hyperfine
the transformation of the tripeptide spectra (microwave spectroscopy), Franck-
substrate δ-(L-α-aminoadipoyl)-L-cysteinyl- Condon, Herzberg-Teller and Franck-
D-valine (ACV) to isopenicillin N (IPN). Condon/Herzberg-Teller analyses.
The ONIOM facility in Gaussian 09 Modeling NMR. Spin-spin coupling
enables the transition structures and constants are one of the most difficult
reaction paths to be computed for the spectral data to produce quantitatively. The
reactions involving large proteins like this accuracy of calculations is highly
system. dependent on the basis set used. While the
standard basis sets of quantum chemistry
are well developed for valence electrons, a
more sophisticated description of the
electron density closer to the nuclei is
needed for predicting the Fermi contact
(FC) term (often the spin-spin coupling
constants’ largest component). Researchers
at Gaussian, Inc. have developed modified
basis sets suitable for modeling these
quantities within a DFT framework; their
results are summarized in the Table. When
requested, Gaussian 09 will automatically
perform a two-step calculation for NMR
spin-spin coupling, using the standard basis
set for the general calculation and the
corresponding modified basis set for the FC
term. Standard basis sets produce large
Figure 1. The reactants (left), transition errors when computing Fermi contact
structure (center) and products (right), as well contributions to NMR spin-spin coupling
as the IRC reaction path for a proton transfer constants. Gaussian 09 provides specialized
reaction, are all computed using the ONIOM
basis sets which produce very good
facility. The highlighted inset focuses on the
active atoms in the high accuracy layer, treated
agreement with experiment for these
with DFT. The grey region outside is a tiny quantities.
portion of the low accuracy layer, treated with
molecular mechanics in the integrated QM:MM Table 1. Basis Sets for Computing NMR
method. Ref. JCTC 5 (2009) 222. Spin-Spin Coupling Constants

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 33


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Basis Derived Accuracy The IR and VCD spectra for these


Set from Improvement systems were studied in solution with
Gaussian 09. Results for Ala25 appear in
uTZ- aug-cc- 650% (∆AAE=-20 Figure 3. The calculations successfully
w pVTZ Hz, AAE=3.6 Hz) reproduce the experimental observations
uDZ- aug-cc- 590% (∆AAE=-41 and are additionally able to quantify the
w pVDZ Hz, AAE=8.7 Hz) degree of “fraying.” They also indicate that
confidence can be placed in the reported
6- 415% (∆AAE=-33 molecular structures.
uG-w
311+G(d,p) Hz, AAE=10.3 Hz) Predicting optical spectra. Steady-
Larger improvement percentages are state spectroscopy is one of the most
better (AAE: average absolute error fundamental tools for investigating
with respect to the basis set limit). Ref. equilibrium structures and potential energy
JCTC 2 (2006) 1028. surfaces for different electronic states.
However, interpreting such experimental
Studying chirality. Chiral molecules data is often not straightforward. Such
are of great importance in many research situations often benefit greatly from
contexts. Gaussian 09 can study chirality calculations which aid in interpreting and
with several techniques including two of assigning each spectral feature.
the latest spectroscopic classes: VCD and
ROA. For example, researchers have used
the VCD facility to model helical peptides.
The structures of peptides composed of
alanine are dominantly α-helical with the C
terminus being coil-like. VCD experiments
used isotopic labeling to demonstrate that
the α-helix in Ala20 and in Ala25 (shown in
Figure 2) noncooperatively unwinds from
the ends with increasing temperature.

Figure 4. Herzberg-Teller absorption and


fluorescence Qx spectra of free-base porphyrin.
These graphs compare the high definition
quasiline absorption and emission bands,
plotting the computed and experimental
intensities divided by ω (absorption) or ω3
(emission), and demonstrate good agreement.
Ref. J. Chem. Phys. 128 (2008) 224311.
Figure 3. Alanine.
The time-dependent DFT method
produces high quality descriptions of
excited state systems (comparable to DFT
for the ground state), and Franck-Condon
and Herzberg-Teller analyses can be used
for computing the amplitudes for electronic
transitions from the ground and excited
state frequency analyses. The combination
of the two can be used to effectively treat
both transitions with large oscillator
strengths and forbidden transitions (Figure
4). Solvation effects can be included in
Figure 3. Ref. PNAS 97 (2000) 8313; JACS 126 these models.
(2004) 2346. Predicting hyperfine spectra.
Gaussian 09 computes the most important
tensors which contribute to hyperfine

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 34


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

spectra. Calculations can suggest regions in difluoroprop-2-ynyl radical, F2CC≡CH, a


which to look for transitions, which can partially fluorinated variant of the
make experiments more efficient. propargyl radical. The combination of the
Theoretical results are also useful for observed microwave spectral data and
making spectral assignments for observed calculation of various hyperfine tensors
peaks, which can be difficult or impossible determined that the compound has a planar
to determine solely from the raw structure, a somewhat unexpected result.
experimental data. Computed tensors can
also be combined with observations in Exploring diverse chemical arenas
fitting operations. Using computations to Gaussian 09’s predictive powers are just as
aid in interpreting and fitting observed extensive in other chemical contexts as
results should make non-linear molecules they are in spectroscopy.
as amenable to study as linear ones. Thermochemistry. Accurate
predictions of ∆G are vital to understanding
many chemical reactions. Gaussian 09
offers a variety of very accurate energy
methods for predicting thermochemical
quantities, including the Complete Basis
Set (CBS) methods, the Gaussian-1 through
Gaussian-4 method families, and the W1
methods. In addition to ∆G and ∆H, one
can predict heats of formation, atomization
energies, ionization potentials, electron
affinities and proton affinities for a wide
range of compounds at the highest
available accuracy.
Figure 5. Comparison of the observed (top) and Photochemistry and other excited
computed (bottom) hyperfine spectra for state processes. In addition to the
H2C6N, showing very good agreement. spectroscopic features considered earlier,
Experimental data provided by S. E. Novick, W. Gaussian 09 also provides several other
Chen, M. C. McCarthy and P. Thaddeus. features for studying systems in their
excited states. Using these capabilities, one
can study the absorption properties of dyes
and other chromophores, the
photodecomposition rates of pesticides and
other compounds, the properties of
materials of potential use for solar energy,
and many other equally important research
problems.
Gaussian 09 offers many methods for
studying such reactions, suitable for
systems of varying sizes, including the
time-dependent DFT method, the EOM-
Figure 6. The plots depict the spin density for CCSD method, and the CASSCF method
F2CC≡CH (with the α spin density in burgundy which provides a multireference
and the β spin density in teal), situated description of molecular systems and can
perpendicular (top) and parallel to the plane of also be used to locate conical intersections
the molecule. on excited state-ground state potential
energy surfaces.
Open shell species have particularly Solvent effects can be taken into
rich and complex spectra when studied account when optimizing structures and
with microwave spectroscopy. Such predicting most molecular properties. For
compounds are important in many contexts, example, the VCD investigation of the
including the chemistry of interstellar alanine peptide chain was carried out in
media. Researchers have studied the 1,1- solution. In fact, in this case, the gas phase

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 35


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

results are very different and solvent effects setting up jobs and examining results
are crucial to studying this system. visually easy. In addition, Gaussian 09
provides many convenience features which
Complex modeling, yet easy-to-use convey the computational outcome and the
features associated chemistry in forms which are
Gaussian 09 is a powerful program offering familiar and recognizable to experimental
sophisticated modeling capabilities. It is researchers.
nevertheless very easy to use, even for new Gaussian 09 can also report the atomic
users. There are many ways that Gaussian contributions to the molecular orbitals. For
09 makes studying molecules and reactions example, the α HOMO in the canonical
simple and straightforward. For example, orbital set (orbitals for FeO+) is composed
its consistent and intuitive user input and of about 70% p-orbital on the oxygen and
carefully chosen default settings hide about 20% s-orbital on the iron. Spin
algorithmic and procedural complexity, density itself can also be computed and
allowing one to focus on the chemistry. visualized.
Automation. Gaussian 09 also In summary, the Gaussian 09 package
automates many compound calculation can do Molecular mechanics (AMBER, Uff
types whose steps traditionally have to be force field, DREIDING force field); Semi-
performed separately and explicitly: empirical calculations (AM1, PM3, CNDO,
• The quadratic synchronous transit INDO, MINDO/3, MNDO); SCF methods
(QST) approach automates (Restricted, Unrestricted, and Restricted
transition structure optimization. Open-shell Hartree-Fock); Møller-Plesset
One need simply to provide the perturbation theory (MP2, MP3, MP4,
reactants, products and optionally a MP5); built-in DFT methods (B3LYP and
starting guess for the transition other Hybrid functionals, Exchange
state. functionals, Correlation functionals);
• The high accuracy energy models ONIOM (QM/MM method, up to three
in the CBS, Gaussian-1 through layers); Complete active space (CAS) and
Gaussian-4, and W1 families Multi-configurational self-consistent field
consist of many diverse calculations; Coupled cluster calculations;
calculations whose results must be QCI methods; and Quantum chemistry
combined for the final energy composite methods (CBS-QB3, CBS-4,
value. Gaussian 09 automates all of CBS-Q, CBS-Q/APNO, G1, G2, G3, W1
these methods and reports the final high-accuracy methods).
model energy.
• Gaussian 09 provides a fragment (Sources: www.gaussian.com and
guess capability which allows one www.en.wikipedia.org)
to define fragments within the
molecule whose separate initial
guesses can be used to form the ***************************
initial guess for the calculation.
• Gaussian 09 provides the ability to
test wavefunctions for instability
and to automatically reoptimize “Science without religion is
non-ground state wavefunctions. lame. Religion without science
This capability is very important is blind.”
for open shell systems, to ensure
Albert Einstein
that the desired electronic state is
in fact being modeled.
Intuitive presentation of results.
Gaussian 09 presents results in as
straightforward and comprehensible a
manner as possible. First and foremost, the
GaussView 5 graphical interface makes

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 36


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Figure 1 shows a schematic


(Invited Article) diagram of an ES of the double-layer
type. It consists of two electrically
Electrochemical Supercapacitors: conducting electrodes separated by a
liquid or solid electrolyte. The electrical
A Newly Developing Science and
double layer formed at the electrode–
Technology for Electrochemical electrolyte interface is primarily
Energy Storage responsible for the capacitor behavior.

Nurul Alam Choudhury


Ohio State University, USA

Energy is a very important requirement


for modern society. At present, energy
is mostly derived from fossil fuels that
have finite reserve. Moreover, energy
generation from fossil fuels is
accompanied by environmental
pollution. In order to meet the growing
energy demand of present and future
generations, it is inevitable to search for
alternative and renewable energy
sources. In this context, electrochemical Figure 1: Schematic diagram of an
energy generation through fuel cells electrochemical supercapacitor (from
and energy storage through batteries Reference 1).
and electrochemical supercapacitors
(ESs) play a vital role. ESs are energy ESs employ both aqueous and non-
storage devices with very high power aqueous electrolytes in either liquid or
density as compared to that of batteries solid form, the latter providing the
and fuel cells. ESs are also called advantages of freedom from leakage of
ultracapacitors. ESs possess properties any liquid component. Unlike aqueous
that are complementary to secondary electrolytes, non-aqueous electrolytes
batteries [1] and fuel cells and hence provide high operating-potential
hybrid energy devices can be developed window. However, non-aqueous
by combining advantages of ESs and electrolytes may be associated with
those secondary batteries and fuel cells. hazardous gas evolution during cycling
ESs are projected to be the next depending on the nature of the solvent.
generation power sources for high- On the other hand, solid electrolytes
power applications such as hybrid that have high decomposition
energy systems for electric vehicles, temperatures may not evolve gaseous
utility load-leveling, heavy-load starting components under ambient conditions.
assists for diesel locomotives, military Hence, their use in all solid-state
and medical applications and low- capacitors is very attractive. Polymeric
power applications such as camera- solid electrolytes are flexible that can
flash equipment, lasers, pulsed-light be fabricated with ease as thin and high
generators, and back-up power for surface area membranes, resulting in
computer memory [2-4]. low internal-resistance. The use of
polymeric solid electrolytes also

