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Young Scientist Award for Dr. Senoy ThomasTop

              Magnetism is synonymous with human civilization. The discovery of lodestone in the present day Turkey is actually the foundation stone for modern magnetism. This only has lead to the adventurous expeditions of man and this lead to the discoveries of new continents. Magnetic materials are constantly contributing to make life more humane. Though magnetism is an age old phenomenon it is also a virgin area for scientists and engineers where new phenomenon based on magnetism is being invented on a day to day basis. New magnetic materials are the order of the day and this has collectively lead to many phenomenon like diluted magnetic semiconductors, spintronics, magnetic refrigeration, carbon magnetism etc. Magnetic materials find innumerable applications in a horde of devices ranging from rudimentary devices like door stoppers, door seals, transformers etc.

       The area of polymers is equally appealing to physicists. Polymer Physics is one such area where condensed matter and soft condensed matter Physics is bound to play an important role. The Magnetics Laboratory of the Department of Physics of Cochin University of Science and Technology is established with a view to carrying out research activities in the frontier areas of Magnetism, magnetic materials, polymers, polymer based devices and Polymer Physics.

         The mandate of this group is to work on materials such as nanomagnetic materials, magnetic nanocomposites, magnetic nanostructures and hybrid nanostructures based on carbon nanotubes, ultrafine ferrites, ferrofluids, amorphous magnetic materials, Colossal Magneto Resistance (CMR) materials, Conducting polymers and polymer-magnetic composites. Investigations on Magneto calorific effect (MCE) of various ferrites and synthesis of alloys for MCE applications are also under way.

         The magnetic and electrical properties of these materials are studied with the objective of understanding the underlying principles of physics and also for tailoring devices for applications. It is known that fine particles in the nano regime behave entirely different from their coarser sized counter parts. Hence emphasis is laid in studying the finite size effect on the electrical, structural and magnetic properties of nano magnetic materials. Stress is also laid in fabricating instruments in house and automating the same for measurement and control. Automation is carried out with the help of Virtual Instrumentation Package by National Instruments called Lab VIEW.

         A full fledged Magneto Optics (MO) Laboratory is also set up to study linear dichroism, birefringence and Magneto Optical Kerr Effect (MOKE) of ferrofluid thin films and layered magnetic thin films. Infrastructure facilities are also created to grow conducting polymer thin films.

         At present the technique of plasma polymerization is employed to deposit thin films on various substrates. An AC and RF plasma polymerization unit is available for this purpose (both home made). A metal coating unit is available for depositing electrodes and a chamber for annealing. The structural and electrical properties of these thin films are investigated and thin films based on Polyaniline, Polyfurfural and Polyanisidine are being subjected to various studies. Fabricating devices based on conducting polymers is another motivation for carrying out investigations on conducting polymer thin films.

         Let knowledge disseminate like the lines of force emanating from a magnet and make the field of magnetism ever attractive!!!