Page 49 - ScienceIndia Magazine March 2021
P. 49

        Laying the Foundation for a Fossil-fuel Free Society
Dr Indu Elizabeth’s work on anode materials for high-capacity Li-ion batteries won her the CSIR-Young Scientist Award (2020) in Engineering Sciences
n Science India Bureau
Dr Indu Elizabeth, the co-winner of the CSIR-Young Scientist Award (2020) in Engineer- ing Sciences, is working as a scientist in the Surface Engineering Division of CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bengaluru. Prior to this, she was working with the CSIR-National Physi- cal Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi.
Dr Elizabeth completed her PhD in Engineering Sciences (2018) from the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Ghaziabad, and worked towards the development of an- ode materials for high-capacity Li -ion batteries (LIBs). It must be noted that the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their invention of LIBs. Dr Elizabeth considers herself fortunate to be able to do her PhD in this exciting field, especially as these batteries have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society.
She was awarded the Prime Min- ister’s Fellowship for Doctoral Studies for her PhD. Her work was mainly to- wards the development of high-capacity free-standing anode materials based on multi-walled carbon nanotubes. In a conventional LIB, the graphite powder along with a binder is coated on a cop- per current collector and is calendared before using as an electrode in LIB. Dr Elizabeth, along with her team, devel- oped an anode material which could be used as such without the need of a cur- rent collector or a binder. This not only reduces the dead weight in the batteries but also adds flexibility to the anode. Metal nanoparticles like SnO2, Sb, Ni, etc. were embedded in the free-standing
Dr Indu Elizabeth
anode so that the specific capacity of the anode could be enhanced making it pos- sible to make high- capacity LIBs. An US patent has been granted for this work in June 2019. She has also been awarded “Best PhD thesis Award” by AcSIR and Indian Carbon Society for conducting outstanding research during her doc- torate. Her PhD supervisors were Dr S Gopukumar, Emeritus Scientist, CSIR- Central Electrochemical Research Insti- tute, Karaikudi, and Dr Bhanu P Singh, Principal Scientist, CSIR-National Physi- cal Laboratory, New Delhi.
As a part of CSIR’s societal program, Dr Elizabeth has contributed to the de- sign-fabrication of a low cost, portable rechargeable Solar Lantern based on LIBs for use in rural areas. She has also contributed to the technology transfer of the first indigenous Li-ion batteries to industries. She has devised and dem- onstrated a technique for conversion of bio-waste (prawn shell waste) into high- capacity anode materials for use in LIBs and Sodium ion batteries.
Dr Elizabeth is a recipient of several other awards like the IEI Young Engineer Award, seven Best Paper awards, one in- ternational Best Presentation award, and has delivered invited talks. She is also lifetime member of Metrological Soci- ety of India, Indian Carbon Society and Society of Physics and Functional Mate- rials. She has been recently granted the
Start-up Research grant from SERB (Sci- ence and Engineering Research Board), India, to carry out work on carbon based strain sensors for AI and Bio-medical ap- plications. Her other interest includes the development of corrosion sensor for real- time detection of corrosion in aircrafts.
Dr Indu is a rank holder in Elec- tronics and Communication Engi- neering from College of Engineering (CET), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. She has done her MTech in Advanced Material Physics and Engineering from CSIR-NPL, New Delhi. She went to Hill Blooms School, Mananthavady, Wayanad and was awarded the Merit Certificate from CBSE for the 0.1% top performers in board examinations.
Dr Elizabeth hails from Wayanad in Kerala. Her father Chackochan V is a retired professor and mother Lissy Maria is a retired teacher. She has two younger sisters. She is married to Binil Kuriachan, Senior Data Scientist at Mi- crosoft, and the two have a baby girl.

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