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 37


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

enhances the operational reliability of intermediate between pseudocapacitors


the ESs. Besides, polymeric solid on the higher side and conventional
electrolytes such as PEO-salt systems capacitors such as electrolytic
can provide operating potential window capacitors that exhibit capacitance in
as high as ~ 4 V. the range of millifarads on the lower
On the basis of the mechanisms side.
involved in the charge-storage process, EDLCs with capacitances as high
an ES is classified as an electrical as 5000 F [28] has been developed. At
double-layer capacitor (EDLC) or a present, commercial ESs are
pseudocapacitor. An EDLC typically manufactured and marketed by well-
comprises an electrolyte sandwiched known companies such as Panasonic,
between two electrodes. High energy- Nesscap, Maxwell Technologies,
density of EDLCs, as compared to Nippon Chemi-Con, Axion Power etc.
dielectric capacitors, arises due to the
large surface-area of the electrode References
materials used. They are generally [1] M. S. Halper and J. C. Ellenbogen,
based on activated carbons [5-7], Supercapacitors: A Brief
aerogel or xerogel carbons [5, 6, 8-10], Overview,
carbon nanotubes [5, 6, 11, 12], and http://www.mitre.org/work/tech_p
exfoliated graphite [13]. Owing to the apers/tech_papers_06/06_0667/06
physical nature of charge storage and _0667.pdf.
discharge processes, EDLCs have [2] B. E. Conway, Electrochemical
several advantages over secondary Supercapacitors: Scientific
batteries, viz. fast charge-discharge, Fundamentals and Technological
long cycle-life (>105 cycles), and high Applications, Kluwer Academic
power-density [2]. While energy Publishers/Plenum Press, New
storage in EDLCs is due to the York (1999).
separation of charges at the electrode- [3] M. Winter and R. J. Brodd, Chem.
electrolyte interfaces, the energy Rev. (Washington, D. C.), 104
storage mechanisms in (2004) 4245.
pseudocapacitors involve fast faradaic [4] W. Yong-gang and Z. Xiao-gang,
reactions such as intercalation, Electrochim. Acta, 49 (2004)
underpotential deposition or redox 1957.
processes occurring at or near a solid- [5] A. Burke, J. Power Sources, 91
electrode surface at an appropriate (2000) 37.
potential [2]. Redox processes often [6] E. Frackowiak and F. Béguin,
occur in metal oxides [1, 2, 4, 5, 14-23], Carbon, 39 (2001) 937.
conducting polymers [1, 2, 24-26] and [7] J. Gamby, P. L. Taberna, P.
hybrid organic–inorganic Simon, J. F. Fauvarque, and M.
nanocomposite materials [27], making Chesneau, J. Power Sources, 101
them attractive electrode materials for (2001) 109.
pseudocapacitors. Pseudocapacitors [8] S. T. Mayer, R. W. Pekala, and J.
have similarity with rechargeable L. Kaschmitter, J. Electrochem.
batteries in the sense that both employ Soc., 140 (1993) 446.
redox processes for charge storage and [9] R. W. Pekala, J. C. Farmer, C. T.
delivery and hence have high charge Alviso, T. D. Tran, S. T. Mayer, J.
storage capacity. Pseudocapacitors M. Miller, and B. Dunn, J. Non-
possess very high capacitance values, Cryst. Solids, 225 (1998) 74.
generally in hundreds of farads. EDLCs [10] J. Wang, S. Q. Zhang, Y. Z. Guo,
that exhibit capacitances in farads are J. Shen, S. M. Attia, B. Zhou, G.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 38


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Z. Zeng, and Y. S. Gui, J. [26] E. Frackowiak, V. Khomenko, K.


Electrochem. Soc., 148 (2001) Jurewicz, K. Lota, and F. Béguin,
D75. J. Power Sources, 153 (2006) 413.
[11] E. Frackowiak, K. Meternier, V. [27] P. Gómez-Romero, M. Chojak, K.
Bertagna, and F. Béguin, Appl. Cuentas-Gallegos, J. A. Asensio,
Phys. Lett., 77 (2000). P. J. Kulesja, N. Casañ-Pastor, and
[12] E. Frackowiak, K. Jurewicz, S. M. Lira-Cantú, Electrochem.
Delpeux, and F. Béguin, J. Power Comm. 5 (2003) 149.
Sources, 97–98 (2001) 822. [28] http://www.nesscap.com/products
[13] S. Mitra and S. Sampath, _lineup.htm.
Electrochem. Solid-State Lett., 7
(2004) A264. Author’s information:
[14] B. E. Conway, J. Electrochem.
Soc., 138 (1991) 539.
[15] S. Sarangapani, B. V. Tilak, and
C. P. Chen, J. Electrochem. Soc.,
143 (1996) 3791.
[16] J. P. Zheng, P. J. Cygan, and T. R.
Jow, J. Electrochem. Soc., 142
(1995) 2699.
[17] V. Srinivasan and J. W. Weidner,
J. Electrochem. Soc., 147 (2000)
880.
[18] T. Kudo, Y. Ikeda, T. Watanabe, Nurul Alam Choudhury was born on
M. Hibino, M. Miyayama, H. Abe, March 1, 1976 in Cachar district of
and K. Kajita, Solid State Ionics, Assam. He completed his B.Sc. with
152–153 (2002) 833. Chemistry Honors from Cachar College
[19] Y. U. Jeong and A. Manthiram, which is affiliated to Assam University,
Electrochem. Solid-State Lett., 3 Silchar. He did his M.Sc. in Chemistry
(2000) 205. from the University of Delhi and Ph.D.
[20] A. Yamada and J. B. Goodenough, in Materials Electrochemistry from
J. Electrochem. Soc., 145 (1998) Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
737. At present he is working as a
[21] H. Y. Lee and J. B. Goodenough, Postdoctoral Researcher at The Ohio
J. Solid State Chem., 144 (1999) State University, USA. His research
220. interests are in Materials
[22] H. P. Stadniychuk, M. A. Electrochemistry with particular focus
Anderson, and T. W. Chapman, J. on fuel cells, electrochemical
Electrochem. Soc., 143 (1996) supercapacitors and batteries. So far, he
1629. has authored ten papers in peer-
[23] J. J. Xu, A. J. Kinser, B. B. reviewed journals and one US Patent.
Owens, and W. H. Smyrl, He can be reached at
Electrochem. Solid-State Lett., 1 “nachoudhury@gmail.com”.
(1998) 1.
[24] M. Mastragostino, C. Arbizzani,
and F. Soavi, Solid State Ionics, ****************************
148 (2002) 493.
[25] S. Ghosh and O. Inganäs, Adv.
Mater., 11 (1999) 1214.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 39


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Automotive Exhaust Catalysis intake systems, and the combustion


process. To meet the new emission
Pankaj Bharali standards proposed very recently during
National Institute of Advanced Industrial 2008-2009 in the U.S, Europe and Japan,
Science and Technology (AIST), Japan the diesel particulate filter (DPF) was
created, in which the channel wall filters
out the soot particles. The latter are burned
Introduction
The worldwide effort to reduce the harmful off, at suitable intervals, by raising the
temperature. DPFs were originally limited
effects of automotive exhaust has witnessed
impressive progress during the past 30 to trucks and buses, but their proven
effectiveness has led to their planned use
years. Driven by the regulatory agencies,
on passenger cars as well.
emissions have steadily declined and now
represent a small fraction of their pre-
control values. Gasoline-powered Catalytic Converters
In automobiles, a component of emission
passenger cars, which comprise a large
control systems used to reduce the
majority of the world market, emit carbon
monoxide (CO), unburnt hydrocarbons discharge of noxious and polluting gases
from the internal-combustion engine, which
(HC), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
is known as catalytic converter. The
Starting in 1981, the automobile industry
was mandated to sharply reduce the catalytic converter consists of several
components as given below (Figure 1):
emissions of all three (previously only CO
and HC had to be removed) pollutants. This
(i) The core, or substrate. The core is
required "three-way-conversion" (TWC):
often a ceramic honeycomb in
the simultaneous oxidation of CO/HCs and
reduction of NOx, a feat without precedent modern catalytic converters, but
stainless steel foil honeycombs are
in the chemical industry. It can only be
accomplished by keeping the exhaust gas used, too. The honey-comb surface
increases the amount of surface
composition extremely close to the
area available to support the
stoichiometric point. Cerium oxide (ceria)
was soon recognized as indispensable to catalyst, and therefore is often
called a "catalyst support".
the success of the TWC catalyst, because of
its oxygen storage capacity and redox (ii) The washcoat. A washcoat is used
to make converters more efficient,
properties as these properties are the key
often as a mixture of silica and
for the three-way catalyst development.
The use of ceria was greatly expanded by alumina. The washcoat, when
added to the core, forms a rough,
the addition of zirconia; the ceria-zirconia
irregular surface, which has a far
was far more thermally stable than ceria
greater surface area than the flat
itself and allowed the TWC catalyst to
core surfaces do, which then gives
survive much higher temperatures. Large
the converter core a larger surface
amounts of research work have now been
area, and therefore more places for
carried out around the world to optimize
the effect of different cations in ceria lattice active precious metal sites. The
catalyst is added to the washcoat
to develop better TWCs.
Diesel exhaust differs from gasoline (in suspension) before being
applied to the core.
exhaust in important respects. It is always
(iii) The catalyst itself is most often a
"lean" (i.e., net oxidizing) and three-way
conversion is thus ruled out. The chief precious metal. Platinum is the
most active catalyst and is widely
concern is particulate matter, which
used. It is not suitable for all
includes dry soot and a "soluble organic
applications, however, because of
fraction" (SOF), comprised of mainly C20-
unwanted additional reactions
C28. Prior to 2000, attention was mainly
and/or cost. Palladium and rhodium
focused on SOF conversion, as dry soot
are two other precious metals used.
emissions could be controlled within the
standards by optimizing fuel delivery, air Platinum and rhodium are used as a
reduction catalyst, while platinum

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 40


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

and palladium are used as an Many vehicles have a pre-catalyst located


oxidation catalyst. Cerium, iron, close to the engine's exhaust manifold. This
manganese and nickel are also heats up quickly due to its proximity to the
used, although each has its own engine, and reduces cold-engine emissions
limitations. Nickel is not legal for by burning off hydrocarbons from the
use in the European Union (due to extra-rich mixture used in a cold engine.
reaction with carbon monoxide). Many three-way catalytic converters utilize
While copper can be used, its use is an air injection tube between the first (NOx
illegal in North America due to the reduction) and second (HC and CO
formation of dioxin. oxidation) biscuits of the converter. This
tube is fed by a secondary air injection
Hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in system. The injected air provides oxygen
the exhaust are converted to water vapour for the catalyst's oxidizing reaction. These
and carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides are systems also sometimes include an
reduced to nitrogen and oxygen. Catalytic upstream air injector to admit oxygen to the
converters are also used on generator sets, exhaust system before it reaches the
forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses, catalytic converter. This precleans the
trains, and other engine-equipped extra-rich exhaust from a cold engine, and
machines. A catalytic converter provides an helps bring the catalytic converter quickly
environment for a chemical reaction up to operating temperature. Some newer
wherein toxic combustion by-products are systems do not employ air injection.
converted to less-toxic substances. Instead, they provide a constantly varying
mixture that quickly and continually cycles
between lean and rich to keep the first
catalyst (NOx reduction) from becoming
oxygen loaded, and to keep the second
catalyst (CO oxidation) sufficiently
oxygen-saturated. They also utilize several
oxygen sensors to monitor the exhaust, at
least one before the catalytic converter for
each bank of cylinders, and one after the
converter. Some systems contain the
reduction and oxidation functions
separately rather than in a common
housing.

Function of catalysts
As mentioned two types of catalyst
systems, oxidation and three-way, are
found in automotive applications.
Oxidation catalysts remove only CO and
HC, leaving NOx unchanged. Platinum and
palladium are generally used as the active
metals in oxidation catalysts. Three-way
catalysts are capable of removing all three
pollutants simultaneously, provided that the
catalyst is maintained in a “chemically
Figure 1: Typical automotive exhaust correct” environment that is neither overly
converters. The one on the left has been cut
oxidizing nor reducing. In both oxidation
open to reveal the monolith. The inset shows a
blow up of the upper part of the monolith where
and three-way catalyst systems, the
a part has been chipped off. production of undesirable reaction
products, such as sulfates and ammonia,
Installation of catalytic converter must be avoided. Maintaining effective
catalytic function over long periods of
vehicle operation is often a major problem.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 41


