BK Spoorthi, who just completed her PhD at IIT Madras, looking at an experiment in progress
BK Spoorthi, who just completed her PhD at IIT Madras, looking at an experiment in progress(Pic: IIT Madras)

IIT Madras researchers show that Natural Minerals are broken by water droplets to form nanoparticles

Science, where this research paper was published, is considered to be one of the world’s top academic journals with articles that consistently rank among the most cited in the world

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras researchers have shown that common minerals can be broken by water microdroplets to make corresponding nanoparticles.

This is the first research paper from IIT Madras to be published in the prestigious Science journal.

Atmospheric water droplets such as clouds and fog can be charged due to ionic species present in them and by contact electrification. Disintegration of minerals make nascent surfaces and on such surfaces, different types of catalysis may occur, forming new molecules. These processes could be important in the origin of life.

The researchers says that ‘microdroplet showers’ composed of nanoparticles and molecules falling on Earth may be of importance to the chemical and biological evolution of the planet.

The research was led by Prof Thalappil Pradeep, Institute Professor, Chemistry Department, IIT Madras, a Padma Shri awardee, and BK Spoorthi, the first author of the research paper who has just completed her PhD from IIT Madras.

The computational work was done by Koyendrila Debnath under the advice of Prof Umesh V Waghmare of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru and President of Indian Academy of Sciences. The findings were published in the Science Journal issue dated May 31, 2024.