As the name indicates the specialty of the Department is in applying the knowledge of physics to solve real world problems. Some researchers in the Department are applying the most advanced technologies to solve the problems faced by all of us.
Most of the measuring instruments used today are electronic. A measuring instrument needs a device which can 'sense' changes in a physical quantity, like temperature, and convert that into electrical signals. Such a device is called a 'sensor'. K Rajanna, Asokan and J Nagaraju of the IAP are involved in developing new sensors and instruments. Asokan has played an important role in developing technologies for structural health monitoring of aircrafts and ships. He is also involved in developing fiber optic sensor systems for tsunami sensing. J Nagaraju has developed sensors for food quality assessment and non-invasive sensors for monitoring glucose.
Sanjiv Sambandhan and J Nagaraju work on developing technologies that have social relevance. According to Sanjiv Sambandhan, his Flexible Electronics Lab is motivated by the need to bring about socio-economic equality through technology. His lab has developed low cost, low power desalination and electronic water filtration systems. Sanjiv's student Ashwathi Nair won 'Gandhian Young Innovator Award 2013' fro her work on the water filtration system. J Nagaraju has developed solar hot water systems for industrial applications. He has also developed solar hot air systems for drying of agro products like tobacco, cotton seeds, copra, and chillies.
G Mohan Rao and J Nagaraju work thin films, which have become ubiquitous due their successful application in integrated circuit technology. In thin film solar cells, thin layers of a photovoltaic material are applied on a suitable base. Some of the materials used as thin films in existing solar cells are expensive, and some of them are even poisonous. J Nagaraju and his group is investigating the feasibility of copper zinc tin sulphide as a candidate for thin film solar cells. The material is inexpensive and non-toxic, and has promising applications in photovoltaic technology. G Mohan Rao studies thin films which can be used in making batteries. Thin film batteries can be a few millimeters thick.
Abha Misra and Jayanth G R are interested in things related to nanotechnology. Abha Misra has designed carbon based hybrid structures for hydrogen storage and energy conversion. Hybrid structures are obtained by combining organic and inorganic materials, and are known to have many interesting properties. Jatanth works on ‘nanometrology’, the science of measuring things at the nano scale.
Sai Siva Gorthi, Partha Pratin Mondal and R M Vasu work on technologies related to medical field. Sai Siva Gorthi develops indigenous and affordable flow cytometers. Flow cytometers are the that can measure the properties (like size, granularity) of a single cell. Flow cytometers are routinely used in medical research. Partha Pratin Mondal works on fluorescence microscopy. It is a type of microscopy in which the light emitted from the fluorescent specimen is used to construct an enlarged image of the specimen itself. Fluorescence microscopes are used to image particular features of small specimens such as microbes. R M Vasu develops algorithms which help in the diagnosis of cancer on the basis of optical and mechanical property changes.
A G Menon works on mass spectrometry, a method of measuring the the masses of molecules. Mass spectrometers are used to find the masses of biological molecules like proteins, peptides, and carbohydrates. N C Shivaprakash works on electrochromic rear view mirrors. Light transmitted through such mirrors caries with the application of voltage, light or heat.