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Catalytic activity will deteriorate due to catalytic reduction (SCR) and NOx traps
two causes, poisoning of the active sites by (or NOx Absorbers). Instead of catalysis, a
contaminants, such as lead and phosphorus, reagent such as ammonia pyrolyzed in situ
and exposure to excessively high from urea, is sometimes used to reduce the
temperatures. To achieve efficient emission NOx into nitrogen. Diesel engine exhaust
control, it is thus paramount that catalyst- contains relatively high levels of particulate
equipped vehicles be operated only with matter (soot), consisting in large part of
lead-free fuel and that proper engine elemental carbon. Catalytic converters
maintenance procedures are followed. cannot clean up elemental carbon, though
Three-way catalytic converters can they will remove up to 90% of the SOF, so
store oxygen from the exhaust gas stream, particulates are cleaned up by a soot trap or
usually when the air fuel ratio goes lean. diesel particulate filter (DPF). In the United
When insufficient oxygen is available from States, all on-road heavy-duty vehicles
the exhaust stream the stored oxygen is powered by diesel and built after 1 January
released and consumed. This happens 2007 must be equipped with a catalytic
either when oxygen derived from NOx converter and a diesel particulate filter.
reduction is unavailable or certain
maneuvers such as hard acceleration enrich Catalyst poisoning
the mixture beyond the ability of the Catalyst poisoning occurs when the
converter to compensate. catalytic converter is exposed to exhaust
There are also sometimes, unwanted containing substances that coat the working
reactions can occur in the three-way surfaces, encapsulating the catalyst so that
catalyst, such as the formation of odiferous it cannot contact and treat the exhaust. The
hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Formation most notable contaminant is lead, so
of each can be limited by modifications to vehicles equipped with catalytic converters
the washcoat and precious metals used. It is can only be run on unleaded gasoline.
difficult to eliminate these byproducts Other common catalyst poisons include
entirely. For example, when control of manganese primarily from the gasoline
hydrogen sulfide emissions is desired, additive MMT, and silicon which can enter
nickel or manganese is added to the the exhaust stream if the engine has a leak
washcoat. Both substances act to block the allowing coolant into the combustion
adsorption of sulfur by the washcoat. chamber. Phosphorus is another catalyst
Hydrogen sulfide is formed when the contaminant. Although phosphorus is no
washcoat has adsorbed sulfur during a low longer used in gasoline, it (and zinc,
temperature part of the operating cycle, another low-level catalyst contaminant)
which is then released during the high was until recently widely used in engine oil
temperature part of the cycle and the sulfur antiwear additives such as ZDDP.
combines with HC. Beginning in 2006, a rapid phase out of
For compression-ignition (i.e., diesel) ZDDP in engine oils was begun.
engines, the most commonly used catalytic Depending on the contaminant, catalyst
converter is the diesel oxidation catalyst. poisoning can sometimes be reversed by
This uses excess O2 in the exhaust gas running the engine under a very heavy load
stream to oxidize CO to CO2 and for an extended period of time. The
hydrocarbons to H2O and CO2. These increased exhaust temperature can
converters often reach 90% efficiency, sometimes liquefy or sublimate the
virtually eliminating diesel odor and contaminant, removing it from the catalytic
helping to reduce visible particulates (soot), surface.
however they are incapable of reducing
NOx as chemical reactions always occur in Environmental impact
the simplest possible way, and the existing Catalytic converters have proven to be
O2 in the exhaust gas stream would react reliable and effective in reducing noxious
first. To reduce NOx on a compression tailpipe emissions. However, they may
ignition engine, the chemical composition have some adverse environmental impacts
of the exhaust must first be changed. Two in use:
main techniques are used: selective

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 42


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

* The requirement for a rich burn engine to Pankaj Bharali originally from Duliajan,
run at the stoichiometric point means it Assam, is presently working as a
uses more fuel than a "lean burn" engine postdoctoral research scientist at Research
running at a mixture of 20:1 or less. This Institute for Ubiquitous Energy Devices,
increases the amount of fossil fuel National Institute of Advanced Industrial
consumed and the carbon dioxide Science and Technology (AIST) Japan. He
emissions of the vehicle. However, NOx completed his Ph.D. from Indian Institute
control on lean burn engines is problematic. of Chemical Technology Hyderabad
* Although catalytic converters are working on ″Ceria-based nanostructured
effective at removing hydrocarbons and composite oxides for catalytic applications″
other harmful emissions, most of exhaust under the guidance of Dr B.M. Reddy at I
gas leaving the engine through a catalytic & PC Division. His research works have
converter is carbon dioxide, one of the been published in 15 international journals
greenhouse gases indicated by the and 2 book chapters and presented in
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate various national and international
Change (IPCC) to be a "most likely" cause conferences. At present he is involved in
of global warming. Additionally, the U.S. the development and fabrication of
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nanostrucutred metal oxide based
has stated catalytic converters are a pseudocapacitors for capacitor application.
significant and growing cause of global He can be reached at
warming, due to their release of nitrous pankaj_rrlj@yahoo.co.in.
oxide, a greenhouse gas over 300 times
more potent than carbon dioxide.
* Catalytic converter production requires *****************
palladium and/or platinum; part of the
world supply of these precious metals is
produced near the Russian city of Norilsk,
where the industry (among others) has
caused Norilsk to be added to Time
Magazine's list of most polluted places.
In conclusion hence, there is a great
need of new technologies which can
overcome these drawbacks for greener and
safer lives.

References
1. Wikipedia
2. Environmental protection agency
(EPA), United States of America.

Author’s information:

J. Heyrovsky’s Nobel winning Polarimeter

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 43


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(Guest Article) any problematic by-products, being for


Sonoelectrochemical Processes: aqueous wastes, and (vii) the main reactant,
the electricity, is fully available, free from
Scale up from Sonovoltammetry any market restriction.5 All these features
to Pre-Pilot Plant for allow the sonoelectrochemical technology to
Trichloroacetic Acid Degradation address both approaches to manage the
chlorine treatment replacement: domestic
devices or large-scale developments by the
M.D. Esclapez, V. Sáez, D. Milán-Yáńez, I. municipal administration. The main aim of
Tudela, O. Louisnard, J. González-García any scale-up of a process is to determine the
technical, economical and environmental
Departamento de Química Física e Instituto feasibility of the current technology. Here,
Universitario de Electroquímica, we present the development of a
Universidad de Alicante, Spain sonoelectrochemical study of the
trichloroacetic acid (TCAA) degradation
Introduction from the sonovoltammetry to the pre-pilot
Among the recalcitrant compounds found scale.4
in landing waters, the trihalomethanes
(THMs) are volatile haloorganic Materials
compounds formed during the purification Aqueous solutions were prepared with
processes of water when the chlorine is purified water (18.2 MΩ cm resistivity),
used such as disinfectant agent. However, titanium (Ti) disk (d = 4 mm, 0.126 cm2)
the THMs are not the only disinfection by- was used as working electrode for the
products formed and chloroacetic acids voltammetric experiments. The counter
have also been detected.1 The organic electrode was a spiral platinum wire. For
matter present in water from rivers and bulk electrolyses, two different electrodes
lakes is the precursor of these disinfection of mesh-plate of Ti (2 cm2 of active area in
by-products as a consequence of its each electrode face in the batch cell and
oxidative process with chlorine. These by- 20.0 cm2 in the flow cell) were used as
products are related with health2 (colon and cathodic material. A platinized titanium
bladder cancer and adverse effects during (Pt/Ti) mesh (20 cm2) was used as anodic
the pregnancy) and with environmental material in both scales. The reference
risks. electrode was an Ag/AgCl/KCl (3 M)
In this context, it is also appearing an electrode connected to the
emerging number of new technologies or (sono)electrochemical cell via a Luggin
rebirthing established technologies trying to capillary. Two different titanium ultrasonic
replace the chlorine treatment. Among these horns were used: (1) in the sonovoltametry
technologies, the electrochemical,3 the and batch elecrotrolysis, a UPS 200W 24
sonochemical or especially the kHz, with a 0.7 cm2 emitter surface Ti tip
sonoelectrochemical4 technology is and (2) in the flow cell, a UIP1000hd, with
presenting promising results. Several a 12.5 cm2 emitter surface Ti tip.
attractive features are shared among the
different approaches: (i) the processes are Sonoelectrochemical experiments
carried out at room temperature and Voltammetric study (Autolab PGSTAT30)
atmospheric pressure, (ii) the unique use of was carried out recording cyclic (CV) or
electrical energy as ‘‘reactant”, allowing the linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) in three
consideration of a ‘‘green” technology, (iii) different modes: (1) static conditions (S-
the energetic consumption is adjustable to CV or S-LSV), (2) under forced convection
the contamination level, (iv) the rate of the at 1000 rpm (R-CV or R-LSV) and (3)
treatment is easily controlled by means of under a high power–low frequency
the electrical current passed by the ultrasound field at 6.36 W, 16.5Wcm-2,
sonoelectrochemical reactor and the power 0.032Wcm-3. Bulk electrolyses in batch
level in the sonochemical approach, (v) the mode were carried out using a home-made
processes are safe with easy handling by a galvanostat. The volume of catholyte was
PC or electronic device, (vi) there are not 200 mL. When the batch electrolysis was

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 44


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

carried out in divided mode, a Nafion 450 simultaneously to the ultrasound field
cationic membrane was used to separate application, the so-called sonovoltammetry.
catholyte and anolyte chambers, with a Sonovoltammetric analysis has provided
volume for the anolyte of 200 mL. The interesting information about the
initial concentration of TCAA was fixed to ultrasound effects on the electron transfer
0.5 mM in a 0.01 M background at the electrode surface.6 Mechanical
electrolyte. phenomena related to the ultrasonic field
Figure 1 shows the non-optimized propagation, such as acoustic streaming
flow-sonoelectrochemical systém used for and microjetting, cavitation and shock
the scale-up of the process. This reactor waves have promoted the mass transport
was made in polypropylene (PP) and from/to the electrode and electrode
designed to be used in divided and clearing. Therefore, a first step in the scale-
undivided configuration. At this scale, up of a sonoelectrochemical process should
initial concentration, membrane, be focused on a sonovoltammetric analysis.
temperature and cathode area/catholyte However, this comparison gives us an idea
volume ratio were kept. The volume for of the working electrode potentials and/or
catholyte and anolyte were 2000 and 1000 working current densities to be used in the
mL, respectively. A Nemic Lambda PWS controlled potential electrolysis or
350–35 device was used as potentiostat– galvanostatic electrolysis in the following
galvanostat. For both scale of electrolyses, step of the scale-up.
a Micro pH meter and a Crison
conductimeter were used to measure the pH
and conductivity of the solution. The
reactions were monitored by HPLC
(Agilent 1100) and IC (Dionex model DX-
500).

Figure 2. Cyclic voltammetry for 0.010M


Na2SO4 + 0.003M TCAA, 10 mV·s-1 at silent
conditions (a), under forced convection 1000
rpm (b), and under ultrasound field, Ia = 16.5
Wcm-2 (Π =0.032 Wcm-3), emitter surface to
electrode surface distance 2 cm (c). Inset graph:
zoom showing only the scan towards more
negative potentials.

Figure 2 shows the linear sweep


Figure 1. Experimental set-up for the scale-up. voltammetry (10 mV s-1) for 0.010 M
(1) flow sonoelectrochemical reactor, (2) Na2SO4 + 0.003 M TCAA at silent
ultrasound transducer, (3) catholyte tank, (4) conditions, curve a, under forced
anolyte tank, (5) gas measurement system, (6) convection (1000 rpm), curve b, and under
pumps, (7) flowmeters, (8) temperature sensor, ultrasound field (16.5Wcm-2; 0.032Wcm-3),
(9) cooling system, (10) power supply, (11)
curve c. Under forced convection, curve b,
voltmeter, (12) sensor hoder, (13) pH sensor,
(14) conductivity sensor. there is a clear increase of the current
density related to the reduction of TCAA.
Results and Discussion This should mean that an increase in the
(a) Voltammetric study. The voltammetry flow conditions will provide an enhanced
is a very useful technique, which provides performance of the process. In addition, the
fast and relevant information of any change of the shape of the curve from a
electrochemical process. The voltammetric peak located at -1.5 V (in silent conditions)
techniques have been carried out to a plateau until the massive hydrogen

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 45


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

evolution takes place at potentials lower feasibility of the process, the next step in
than -2.2 V suggests that the process which the scale-up is the development of several
takes place at the peak is under full mass bulk degradation sonoelectrolyses. We
transport control at this potential region. have chosen the galvanostatic electrolysis
The presence of the ultrasound field option due to the fact that it is the most
modifies the curve, curve c, not only giving practical approach.
more current density at potentials more
positive than in other conditions (see inset
in Figure 2), but also giving a more spiked
signal at potentials lower than -2 V where
the process is under fully-mass transport
control. TCAA could also be degraded by
oxidation. On the reverse scan to more
positive potentials there is not any Figure 3. Normalized concentration related to
oxidation process, indicating the the starting TCAA for TCAA (■) and DCAA
irreversibility of the process in the potential (▲) in divided (A) and undivided (B) cell
window studied. configuration for sono-electrolysis at batch
The voltammetry response for a scale. Ia = 16.5 Wcm-2, P = 0.032 Wcm-3, de-h =
solution 0.010 M Na2SO4 + 0.003 M 3 cm.
TCAA with a platinum electrode showed
the overlapping of the voltammetry profiles At this scale, we have chosen as
in presence and in absence of TCAA means operational variables the reactor
that the oxidation of TCAA takes place, if configuration, electrode-horn distance, de-h,
it does, simultaneously with the oxidation and the ultrasonic intensity, Ia. The value of
of the background electrolyte, so very low the working current density, jw, was fixed
current efficiencies should be expected. at 4 mA cm-2. Figure 3 shows the
Therefore the oxidation process should be normalized concentration decay for the
discarded as degradation alternative. starting material as well as the products
However, further processes such as formed during a typical divided (A) and
intermediate reactions on the anode (on undivided (B) sonoelectrolysis carried out
counterelectrode) should also be taken into at batch scale. The sonoelectrochemical
account. In our case, we have analyzed the degradation of TCAA in both
possible oxidation of dichloroacetic acid configurations provides a clean degradation
(DCAA) yielding TCAA in presence of towards DCAA, the amount of
chloride at basic pH, trying to get monochloroacetic acid (MCAA) and other
information related to the necessity of a by-products staying very low, whenever
divided system. The same response, than detected. The mass balance is closed at any
that for TCAA, was recorded so the DCAA stage of the process with an error always
oxidation is not favoured. From this lower than 5%. Divided configuration
preliminary study, it can be concluded that provides an improved process with better
a low current efficiency should be expected performance parameters. This information
even if we work at low working current is quite important because, due to the high
densities (lower than jw = 5 mA cm-2) in price of the membranes and its
galvanostatic electrolyses, or working performance problems, an undivided
potential more positive than Ecw = _1.5 V. configuration should be chosen when
There is not any finding to discard the possible, but in our case, separate reactions
possibility of the use of an undivided are clearly needed, and therefore, a divided
system. configuration is required.4

