Nanomaterials and Computational Materials Science

Research Theme


We are surrounded by materials; the cells in our bodies, the paint on the buildings we live and work in, and the components of our smartphones and computers are all examples of materials. Nanomaterials have unique properties derived from features arising out of their scale (1– 100 nm), which are features usually 500 to a 100,000 times thinner than the strand of the human hair.
The research group of Dr. Ammar Khan is working on one particular approach for material design called self-assembly, a process through which the building blocks of a material organize themselves, similar to how ice crystals emerge or thin quasicrystals are formed at interfaces. Their research will contribute to building better biological and chemical sensors. 

Dr. Muhammad Zaheer and the Catalyst Design Lab are modifying nanomaterials such as polymer-derived non-oxide ceramics (PDCs) that can hopefully be used in the process of producing renewable energy and removing pollutants from air and water.


Another extensive research direction is the ability to enhancing the longevity and repeated usability of catalysts. Catalysts, by definition are not consumed in the reaction, but in practice their catalytic properties are indeed degraded. 

Dr. Irshad Hussain and the Functional Nanomaterials Group, also mentioned earlier, have developed energy harvesting materials with the objectives of production of renewable energy or light-catalyzed splitting of water, which is important for producing hydrogen. The latter is called photocatalysis. Once the hydrogen is produced, Dr. Muhammad Zaheer is developing innovative ways to store hydrogen within frameworks of metals and organic materials.

Surprisingly, the cost of synthesis of expensive materials can be significantly reduced using computational methods. Dr. Zahra Ladkawala is exploring ways of characterization and generation of various materials using virtual material design (VMD) methodologies.

Dr. Zahra Lakdawala (Department of Mathematics)
Dr. Nauman Zafar Butt (Department of Electrical Engineering)
Dr. Muhammad Zaheer (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Dr. Ghayoor Abbas Chotana (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Dr. Ammar Ahmad Khan (Department of Physics)
Dr. Irshad Hussain (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Dr. Ali Rauf (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)
Dr. Salman Noshear Arshad (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering)

Research Groups