(b) Bulk sonoelectrolysis at batch mode. (c) Bulk electrolysis at flow


Once the sonovoltammetry had provided sonoelectrochemical reactor. Batch scale
qualitative information related to cathodic has shown a poor enhancement of the
material to be used, expected values of sonoelectrochemical degradation of TCAA
current density/working electrode potential, in these experimental conditions. However,
type of separator and selectivity and some useful conclusions can be used in the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 46


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

following step in the scale-up. In this, a The presence of the ultrasonic field
more elaborated reactor has been used to increased the fractional conversion and the
analyze the process, focusing our further selectivity1. In addition, the degradation
analysis on the influence of the fluid flow efficiency and the current efficiency are
and gases evacuation system. Especially, also slightly improved. Despite the fact that
the maintenance of the values of the the chosen degradation process is not an
performance parameters in the scale-up easy target, the use of an improved reactor
should be addressed. In addition, if this step has provided a better performance. A good
was the last one, it should be provided not equipment design is mandatory to obtain
only information related to the electrical representative results of the performance of
configuration possibilities, i.e., the the process, in agreement with other efforts
behavior of monopolar vs. bipolar stacks emphasized in the literature where
and/or series vs. parallel electrical feed, but geometry has been highlighted as a very
also the next information from long-term important aspect.7 Finally, results
sonoelectrolyses: (1) components stability, comparing divided and undivided
(2) final selectivity and (3) economical configuration, confirmed that a divided
aspects of the process. For the next series configuration yields a more efficient
of experiments, we have kept the same procedure for the degradation of TCAA.
working current density jw, initial
concentration, temperature, electrode
materials and cathode area/catholyte
volume ratio. However, we have used
lower ultrasonic intensities than in the
previous scale.

Figure 5. Geometry studied. Only one-half of


the reactor is drawn.

(d) Characterization and design of the


prototype. As we can realize from the
previous sections, a continuous feedback
between the process development and the
Figure 4. Normalized concentration decay for prototype development should be
TCAA (A) 100 L h-1; (C) 300 L h-1; and current established. Therefore, in a step further, the
efficiency for Cl- (B) 100 L h-1; (D) 300 L h-1; characterization of the non-optimized flow
in the flow sonoelectrochemical reactor at sonoelectrochemical reactor has been
different power ultrasound: () 0 () 3.8, () carried out. In this case, the acoustic field
9.5 W cm-2.
present in the sonoelectrochemical reactor
can be calculated by following the
In this study, we have checked a simulation strategies. The set-up simulated
sonoelectrochemical reactor specifically is represented in Figure 5, where only one
designed, which allows the analysis of the half of a cut plane is represented. The
combined influences of the ultrasonic field transducer emits in the catholyte, limited
and the fluid flow. Figure 4 shows the laterally by 20 mm PP walls and below by
influence of the ultrasound power in the a cationic membrane separating anolyte and
concentration decay and the current catholyte. The transducer has a working
efficiency in Cl-. Again DCAA was the frequency range from 20 to 21 kHz, and it
main product obtained with a massive stops automatically at a frequency where
evolution of hydrogen and very low, the impedance is lower. COMSOL
whenever detected, amount of MCAA.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 47


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Multiphysics software was used to 2. N. Hamidin, Q.J. Yu, D.W. Connell,


calculate the response curves of the system Water Res. 42 (2008) 3263.
varying the frequency. 3. V. Sáez, M.D. Esclapez Vicente, A.J.
The results achieved were very Frías-Ferrer, P. Bonete, J. González-García,
interesting from a sonoelectrochemical Water Res. 43 (2009) 2169.
point of view1, as the presence of cavitation 4. M.D. Esclapez, V. Sáez, D. Milán-
zones found on the surface of the electrode Yáñez, I. Tudela, O. Louisnard, J.
is expected to enhance reactions and mass- González-García Ultrason. Sonochem., in
transport there. Acoustic simulation Press (2009).
therefore appears as a valuable tool in order 5. J. González-García, M.D. Esclapez, P.
to design such reactors. Finally, a more Bonete, Y. Vargas-Hernández, L.G.
realistic model of attenuation by cavitation Garretón, V. Sáez, Ultrasonics 50 (2010)
is required, in order to avoid the arbitrary 318.
choice of a spatially uniform attenuation 6. J. Klíma, C. Bernard, C. Degrand, J.
coefficient, as was done in this study. Electroanal. Chem. 367 (1994) 297.
7. A. Mandroyan, M.L. Doche, J.Y. Hihn,
Conclusion R. Viennet, Y. Bailly, L. Simonin,
In this work, we have improved the Ultrason. Sonochem. 16 (2009) 97.
electrochemical route using an ultrasound
field obtaining higher fractional Author’s information:
conversions (from 65 to 95%), higher
selectivity (from 0.6 to 0.9), higher current
efficiencies (from 4 to 10%) and higher
degradation efficiencies (from 17 to 26%)
when the process was developed using a
flow sonoelectrochemical reactor. Thus the
classical drawbacks of
sonoelectrochemistry, related to
reproducibility and scale-up, can be
circumvented by using specially designed
equipment. Even in this study, where any
of the different steps of the scale-up have Ms. M. D. Esclapez finished her M.S.
not been optimized, several conclusions degree in Chemistry at the University of
can be obtained as follows. (i) A Alicante, Spain, in 2005 and then joined the
preliminary sonovoltametric study has “Departamento de Química Física” of the
revealed itself as an important tool saving same university, where now she is carrying
further long and tedious experimental trials. out her Ph.D. studies dealing on
(ii) The main performance parameters have sonoelectrochemical abatment of
improved their standard when a specifically organochlorinated pollutants, directed by
designed sonoelectrochemical reactor was Dr. J. Gonzalez-García. In the development
used in the scale-up. (iii) The main of her studies she has taken part in 12
drawback of ultrasound is its energetic cost. research projects and participated and
However, the ultrasonic intensity series has presented in 24 national and international
shown that it is not necessary to use very congresses, where three conferences were
high ultrasound power. An optimized prize-winners. The results of the research
reactor design is mandatory. And (iv) the carried out with her colleagues in the group
simulation has provided useful information “Nuevos desarrollos tecnológicos en
about the influence that the elements Electroquímica: Sonoelectroquímica
present in the reactor, such as the Bioelectroquímica” has been published in
membrane and the electrodes. four articles and other three are already in
press in peer reviewed international
References journals.
1. S.D. Richardson, Trends Anal. Chem. 22 She enjoyed a short term scientific
(2003) 666. mission in the framework of COST action
in the University of Applied Sciences of

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 48


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Cologne, Germany, in 2008, studying the themselves with indigo (Prof. M.L.
sonochemical degradation of chlorinated Gulrajani 2007).
pollutants in colaboration with Prof. Astrid The raw material for the production
Rehorek. Currently she is enjoying another of natural dyes is mostly vegetable matter
visit of three months at the J. Heyrovsky such as seeds, leaves, roots, bark or the
Institute of Physical Chemistry, Prague, heartwood of the plants. Some of the
Czech Republic and carrying out an study recommended raw materials that are used
of the electrochemical reduction of for the production of natural dyes, used in
chlorinated pollutants in collaboration with dyeing textile substrates, are given in
Prof. Jiri Ludvik and Prof. Jiri Klima. She table below.
likes Indian food.
Raw materials used for the production
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ of natural dyes
S. Botanical Common Part of
N name name the plant
Indigenous Knowledge on o
Natural Dye of NE Region 1 Acacia Cutch Heartwo
catechu od
towards Green Chemistry
2 Acacia Acacia Bark
Chandan Tamuly nilotica
North East Institute of Science & 3 Mallotus Kamala Flower
Technology, Itanagar Branch, AP philippinen deposits
sis
Natural dyes can be defined as those
colorants (dyes and pigments) obtained 4 Pterocarpu Red Heartwo
from vegetable plants or animal matters. s santalinus Sandal od
Many plant species contain natural wood
coloring matter in their leaves, seeds, 5 Punica Pomegran Rind
fruits, roots, or in barks. Some plants also granatum ate fruit
bear non-edible seeds with natural rind
colorant suitable for use as dye in many
industries. 6 Quercus Gall Nuts Fruit
The application of natural dye has infectoria
been known since ancient times. The 7 Rheum Himalayan Roots
history of natural dye is very interesting. emodi rhubarb
The earliest written record of the use of
natural dye was found in China dated 8 Rubia Indian Whole
2600 BC. Chemical test of red fabrics in cordifolia Madder plant
the tomb of King Tutankhamen in Egypt 9 Rumex Golden Seeds
show the presence of alizarin, a pigment maritmus Dock
extracted from the madder. In the modern
times, Alexander the great had deceived 10 Terminalia Myrobalan Fruit
Persians into thinking that his army was chebula
wounded by sprinkling his soldiers with 11 Indigofera Indigo Leaves
red dye, probably madder juice which tinctoria
contains the dye alizarin. By the 4th
century AD, dyes such as madder, weld,
Brazilwood, indigo and dark reddish Dyes are mainly employed in textiles
purple were known. When Romans industries. Other potential industries are
invaded England, they found that the leather, paints and varnishes, printing and
ancient people called Picts inhabited the writing inks, paper, drugs, perfumes and
country. They both tattooed and painted cosmetics, photographic films, food,
drinks etc. In spite of extensive use of

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 49


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

synthetic dyestuffs, trends have been its dyed material is not of good quality.
shifted recently to biological dyes Kum (Strobilanthes flaccidifollus) is
because of their nontoxic, biodegradable another plant, which yields blue-black
and environment friendly nature. So color. The dye is used in Manipur,
exploration of dye yielding plants of Nagaland and few other parts of the
North East Region, which is a store- northeast region. In place like Bomdila,
house of thousands of plant species, is Dirang and Tawang which are dominated
worth taking up. by tribes practicing Budhism, the trees
One of the greatest advantages of and bushes are tied with strips made from
natural dye is its eco-friendly nature. The Daphne papyracea used for producing
dye producing plants investigated are dye as a sacred mark. Such trees and
mainly wild types. Nevertheless, many of bushes are not allowed to cut or damaged
them can be adapted to modern (Chowdhery H.J. 1996). It is one of such
cultivation practices for industrial use at plant of Arunachal Pradesh used by the
low costs and at a high yield of useful Monpa tribe for making hand made
products. The trials of the different dyes paper, painting and writing scripts in
on various textiles were so promising that monasteries. Rubia cardifolia, Rubia
it is anticipated to use of such dyes would sikkimensis woodfordia fruticisa, Pinus
occur on an industrial basis in the near roxburghii, Pinus wallichiana, Michilia
future. sps., Bischofia javanica, Bixa orellana,
The total size of the world market for Indigofera tinctoria etc are traditionally
dyes pigment and intermediate is estimated used for extraction of dyes. These are
at around US $ 35 billion in 2002. Dyes mixed with animal skin, fat and residues
and pigment are estimated to constitute the of insects like Kerria lucca, commonly
largest segment with a market size of 1.3 known as the lac insect. Natural dyeing
million tones and a market value of US $ not only helps preserve the traditional art
16 billion. The vegetable dyes constitute of the weaving and design, but also
US $ 0.03 billion and is expected to grow provides employment and yields
in coming years. economic and ecological benefits.
Although the vegetable dyes are used Natural dyes are one of the most
all over the country, in some of the states important resources of NE Region. It has
extensive use of these dyes has been bright prospect for commercial as well as
found due to the traditional occupation. industrial point of view. But the
In Rajasthan, the block printing units in traditional knowledge regarding use of
Jaipur primarily use the natural dyes. In natural dyes by the tribal people are not
Jodhpur there are 750 units, which are explored widely till now. The indigenous
involved in dyeing and printing of fabrics people of the hilly states use various
by using natural dye. The annual plants to dyeing their cloths, looms etc
production is around 58 lakhs meters. using age old time consuming methods.
Most of the suppliers of natural dye are The knowledge is limited to only among
operating on cottage scale. In Orissa the old tribal people of village areas and
there are few handlooms where vegetable it is feared that these traditional methods
dye is still used. Twenty-five Himalayan will disappear near future after a few
plant species have been identified as generation. It is quite unfortunate that the
potential sources for coloring matters that knowledge has not been properly
are in high demand in food processing. documented or any serious attempt has
These include members of Lamiaceae, been made to take advantage of this
Rubiaceae, Polygonaceae, immense treasure of traditional
Ranunculaceae and Pinacea families. knowledge associated with natural dyes
In northeast region of India, natural dyes which we are going to loose vital
are extracted or used basically by tribal information. But they are not familiar
people. Dyeing process is fairly known with the scientific techniques/methods
and so also the process of madder dyeing. which are more efficient, reliable and
Cassia tora (Chakunda) a very cheap have commercial value. Hence there are
substitute for indigo blue is also used but ample scopes to develop suitable

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 50


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

technology for production of natural dye into the earthen pot, to which little water
and dye-stuff for commercial use. It may is added. The pot is kept undisturbed for
help socio-economic development of the 20-25 days during which periods the
NE Region. contents of the pot get fermented. The
Some of the common traditional fermented content is boiled to get a thick
processes (D. Mahanta 2002, G. Akimpou liquid and the extract is filtered through a
et.al. 2005) practiced by the tribal people piece of thin cloth to yield the natural
of North East India are described below. dye. The colour of the dye thus extracted
and prepared through this process
depends upon the plant species used.

Process 3:
Hides of buffalo/Ox/Yak are burnt and
about 50 gm of ash is mixed with two
gallbladders one each of Labeo gonius
(Pla-khuri) and Puntius sarana (Pla-kun)
fish and 2-3 crushed leaves of Solanum
Indicum Linn. The mixture is thoroughly
Illicium griffithii mixed in about 1 litre of water and boiled
till it turns into a thick mixture. The
mixture is squeezed through a cloth to
Process 1: separate the liquid dye. To make the dye
Fresh mature fruits, bark of Terminaila fast and non washable in water,
chebula Retz (Hillikha) and Emblica sometimes soot scraped out cooking pots
officialis Gaetern (Amlakhi) almost in or burnt resin of Pinus wallichiana is
equal parts by weight are crushed and added.
boiled in water in an iron pot having very
small pores in the bottom of the pot
through which only a thin liquid
percolates and leaving small residue in
the pot. The pot is placed over a tripod
stand and another pot is placed below it
where the black thick liquid from the
upper pot is collected in drops. The thick
liquid so called collected in the lower pot
is the dye used for coloring of cloths.

Rubia cordifolia L.

Process 4:
Bixa orellana Linn imparts reddish colour
to the clothes or yarn threads. Seeds are
soaked in the Utti (prepared from burn
Pisum sativum Linn., Musa paradisiaca
Linn., etc.) Some seeds are then taken in
clean and thin clothes and rubbed into the
Bixa orellana water with hand. The liquid thus
obtained, is used for dying clothes or
Process 2: yarn threads. For durability of the dye,
Shoots whole plant of Rubia coordifolia, the clothes are again soaked for around 2-
Rubia sikkimensis, Ficus altissima 3 days in the liquid prepared from
separately or in mixture with parts of Garcinia xanthochymus Hook fruits.
other natural dye yielding plant species
viz. Juglans regia, Woodfordia fruticosa,
Illicium griffithii etc. are crushed and put

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 51


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Process 5: less effluent problems and (vi) saves


The leaves of Strobilanthes cusia (Nees) energy because the raw materials are not
(syn. S. flaccidifolius Nees.) Kum from petroleum. Though the natural dyes
(Manipuri) are collected and soaked in a are better than synthetic dyes, there are
pitcher (Andro chaphu) containing water. some limitations such as (i) low color
The pitcher is covered with clothes. The yield, (ii) difficult reproducibility of
process is known as “Kum yeiba”. The shade, (iii) lack of standardization, (iv)
pitcher is then kept at the corner of the inadequate fastness properties and (v)
open room where proper air and light (not natural resources not available in all
direct sun light) are available. The pitcher countries. It is the need of the hour to
is kept undisturbed until the leaves get look for Renewable Energy Sources and
completely decayed. The pitcher is Eco-Friendly Textile operations. Thus,
uncovered and stirred with a multi-pronged Research has to be done to overcome the
stick known as “Yakabi or Kumsu-chei” limitations in this area.
(Manipuri) or “Khim lat-tai” (Rongmei). The word "mordant" is derived from
Solid things are removed while stirring. the Latin word mordere, which means to
Then Kum-sunu (ashes taken from burning bite. Mordants are the mineral salts added
Oysters) is added and stirred continuously. to the fibres to help the dyes adhere.
At this stage, bubbles are formed, which Many dyes will adhere to the fibres
are removed with soft things like feather without mordants, but the limitation is
etc. Bubbles are removed from time to range of colors and the fastness of dyes.
time. Now the kum liquid is ready for Historically, dyers used everything from
dyeing clothes or threads. a copper or aluminum pot to stale urine to
The above process is used for mordant their fibres. Today, salts of Cu,
making the dye color fastness and Cr, Sn, Pb etc. are used as mordant, but
permanent of the ingredients used. they are not Eco-friendly due to heavy
However addition of few drops of bovine metal content. Natural plant derived
urine provides quick drying property to mordant (based on tartarate, tannic acid,
the natural dye. Presently, eco-friendly organic ligands, etc) could be exploited to
natural dyes have potential demand all solve this issue.
over the world. India possesses vast Green Chemistry methods and
plant wealth in the form of plantation. technologies may be fully utilized on (i)
Some of the work has been going on in natural colorants (ii) natural dye fixing
the region of NW Himalayas and tropical agents and (iii) natural adsorbents for
areas of northern portion of Western textiles so as to minimize the
Ghats. But little amount of works has environmental problems and help to
been done in NE region. So this is an achieve close to carbon-neutrality and full
excellent scope for R & D in NE region. sustainability.
This has provided relatively better Importance of GREEN CHEMISTRY:
opportunity for the development of this It explores the progress and prospects of
industry in the country. chemical research and science policy in
Recently, there has been a growing advancing global sustainable development.
interest in the use of natural dyes for Sustainable growth depends on the
textile application since natural dyes efficiency and nature of energy use, the
exhibit better biodegradability and sources of raw materials used by industry
generally have a better compatibility with and the cleanliness of industrial processes.
the environment. Also, they possess To encourage support for new ideas and
lower toxicity and allergic reactions than technologies and to facilitate substitution
synthetic dyes. The advantages of natural through the production of more
dyes are (i) they are obtained from environmentally benign processes and
renewable resources, (ii) no health products, GREEN CHEMISTRY is very
hazards, (iii) practically no or mild important. Economic, Environmental and
chemical reactions involved in their Social benefits can be achieved by adding
preparations, (iv) no disposal problems, value to agricultural and forestry, carbon-
(v) they are harmonized with nature (vi) neutral products and new employment

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 52


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

opportunities in rural communities. It is


important to note that natural dye has great
potential in food, drink and other
industries. The development of natural
colorants for food and drink is likely to be a
priority area.

References
1. H. J. Chowdhery, 1996, Materials for
the flora of Arunachal Pradesh Volume I
(eds.) P.K.Hajra, D.M.Verma and G.S.Giri,
BSI Kolkata-700001.
2. D. Mahanta, 2002, Survey on
availability of resources (natural dye
yielding plant species) in Arunachal
Pradesh for its use in leather industries,
Final Technical Report submitted to CLRI,
Chennai-600020.
3. G. Akimpou, K. Rongmei and P. S.
Yadava, 2005, Traditional dye yielding
plants of Manipur, North East India, Indian
Journal of Traditional Knowledge 4(1), 33-
38.
4. M. L. Gulrajani, 2007, Coloration of
Bamboo Products with Natural Dyes
Workshop 31 Jan-2nd Feb 2007, Technical
Report, Arunachal Pradesh under National
Mission on Bamboo Technology.

Author’s information: Please laugh!

My daughter, not that long ago, made a


basic error on a chemistry matter
in discussion with me, to which I replied,
"Good heavens, you should
know that, you learnt it in the lab in your
Yr 8 (first year High
School) Science class!"
She replied, "No I didn't"
I retorted, "Yes, you did!"
She replied, "No I didn't. How would
Chandan Tamuly had completed M.Sc. in *YOU* know what the dumb Science
Organic Chemistry from Gauhati teacher taught us, anyway?"
University in 2002. Presently he is working I replied, quietly, "Because, if you care to
as a Scientist at Itanagar branch of the recall, I *WAS* your dumb
Yr 8 Science teacher."
North East Institute of Science & (From: Norma van der Plaas
Technology (NEIST) in the field of Natural www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha)
Product Chemistry. One can find him at
<c.tamuly@gmail.com> and Telefax:
0360-2244220.

**************************

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 53


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Experiencing the ‘Nobel’ Week special day I enthusiastically start my day


getting up in the morning and reach Aula
Magna with my friends much before 9.00
Arindam Adhikari
AM so that I can occupy a seat in the
suitable place in the auditorium. Even
Back to the memory lane, it was one Friday
though all the Physics and Chemistry
evening, autumn of 2005, with dreams in
lectures I attended for last 5 years were
my eyes, I landed in Stockholm for my post
interesting, here I have tried to piece
doctoral research, immediately after
together some of the most interesting
completion of my Ph.D. from National
lectures and which I liked most, for the
Chemical Laboratory, Pune. My new
readers of N. E. Quest. I am mentioning
postdoc. supervisor Prof. Per Claesson was
here also some of the incidents which
waiting for me in the airport with paper
diverted my attention.
board written my name on it. After some
discussion he drove me to the city where he 5th - 6th The Laureates (except
had arranged an apartment for me. It took December for the Nobel Peace
around 30 minutes to reach Stockholm City Laureate) arrive in
from Arlanda airport. On the way, I was Stockholm.
enjoying the beautiful roads and the
landscape in between the conversations. 7th - 8th The Laureates deliver
Per asked about my family, India and December their lectures
whether people of India heard about 9th The Embassy of each
Sweden etc. In reply I said, Sweden was December respective Laureate
known to India because of Nobel prize, the arranges a lunch. The
controversial Bofors Howitzer deal and of Nobel Foundation holds
course it is one of the less corrupted a reception for all the
countries in the world. He was delighted to Laureates.
learn about this and informed me about the
Nobel week (See the table) which starts in 10th The Nobel Prize Award
the first week of December every year. I December Ceremony is held in
was happy to know from him that Nobel Stockholm Concert
lectures are open event and one can attend Hall, where the king
those lectures. These lectures are held on presents each Laureate
7th and 8th of December, prior to Nobel with a Nobel Prize
award ceremony on 10th of December. Medal and Nobel Prize
After joining my new job as post Diploma. A banquet is
doctoral researcher, life was as usual then held in the
learning new things every day, making Stockholm City Hall.
friends and trying to get more in to the 11th The festivities conclude
system. December with dinner at the Royal
But the Nobel week was always in my Palace
mind. Eventually Physics and Chemistry
Nobel lectures are one of the events which Events during the Nobel week
I never missed ever since I came here in
Stockholm. These lectures by the Nobel I still remember the first year 2005,
prize winners of Physics and Chemistry are when I along with my two friends Juanjo
held on 8th of December every year at Aula (Juan Jose Valle Delgado, pronounciation
Magna auditorium in Stockholm University Huanho, from Spain) and Hiro (Hiroyasu
campus. (Physics, Chemistry, Economics Mizuno, from Japan) reached the venue
Nobel lectures are held in the Aula Magna early in the morning and waited outside the
auditorium on 8th of December whereas the auditorium to open the gate. We all three
Nobel lectures in Physiology or Medicine were new to Stockholm and knew nothing
is delivered at Karolinska Institutet and the about the auditorium and the program.
Nobel lecture in Literature is delivered at Anyway, we entered the auditorium much
the Swedish Academy) Every year on that ahead of time and occupied a place as near

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 54


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

as possible from the podium so as to get field of optics. He explained the


better view and to take some pictures of the fundamental differences between hot
Nobel laureates. The magnificent view of sources of light such as light bulbs, with a
the auditorium impressed all of us and took mixture of frequencies and phases, and
some photos from different angles before lasers which give a specific frequency and
occupying the seats. The name Aula Magna phase. Whereas John Hall and Theodor
means the big hall in Swedish and inside Hänsch showed their important
structure of it is constructed wholly of contributions, such as possibility of
wood. It is really a thrilling and nice measuring frequencies with an accuracy of
experience to sit in such a beautiful fifteen digits. They also showed that lasers
auditorium and listen to the inspiring with extremely sharp colours can now be
moments and stories of struggle of the big constructed and with the frequency comb
personalities which led them to the Nobel technique precise readings can be made of
prize. light of all colours. This technique makes it
possible to carry out studies of, for
example, the stability of the constants of
nature over time and to develop extremely
accurate clocks and improved GPS
technology.
After the physics lectures were over,
we were waiting for the chemistry lecture,
when suddenly we noticed, an elderly
person along with some people started
angrily shouting in the auditorium breaking
the silence, stating, he was the first to
propose the mechanism and accordingly he
Aula Magna deserves the prize or proper
acknowledgement should be given to him
and his group etc. etc. Immediately security
personal interfered and took them out of the
auditorium. After the physics lectures there
was an hour break. In the mean time I took
some photographs of the Nobel laureates
and grabbed few posters of Nobel lectures
which were kept outside the lecture hall.
Then we were back to our places for the
most waited chemistry lectures.
In the area of chemistry Yves Chauvin
(France), Robert H. Grubbs (USA),
Aula Magna Richard R. Schrock (USA) received the
Nobel prize in 2005 ‘for the development of
As a regular trend, sharp at 9.00 AM the metathesis method in organic
the chairman of the Nobel committee for synthesis’. Prof. Yves Chauvin delivered
Physics goes up to the podium and the lecture in French; of course the English
announced about the lectures and give brief translated presentation was displayed
introduction about the Physics Nobel simultaneously on another screen beside.
Laureates. They explained ‘metathesis’ in a
In the year 2005 there were 3 Nobel simple lucid way as a cut-and paste act on
prize winners in Physics in the optics and two molecules that each contain a double
spectroscopy area [Roy J. Glauber (USA), bond between carbon atoms. For example,
John L. Hall (USA) and Theodor W. chemists working in petroleum refining had
Hänsch (Germany)]. Roy Glauber had observed this interesting rearrangement for
established the basis of Quantum Optics, in decades, in which both molecules are cut
which quantum theory encompasses the across their double bonds, pieces from one
molecule are swapped with a piece from

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 55


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

the other, and then these pieces are attached Nobel lectures. When I told my Swedish
together to create new double bonds. professor and friends here about my
According to them metathesis resembles a excitement for being able to attend the
dance. The catalyst, in which the metal Nobel lectures, to my realisation they were
holds its carbon partner with both hands, calm and showed no importance. Later I
"dances" among carbon/carbon pairs, realised, these ceremonies are nothing new
which are molecules with carbon-carbon for them, and it’s a regular event for them.
double bonds. When the "catalyst pair" Drawing your attention for the year
meets a carbon/carbon pair, the two 2006, Roger Kornberg (USA) received the
dancing pairs unite in a round dance. After Nobel prize in chemistry ‘for his studies of
a while they let go of each other's hands, the molecular basis of eukaryotic
leave their old dance partners and dance transcription’. He talked about many
along with their new ones. The new interesting events, many milestones of
"catalyst pair" is now ready to catch discovery during his studies which
another dancing carbon/carbon pair for a extended over 30 years. He was the first to
new round of dancing. In other words it create an actual picture of how
continues to act as a catalyst for metathesis. transcription works at a molecular level in
Yves Chauvin was the first to propose this the important group of organisms called
mechanism behind the reaction with a eukaryotes (organisms whose cells have a
metal catalyst, but after examining a well-defined nucleus). [In order for our
number of candidate metals Richard bodies to make use of the information
Schrock made the initial breakthrough by stored in the genes, a copy must first be
introducing Molybdenum and Tungsten made and transferred to the outer parts of
containing catalyst. Robert Grubbs went the cells. There it is used as an instruction
one stage ahead by developing more for protein production – it is the proteins
effective catalysts centred around that in their turn actually construct the
Ruthenium, which reacted less with other organism and its function. The copying
molecules and was much more stable. They process is called transcription.]
also explained how chemists have used the Interestingly Roger Kornberg's father,
metathesis reaction to create a host of Arthur Kornberg, also won the Nobel Prize
important products. One huge advantage of in Physiology or Medicine in 1959 for
metathesis in relation to many conventional discovering how our cells synthesize DNA
reaction methods is that it produces and only the sixth father/son pair to win a
chemicals in a much cleaner, cheaper and Nobel Prize. It can rightly be said ‘genes
more efficient manner. By switching to this clearly run in the family’.
reaction, chemists hope to develop
environmentally friendly ways of building
1. Sir William Henry Bragg and
new organic molecules.
William Lawrence Bragg
(Physics, 1915)
2. Niels Bohr (Physics, 1922) and
Aage N. Bohr(Physics, 1975)
3. Hans Karl August Simon von
Euler-Chelpin (Chemistry,
1929) and Ulf von Euler
(Medicine, 1970)
Schematic representation of changing 4. Karl Manne Georg
partners in ‘metathesis’ Siegbahn(Physics, 1924) and
Kai M. Siegbahn (Physics,
Really the first year was a memorable 1981)
one, as obvious, when people experience 5. Joseph John Thomson (Physics,
for the first time, it remains memorable and 1906) and George Paget
every moment was exciting. After Thomson (Physics, 1937)
attending the lectures I made calls to my
friends and relatives expressing my Nobel prize won by Father- Son
happiness after witnessing the prestigious

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 56


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

My observation since last five years is marine organism produces light


that through the Nobel laureates some unexpectedly ended-up providing
group/people (students from some researchers with a powerful array of tools
countries where human right violation is with which to visualize cell biology in
going on) tries to raise some political issues action. The session started with Osamu
after the lectures. They might create such Shimomura’s lecture on research on
scene as they knew that reporters from over bioluminescence shown by living
the globe are around here for the press organisms. He showed how in the early
conference. 1960’s while studying a glowing jellyfish,
In the year 2007, in chemistry, Gerhard he isolated a bioluminescent protein that
Ertl received Nobel prize "for his studies of gave off blue light whereas the jellyfish
chemical processes on solid surfaces". glowed green. Further studies revealed that
Gerhard Ertl devoted his life in developing the protein's blue light was absorbed by a
ways to better understand the detailed second jellyfish protein, later called green
dynamics of chemistry at the solid surfaces. fluorescent protein (GFP), which in turn re-
He started his lecture with history of emitted green light. The ability of GFP to
‘catalysis’, how the name ‘catalysis’ came process blue light to green (its
to existence. Ertl explained in his lecture, fluorescence) was found to be integral to its
how using variety of techniques, he was structure, occurring without the need for
able to piece together the step-by-step any accompanying factors.
interplay between the hydrogen and
nitrogen atoms bound to the surface of the
iron particles during the reaction the Haber-
Bosch process, which produces ammonia,
thus solving a sixty-year old mystery. He
also presented, how his investigations have
revealed previously unknown phenomena,
the conversion of carbon monoxide to
carbon dioxide on platinum catalysts, one
of the reactions performed by catalytic
converters in cars. He showed many nice
videos of related to catalytic processes
which I really enjoyed. Mice born with GFP stain
(Image: www.newscientist.com
8th Oct 2008)

Martin Chalfie showed how he


managed to introduce gene for GFP in to
the DNA of small, almost transparent worm
C. elegans. GFP was produced by the cells,
giving off its green glow without the need
for the addition of any extra components,
and without any indication of causing
damage to the worms. Subsequent work
Osamu Shimomura showing GFP showed that it was possible to fuse the gene
for GFP to genes for other proteins,
The chemistry Nobel for 2008 went to opening-up a world of possibilities for
Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and tracking the localization of specific proteins
Roger Y. Tsien "for the discovery and in living organisms.
development of the green fluorescent Roger Tsien showed how GFP's
protein, GFP" and the discoveries are structure produces the green fluorescence,
sparkling example of how fundamental and then played with the structure to
research in one area of science can lead to produce molecules that emit light at
highly beneficial application in other fields slightly different wavelengths, which gave
and for mankind. The research is on how a tags with different colours. He also

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 57


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

explained how his group added further gorgeously they are dressed up, how
fluorescent molecules from other natural orderly their seats are allotted and the way
sources to the tag collection and with the food is served. All these together with the
help of these complex biological networks hall sums up to a Royal dinner.
can be labelled in an array of different
colours, allowing visualization of a
multitude of processes previously hidden
from view.
All the Nobel laureates acknowledged
Douglas Prasher several times during their
lectures and afterwards also. He was the
unfortunate scientist, who was one of the
firsts to study GFP, but unfortunately had
to discontinue his research due to lack of
funding and had to leave his job. Prasher
was the first scientist to isolate and copy Golden Hall (Gyllene salen) inside
the green fluorescent protein gene. Prasher famous City Hall where guests dance
gave Chalfie and Tsien his research results after Nobel Banquet
and copy of jellyfish genes. Right now he
is working as a bus driver to make his ends In the year 2009, Nobel Prize for
meet. He came to lime light after the Nobel Physics was awarded for two scientific
Prize announcement when one leading achievements which have helped to shape
news paper in US brought his story out in the foundations of present networked
the early October. Chalfie and Tsien invited societies. Charles K. Kao "for
Prasher and his wife to attend the Nobel groundbreaking achievements concerning
Prize ceremony, as their guests and at their the transmission of light in fibers for
expense. optical communication" and to Willard S.
On 10th of December 2008, I tried to Boyle, George E. Smith "for the invention
have a glimpse of all the Nobel laureates of an imaging semiconductor circuit – the
and the King outside the Konserthuset CCD sensor".
(Concert Hall) where Nobel Prize is Due to old age Kao could not deliver
awarded by the King, but could not take his lecture, instead his wife Mrs. May. W.
single photograph because of crowd Kao delivered the lecture. In the lecture,
accompanied by darkness (In the month of she showed how his ideas were met with
November-December Stockholm receives scepticism when he initially suggested
less light and the days are short). Precisely about pure glass fiber’s ability to transfer
I was unlucky to be far from the subject of long range information for optical
interest. After the Nobel award ceremony communication. She mentioned about 2
the Nobel laureates goes to the City Hall letters he received after this discovery,
for dinner. The City Hall is magnificent where in one letter the sender wanted to
and is one of the most beautiful and well invite his deceased wife for dinner through
known buildings in the world and its optical fiber technology. It was really a
backside faces the beautiful water front. In interesting lecture, where Mrs. Kao
the Blue room (Blå hallen) of the City Hall mentioned about getting annoyed when
Nobel Prize banquet is held and after the Prof. Kao used to return home late from the
dinner the Royal family along with the laboratory and how she used to say
guest proceed towards the Golden Hall for sarcastically ‘Oh really you will get Nobel
the Royal dance. The Golden Hall is made Prize one day’ etc.
of 18.6 million gold mosaic tiles. On the other hand Willard S. Boyle
For me the Nobel week does not end and George E. Smith showed how they
up with these three auditoriums. It is invented the imaging technology using
exciting to sit on my couch in the snowy digital sensor CCD (Charge-Coupled
evening watching the direct telecast of the Device). The CCD technology makes use
Noble dinner in the television with a plate of the photoelectric effect where light is
of pakoda. It is amazing to know how transformed into electric signals. They

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 58


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

explained about the challenge when institute. This time a proud Indian was
designing an image sensor to gather and hoping everybody to see it.
read out the signals in a large number of
image points, pixels, in a short time.
Because of their invention only, now a days
people can take hundreds of photos without
thinking of the cost by digital camera. The
CCD is the digital camera's electronic eye.
It revolutionized photography, as light
could now be captured electronically
instead of on film. The digital form
facilitates the processing and distribution of
these images. CCD technology is also used
in many medical applications, e.g. imaging
the inside of the human body, both for
diagnostics and for microsurgery. CCD has
provided new possibilities to visualize the
previously unseen. It has given us crystal
clear images of distant places in our
universe as well as the depths of the
oceans. Incidentally they worked in same
lab and shared many incidents about their Prof. Venkataraman Ramakrishnan
research and stories about research funding
in the Bell labs. One interesting thing, to be As a custom after physics lectures
mentioned here is that Willard S. Boyle did chemistry lectures starts. I was waiting
not attend any school till the age of 15 and proudly with my friends to see Prof.
his mother was his only teacher till then. Venkatraman. Fortunately I could occupy a
The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry seat behind the row where all the seats
recognizes three people who made major were occupied by students of Prof.
contributions to understand the nature of Venkatraman. Before the lecture begins I
the machine that translates the RNA code started capturing all his movements. Prof.
into protein: the ribosome. Venkataraman Venkatraman started his lecture
Ramakrishnan (UK, Indian origin), Thomas acknowledging his teachers, colleague and
Steitz (USA) and Ada Yonath (Israel) family members. But his first slide was of
received the chemistry Nobel prize for the his students who were involved with his
year 2009 and they took the view that in research and almost all of them were
order to be able to understand the present there. If we think from a student’s
ribosome, one has to be able first to point of view, how encouraging the single
visualize it. slide could be. In almost every slide he was
The Nobel lecture in chemistry for year showing picture of the student involved in
2009 was special and most awaited one as I the research shown on the slide. He ended
would see an Indian standing on the his lecture with a music video composed by
podium giving lecture in the Aula Magna his student where he showed the different
auditorium. Every year I wish to see an mechanisms of DNA-RNA.
Indian in the list, so with great excitement I Using X-ray crystallography all the
check the Nobel foundation website. This three Nobel laureates independently tried to
year my happiness knew no bounds solve the structure of the ribosome. They
imagining to see an Indian delivering the have all imaged the molecular interactions
prestigious lecture. Prof. Venkatraman between ribosomes and antibiotics,
Ramakrishnan made my dream come true. providing key data to help guide structure-
On 7th of October 2009, as soon as I saw based drug design of new antibiotics. With
the list with an Indian name, I took printout antibiotic resistance on the increase, it is
of the page of the press release and without hoped that an understanding of precisely
delay I pasted on the notice board of our how antibiotics interact with the ribosome

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 59


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

will allow the design of new antibiotics to


tackle drug-resistant bacteria. One
interesting thing is that all of them showed
several animate videos of what they termed
as molecular factory.
After the lectures, while returning to
my department which is 5 minutes by tube,
I heard people saying Venky’s lecture was
the most interesting among all. I was so
happy and contented. A proud Indian in a
foreign land. I returned with a dream to see
an Indian every year. That was my happiest “The mind likes a strange idea as
hour, happiest day - The highest hope of little as the body likes a strange
pride and glory to our nation. protein and resists it with similar
energy. It would not perhaps be too
References fanciful to say that a new idea is
1. www.nobelprize.org the most quickly acting antigen
2. www.wikipedia.org
known to science. If we watch
3. www.thelocal.se
ourselves honestly we shall often
find that we have begun to argue
Author’s information:
against a new idea even before it
has been completely stated.”
Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter
English surgeon (1872-1939).

“Science is a great game. It is


Dr. Arindam Adhikari has been working at inspiring and refreshing. The
YKI, Institute for Surface Chemistry (and playing field is the universe itself.”
at Intelligent Packaging Centre, Royal Isidor Isaac Rabi, US physicist.
Institute of Technology), Stockholm since
(Nobel prize 1944)
December 2007. Before joining this
position he did his first postdoc in the
Surface Chemistry Division of Royal
Institute of Technology, Stockholm from
2005 to 2007. His research area involves
synthesis and different applications of
conducting polymer as well as nano
structures of inorganic and conducting
polymers. Basically from Tinsukia, Assam,
he did his B.Sc. (Fergusson College), M.Sc.
(N. Wadia College) and Ph.D. (National
Chemical Laboratory) in Pune. He can be
reached at
arindam.adhikari@neindiaresearch.org

*********************

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 60


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(Climate Confusion) hottest on record — major snowstorms


should become a thing of the past.
Science Must End Climate
Confusion
This winter, from the second half of
December to first half of January, India
was reeling under severe coldwaves; North
East India recorded coldest temperatures in
30 years. UK had the coldest December for
14 years and Czech Republic along with
some European countries experienced
coldest December for 30 years. Whole
Europe was seeing a big freeze in early
But the Europe, India or some US
January, virtually cutting off from work by
cities does not cover the whole Earth's
unprecedented snow.
surface. Individual weather events, from
heatwaves to big freezes, cannot be used
either to prove or disprove climate change.
Weather is what will happen next weekend;
climate is what will happen over the next
decades and centuries. Scientists have been
saying that "global warming" means a rise
of average temperature across the world,
decade by decade, and not every year being
consistently warmer than the last in every
place on Earth, there are still those that get
this mixed up. And while our ability to
predict the weather has become reasonably
reliable, scientists are still a long way from
being able to make accurate projections
about the future of the global climate.
There is some evidence that climate
change could in fact make such massive
snowstorms, as in US, more common, even
as the world continues to warm. While the
frequency of storms in the middle latitudes
has decreased as the climate has warmed,
Really, it was a hard time for
the intensity of those storms has increased.
environmentalist, climate scientist and That's in part because of global warming —
press. Dr. Pachauri withheld appearing on hotter air can hold more moisture, so when
TV screens. He also lied and misled the a storm gathers it can unleash massive
international community in his IPCC amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is
report. People were discussing on the
drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold
coffee table and teasing each other. “Where
snap, like the one that occurred over much
is all this global warming, hah!” The same of the East Coast during parts of January,
comments were also seen in some parts of we would be unlikely to see heavy
the press and on Twitter, from those who
snowfall.
jump on any bit of cold weather to say it
proves that global warming is not
Warming world
happening and we're all a bunch of idiots.
Last year was actually the fifth warmest
The recent snowstorms in US also cast year on record as far as global temperatures
more doubt on global warming. And it were concerned. The four warmest years
stands to reason that if the world is getting
were, in ascending order, 2002, 2003, 2005
warmer — and the past decade was the

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 61


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

and 1998. The last decade was the warmest counter this? Or are they guilty of turning a
on record, followed by the 1990s and then blind eye to these things because these
the 1980s, so the world is definitely sound something against the climate
warming up. To be fair, people often make sceptics?
the same mistake but in the other direction, It's easy to blame the media and but it
and link every heatwave, major flood, is scientist who gives information to
drought and famine to global warming. Of journalists. Talking up of the problem then
course, these things happen anyway, even gives easy ammunition to those who wish
without climate change — they may to discredit the science. They do not care
happen more often under a warmer climate, whether the wrong information came from
but it is wrong to blame climate change for the scientists or from a second-hand source,
every single event. Climate scientists know they just say (quite rightly) that it's wrong
this, but still there are people outside of and therefore why should they trust other
climate science who will claim or imply parts of the science? Dr Richard Betts, head
such things if it helps make the news or of climate impacts at the Met Office
generate support for their political or Hadley Centre, has the opinion that
business agenda. “Climate scientists need to take more
responsibility for the communication of
their work to avoid any confusion. Even if
scientists themselves are not blaming
everything on climate change, it still
reflects badly on them if others do this. We
cannot simply say it is everyone else's
fault; we need to be very clear about what
can be used as evidence for or against
climate change. Long-term, large-scale
trends and the overall statistics of extreme
weather events can and should be part of
the evidence base. Individual weather
events, from heatwaves to big freezes or
one storm, cannot be used either to prove or
disprove climate change. If we do not help
the media, NGOs and the public to
understand this, we have done nothing to
stop them getting it wrong. If our science is
misunderstood and misused, and then
turned against us, it really will be a case of
We Have Been Framed.” Some
environmentalists have wrongly tied the
lack of snow in Vancouver, the site of the
Winter Olympic Games, which begin this
Mixed messages month, to global warming.
Climate "sceptics" accuse climate scientists
of exaggerating the evidence for human- (Sources: www.bbc.co.uk & www.time.com)
caused climate change in order to secure
their own funding; but actually any vested
interests in talking up the problem lie
elsewhere. The focus on climate change is
now so huge that everybody seems to need *********************
to have some link to climate change if they
are to attract attention and funding. Hence
there is increasing tendency to link
everything to climate change — whether
scientifically proven or not. The question
is: do climate scientists do enough to

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 62


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Title of the Thesis: Synthesis nanotechnology and materials


and Application of Shape science.
In chapter 2, we report a simple
Tunable Metal and Metal wet chemical route based on citrate
Oxide Nanoparticles reduction method to synthesize
spongy, network-like and polygonal
Md. Harunar Rashid Au nanostructures from aqueous
HAuCl4 solution at ambient
Research Guide: temperature. For this purpose, we
Dr. Tarun Kumar Mandal, have chosen bismuth ammonium
Polymer Science Unit, Indian citrate (BAC) and ferric ammonium
Association for the Cultivation of citrate (FAC) as reducing agent
Science, Jadavpur, Kolkata, instead of conventional tri-sodium
700 032 India citrate (TSC). This method is
template-less and seed-less and no
Abstract harsh conditions are required. When
In the present thesis, we report the bismuth ammonium citrate was used
synthesis of different-shaped gold as reducing agent, spongy and
and silver nanostructures by in situ network-like Au nanostructures are
reduction technique. The synthesized formed after 2 h and 5 h respectively
gold and silver nanostructures have as observed through TEM. But
been successfully utilized as catalysts reduction of gold salts by ferric
for different chemical reactions as ammonium citrate resulted in the
well as materials for fabricating formation of polygonal GNPs. Size
refractive index sensors for organic of the Au nanostructures (either
solvents. Furthermore, we have also network-like or polygonal) could be
prepared anisotropic metal oxide varied simply by varying the mole
(e.g., ZnO and FexOy) nanostructures ratios of citrate salt to HAuCl4 or
by forced precipitation techniques vice versa. The results of control
using water-soluble polymer. experiments of HAuCl4 with tri-
In chapter 1, a general ammonium citrate alone as well as in
introduction was provided on presence of different metal ions
nanostructured noble metals and indicated that the cationic part of the
transition metal oxides. General citrate salts played a key role in
synthetic procedures for the modulating the shape of the formed
preparation of metal and metal oxide Au nanostructures and the formation
nanoparticles were also discussed of different shaped Au
along with the properties of such nanostructures took place through
metal and metal oxide ion-induced growth mechanism. The
nanostructures. But major emphasis kinetics of formation as measured via
has been given on colloid chemistry by UV-vis spectroscopy and time-
based chemical synthesis. dependent morphology analysis via
Furthermore, potential applications TEM revealed that spongy gold
of noble metals and transition metal nanoparticles (GNPs) are the
oxide nanoparticles were also intermediate to the network-like Au
discussed and finally concluded with nanostructures that might form via
its possible future implication on the assembling of smaller sized (~ 5

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 63


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

nm) spherical GNPs. The spongy similar reaction conditions. But when
GNPs are porous with a BET surface the reduction of HAuCl4 was carried
area of 42 m2/g. The surface of out using Na-CMC, tape-like and
spongy GNPs is active and further kite-like Au nanostructures are
Au or Ag nanostructures can be predominantly formed depending
grown from the surface of these upon the concentration of HAuCl4.
nanostructures without any Controlled experiments with
additional citrate salts or reducing methylcellulose and
agents. ethylhydroxyethyl cellulose show the
In chapter 3, dendritic Ag formation of only spherical GNPs.
nanostructures were prepared by wet- These results confirmed that the
chemical reduction of AgNO3 using presence of anionic moiety in Na-
citrate salts carrying different cations CMC molecules favors the formation
at room temperature in absence of of different shaped GNPs.
any additional template or capping In chapter 5, we report the
agents. Microscopic results preparation of different-shaped ZnO,
demonstrate that the concentration γ-Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 nanostructures in
and nature of citrate salt used for the aqueous medium at relatively low
reduction has a significant effect on temperature (20 ºC) in presence of a
the morphology of the formed Ag water soluble polymer, poly(methyl
dendrites. Kinetics results of the vinyl ether) (PVME). The as-
formation of Ag colloids prepared/purified metal oxide
demonstrated that spherical Ag nanostructures are single crystalline
nanoparticles are formed at early and are probably formed by oriented
stages of reaction that with time growth. Alkaline hydrolysis of Zn2+
attach orientally to form dendritic Ag ions in presence of PVME gives
nanostructures. dumbbell, lance-shaped and
In chapter 4, we report a simple triangular ZnO nanostructures
solution-phase chemical method to depending on the pH of the reaction
synthesize shape tunable GNPs using media. Whereas, alkaline hydrolysis
cyclam and sodium salt of of Fe2+ ions followed by oxidation
carboxymethyl cellulose (Na-CMC) (H2O2 addition) produces needle-like
at ambient temperature. The shape of γ-Fe2O3 nanostructures. But in
GNPs could easily be tuned by absence of H2O2, cubic-shaped Fe3O4
simply varying the concentration of nanostructures are formed. All these
HAuCl4 as well as by introducing a metal oxides nanostructures are well
foreign ion in the reaction medium. characterized by diffractometric
When cyclam was used, spherical technique. Control growth of ZnO in
GNPs are formed at lower absence of PVME indicated that
concentration of HAuCl4. As the PVME not only regulates the growth
concentration of HAuCl4 was of ZnO but also assists in forming
increased in the reaction medium, uniform ZnO nanostructures (either
mixture of spherical and dumbbell or lance or triangle
triangular/truncated triangular GNPs depending upon the concentration of
are progressively formed. Moreover, Zn2+ ions and NaOH). The
introduction of a foreign ion such as adsorption of PVME on the surface
Cu2+ or Ni2+ ions increases the of metal oxide nanostructures was
population of triangular shaped confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy and
GNPs compared to that prepared in thermogravimetric analysis. Being a
the absence of such ions under solvent adaptable polymer, surface

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 64


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

adsorbed PVME assisted the ZnO


nanostructures to get easily dispersed
in various polar and non-polar
solvents including water.
In the final chapter (chapter 6),
the aforementioned as-synthesized
Au and Ag nanostructures were
successfully used as catalysts in
various chemical reactions. The
reactions studied are catalytic Md. Harunar Rashid basically hails
borohydride reduction of different from Mankachar, Dhubri. He studied
isomeric nitrophenols with spongy, Chemistry in Gauhati University and
network-like and polygonal GNPs, earned B.Sc. and M.Sc. with
catalytic borohydride reduction of specialization in Physical Chemistry.
nitrophenols with dendritic Ag He then moved to Kolkata after
nanostructures, catalytic aerobic qualifying UGC-CSIR NET for JRF
oxidation of D-glucose and it’s two and worked at Polymer Science Unit,
isomeric hexoses such as D-mannose Indian Association for the
and D-fructose with polygonal Cultivation of Science with Dr.
GNPs, and catalytic redox reaction of Tarun K Mandal for his Ph.D. degree
K3[Fe(CN)]6 and Na2S2O3 with which resulted above mentioned
network-like Au nanostructures. abstract and six publications in
These catalytic reactions were reputed international journals.
monitored via UV-vis spectroscopy Currently, he is carrying out his
and pH-metry measurement. postdoctoral research at KAUST-
Comparison of the catalytic results Cornell Center for Energy and
with that of spherical Au and Ag Sustainability, Cornell University,
nanoparticles revealed that spongy USA, as a visiting scientist.
GNPs, network-like GNPs,
polygonal GNPs, and dendritic Ag **********************
nanostructures are catalytically more
active compared to their spherical
counterparts. We have also prepared
thin-film of cyclam-capped Au
nanoparticles on glass or quartz
substrate by dip-coating technique.
These Au nanoparticles’ coated thin-
films were successfully used as
refractive index sensor for different
organic solvents. These GNPs thin-
film are highly stable upto few
months without any changes in their
optical properties.

Author’s information:

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 65


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1. Mr. Golap Kalita 2. Mr. Akthar Hussain

Mr. Golap Kalita is currently Mr. Akthar Hussain is presently doing


completing his Ph.D. thesis at his Ph.D. at the Department of
Department of Electrical and Inorganic and Physical Chemistry,
Electronics Engineering, Chubu Indian Institute of Science (IISc),
University, Aichi, Japan. He obtained Bangalore. He was born and brought
his B.Sc. in Physics from Bajali up in Helacha, Kamrup, Assam. He
College, Assam and M.Sc. in Physics received his B.Sc. degree (chemistry)
from Tezpur University, Assam. He in 2004 (first class 6th position) and
also did M.Tech. on Energy M.Sc. degree (chemistry) with
Technology from Tezpur University. specialization in inorganic chemistry in
In 2006, he moved to Japan and joined 2006 (first class 4th position), both
the Department of Electrical and from Gauhati University, Guwahati.
Electronics Engineering, Chubu Since January 2007, he has been
University for his doctoral thesis on a pursuing for his doctoral thesis under
Monbukagakusho fellowship from the the supervision of Prof. Akhil R.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Chakravarty, FNA, at the Department
Science and Technology (MEXT), of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry,
Japan (2006-2010). The title of his IISc. Earlier, he cleared the UGC-
thesis would be “Investigation of CSIR National Eligibility Test (NET)
organic solar cells with novel material for junior research fellowship in 2005
and architectures and organic light and in 2008, he was awarded senior
emitting diodes.” Earlier in Tezpur research fellowship. He has
University, he received CSIR Senior successfully completed graduate
research fellowship (2005-2006) and Research Training Programme of IISc
National renewable energy (NRE) in December 2007. Currently he is
fellowship from the Government of focusing on electrochemistry of metal
India (2003-2005). He published complexes, DNA and protein binding
around 18 papers in reputed peer study, DNA and protein photocleavage
reviewed international journals. He study, photocytotoxicity study on
visited USA, Taiwan and Malaysia cancer cells, and living cell imaging by
besides India and Japan for presenting metal complexes for Ph.D. thesis. He
papers in various conferences attended international conferences
including invited talks. He also has the “Hydrogen and Hydrogen Storage”
credit of writing two book chapters. He held at IISc (2009) and “Symposium
would soon join the same laboratory at on advanced biological inorganic
Chubu University as a JSPS chemistry” (SaBIC-2009) held at
postdoctoral fellow (FY 2010) after TIFR, Mumbai. One can reach
submitting his thesis. Mr. Kalita can be Mr.Hussain at akhtar@ipc.iisc.ernet.in.
reached at golapkalita@yahoo.co.in.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 66


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(i) Two PhD positions at the University of Amsterdam

Project: Molecular Movies of Protein Folding

Project description: Protein folding, the process by which a protein assumes its three-dimensional
shape, is one of the basic unsolved problems of biophysical research. Many of the structural changes
taking place during protein folding, especially during the early stages, are as yet poorly understood. In
this research project, time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy will be used to study protein folding. We will
trigger the folding, for instance by a temperature jump, and track the folding process in real time using
one- and two-dimensional vibrational spectroscopy in combination with site-specific labeling. This will
make it possible to obtain a structurally and temporally resolved picture of protein folding, which can be
regarded as a 'molecular movie' of the folding process. Group website:

http://www.science.uva.nl/research/molphot/trvs

(ii) Post-Doctoral Appointment at Argonne National Laboratory (USA)

A post-doctoral position is available in the laboratory of R. Glen Macdonald in the Chemical Dynamics
and Kinetics Group at Argonne National Laboratory. The experiments involve the use of high-resolution,
time-resolved absorption spectroscopy to study the kinetics and dynamics of radical-radical reactions
related to combustion processes. Argonne National Laboratory offers excellent compensation and
benefits packages. Candidates should submit curriculum vitae, lists of publications and presentations,
and the names and mailing addresses of three references through the Argonne website at
http://www.anl.gov/jobs under Job Search for Postdoctoral/Jobs Openings, Requisition Number 315873
CSE. For further information, please contact Glen Macdonald, email: rgmacdonald@anl.gov or phone:
(630) 252-7742.

(iii) Postdoctoral and PhD positions

Postdoctoral and PhD positions, link of which is given below. Experience in fields such as organic
chemistry, surface science, and (bio)nanotechnology is welcomed. The group aims at research at the
highest international level. Candidates that fit into this environment are invited to apply. The postdoctoral
positions are typically for 2-3 years. PhD positions are for 4 years.

http://www.orc. wur.nl/UK/ Vacancies/ Postdoctoral+ and+PhD+position s/

(iv) PhD POSITIONS IN NATIONAL SUN YAT - SEN UNIVERSITY, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

For those intend to apply the PhD or master positions, please forward the following documents first.

(1) Recent CV with a Photo.


(2) A list of outlines for possible subjects to carry out in my lab.
(3) All the background experience and duration in research work in details.

For all details regarding the graduate studies at NSYSU (DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY AND
MARINE BIOTECHNOLOGY) and application form, please go to the following web page to download.

http://www.academic .nsysu.edu. tw/academic/ exam/foreign/ 99foreign. htm.

NSYSU provide tuition waiver and also 15000 dollars/month (Taiwan money) for fellowship. In addition,
NSYSU also award paper scholarship (10000 dollars for each paper publication in SCI journals. Thus,
for those with good research ability could get excellent financial support.

Research fields:

(1) Nano-biomedical analysis


(2) Nano-microorganism analysis
(3) Nano-proteomics
(4) Nano-DNA analysis
(5) Nano-RNA analysis
(6) Nano-antibody- antigen analysis.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 67


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

(v) Post-doctoral position available immediately

Institution: Department of Physical Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Date Posted: 25 January 2010

A postdoc fellowship is offered in the field of quantum chemistry in the Institute of Chemistry, the
Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The main goal of the project is to study photochemical reactions
proceeding via conical intersections. Work will involve localization and characterization of conical
intersections (CI), quantum chemistry calculations of potential energy surfaces (PES) and their
couplings as well as quantum dynamics simulations and control of the resulting reactions. The
cooperation also serves for training of the PhD students in our complementary fields of expertise.
Candidates should have a strong background in quantum chemistry and computational methods. Work
will involve high level quantum chemical calculations using methods such as CASSCF, MRCI and etc.
Calculations will be on gas phase molecules as well as on solvated ones.

Please send your applications to:

Prof. Shmuel Zilberg


Department of Physical Chemistry,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tel: 972-2-6585848
Fax: 972-2-5618033
e-mail: shmuel@fh.huji.ac.il

(vi) Postdoctoral and PhD position

We are looking for outstanding experimentalists that are eager to participate in our research. Experience
in fields such as organic chemistry, surface science, and (bio)nanotechnology is welcomed. The group
aims at research at the highest international level. Candidates that fit into this environment are invited to
apply. The postdoctoral positions are typically for 2-3 years. PhD positions are for 4 years. Applicants
are invited to submit a letter including CV with publication list and names/email addresses of 3 or more
references, to Prof. Dr. Han Zuilhof e-mail: han.zuilhof@wur.nl

(vii) OPEN POSTDOCTORAL POSITION

Title: Thermodynamics and dynamics of carbon/iron clusters: a theoretical


approach to modeling the growth of carbon nanotubes.

Location: Laboratoire Francis Perrin (LFP) CEA-CNRS URA 2453


C2EA, IRAMIS, Service des Photons Atomes et Molécules, Bât 522
F91191 Gif/Yvette, France. Web: http://www-lfp.cea.fr/

Contact: Reaction dynamics group; Christian Angelié


E-mail: christian.angelie@cea.fr

Funding program, salary, duration: C2EA is a French organization centered on fundamental and applied
research in alternative and nuclear energies. The postdoctoral position is funded ASAP for 12 months
by its national program “Nano-simulation”. The salary will be that of a staff C2EA agent of equivalent
qualifications to that of the postdoctoral applicant.

Required qualifications: We are seeking a post-doc with documented skills in molecular dynamics and
Monte Carlo simulations. The applicant should be used to work with and also to modify heavy computer
codes. Knowledge of reactive potentials and of the Tight Binding method is wished. The post-doc will
have the main responsibility of the project direction on nanotube growth.

Application procedure: The application shall be written in English or French and include the following
items:

1. A description of the qualification for the position


2. Curriculum Vitae including a list of publications
3. Two reference persons who can be contacted.

***********

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 68


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

2010 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for the Forest Products


Industry
27 – 29 September 2010
Espoo, Finland

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS/POSTERS


This annual, internationally recognized event brings together leading researchers, industry experts,
government representatives, and other stakeholders to share advances and perspectives on
anotechnology-based products for the forest products and related industries. To leverage research
advances and offer participants new opportunities for knowledge sharing, the 2010 Technical Program
Committee invites contributions from participants working with nano-enabled bio-materials, products,
and their processing. Analysis of challenges and trends in emerging markets for forest products that are
based on nanotechnology are sought to provide a foundation for new research and industrial activities.
The organizers also encourage submissions on other aspects of nanotech products including law,
policy, economics and environmental health and safety.

CONFERENCE THEMES AND TOPICS


• Nanocellullosics and Nanocomposites
• Nanocellulosics and nanostructured materials
• Separation processes for nanocellulosics
• Nano-reinforced films, fibers, and foams
• Bio-derived matrix polymers for sustainable nanocomposites
• Processing of nanocomposites
• Characterization techniques
• Wood products and nanotechnology
• Consumer perception
• Governmental regulation and nanotechnology
• Integration of NCC production and the biorefinery
• Nanostructured materials by self assembly
• Nano manufacture & self-assembly
• Photonic bandgap pigments for special optical effects in forest products
• Nanoporous materials for controlled delivery of actives, immobilization of sensor liquids
• Biomimetics
• Computer modeling
• Nanotech coatings and new nano-enabled functionalities
• Surface functionalization
• Wear and scratch resistant coatings
• Novel optical effects
• High modulus paper coatings
• Market opportunities for forest based nanomaterials
• Novel films, coatings, printing technologies
• Smart materials and sensing technologies
• Biodegradable packaging with nanocomposite barrier technology
• Molded nanocrystalline cellulose composite structures
• Product demonstrations
• Poster sessions
• EU nanoclusters and publicly funded forest-based nanotech in North America

MEETING PROGRAM CHAIRS: Prof. Bruce Lyne, Royal Inst. of Technology; Prof. Kristiina Oksman, Luleå
Univ. of Technology.Submit abstracts to: nano@tappi.org by 5 March 2010. Extended abstracts or papers due 1
June 2010. See www.tappi.org/2010Nano for abstract requirements.

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 69


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Formulations for the


future
- from fundamentals to The conferences will take place at Aula
Magna, the great auditorium of
processing
Stockholm University.

Last Call for Papers


Formula VI to be held in
Stockholm June 7-
10, 2010 is the ideal
international meeting to
update you on research and
development of formulated
products.

Last Call for papers (pdf)


Abstract submission online
FormulaVI website

We are looking forward to


welcoming you in Stockholm
June 7 – 10th, 2010.

For details

http://www.bwz.se/sp/UserFiles/Files/499_FormulaVI_2nd_flyer.pdf

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 70


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 71


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Details about the Northeast India Research Forum

Date of creation of the forum : 13th November 2004


Area: Science and Technology
Total number of members till date: 320

Moderators

1. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D. 2. Ashim J. Thakur, Ph.D.


Institute of Surface Chemistry, Royal Chemical Science Dept, Tezpur University,
Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden Tezpur, Assam
< arindam_tsk@yahoo.com > < ajtthax@yahoo.com >

3. Utpal Borah, Ph.D. 4. Khirud Gogoi, Ph.D.


Dibrugarh University, Assam, India University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA
< utbora@yahoo.co.in > < khirudg@gmail.com >

Editorial Team of N.E. Quest

1. Debananda Ningthoujam, Ph.D. 2. Tankeswar Nath, Ph.D.


HOD, Biochemistry Dept. Jubilant Organosys Ltd.
Manipur University, Imphal, India Gajraula, UP, India
< tankeswar_nath@jubl.com >

3. Manab Sharma, Ph.D. 4. Shanta Laishram, Ph. D.


Australia, Dept of Pure Mathematics,
< mansharma123@yahoo.com > University of Waterloo, Canada
< shantalaishram@gmail.com >

5. Pranjal Saikia, Ph.D. 6. Pankaj Bharali, Ph.D.


Department of Chemistry, Gauhati University National Institute of Advanced
< psjorhat@yahoo.co.uk > Industrial Science and
Technology, Japan
< pankaj_rrlj@yahoo.co.in >

7. Sasanka Deka, Ph.D. 9. Ashim J. Thakur, Ph.D.


National Nanotechnology Laboratory, Lecce, Italy 10. Utpal Borah, Ph.D.
< ssdeka@gmail.com > 11. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D.

8. Abdul Wahab, Ph.D.


J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry,
ASCR, Prague, Czech Republic
< awahab22@yahoo.com >

Cover Page designed by : Panacea Studio, Pune


Logo designed by : Manab Sharma
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/northeast_india_research/
http://www.neindiaresearch.org/

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 72


Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 3, Issue 4, January 2010. 73