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Dr. Supravat Karak, CES
Supravat Karak, Assistant Professor, Center for Energy Studies
Supravat Karak studied in Midnapore collegiate school in Midnapore district in West Bengal where many freedom fighters had also been educated. Patriotism came in him naturally at a very tender age. “The school housed tools and furniture used by freedom fighters. The whole environ in my school distilled patriotism. I knew that wherever life may take me, I will always serve my country,” the 32-year-old says.
His first brush with the excitement behind Physics experiments came when he carried out a pendulum experiment in grade 9. “I was awe struck by how an oscillating pendulum could move another pendulum because of non visible vibrations. As I delved deeper into it, my love for the subject grew.”
After a B.Sc in Physics from Midnapore College, Supravat went to IIT Kharagpur for a Masters. It was while registering for PhD at IIT Kharagpur under Prof. Achintya Dhar that he fleshed out a specialization for himself. “There were different kinds of plastics in Dr Dhar’s lab. He asked me its utility and all I could refer to was its insulating properties. It was here that I learnt how an insulator can also be a semiconductor.”
After five years of research on polymer solar cells, Supravat went to the University of Massachusetts, US in 2012 as an EFRC- post doctoral fellow. While doing his post doctoral he focused on studying the physics of the organic molecules and to make the molecules more energy efficient.
He then moved on to Nagoya University, Japan as a JSPS fellow where his research work focused on polymer and hybrid molecules for energy harvesting. While studying in Japan he got a chance to attend many international conferences but the desire to serve the country, something that he learnt from childhood took a front seat and he decided to come back to India. He joined IIT Delhi in October 2016.
Supravat believes in team work for resolving the energy crisis of the country.
“The young scientists who are working in this field should join hands not just producing papers but to produce a commercial product for the society. While working in USA and Japan I realized the importance of collaborative research.”
The challenge, he says is to produce clean and cost effective energy. “There is an abundance of sunlight in India and if we can convert the sunlight of one day into energy, it would be enough to meet our needs. But here lies the challenge.”
His current research is focused on fabrication and characterization of organic and hybrid molecule based photovoltaic devices and understanding the fundamental device physics of such new class of material systems to improve their performance both in terms of efficiency and lifetime. His long term goal is to investigate the intrinsic photocurrent and photo-voltage physics and determining the performance limitation of the material in question to achieve low-cost renewable energy through solar-to-electric power conversion
When he is not researching on plastic, Supravat likes to listen to old songs or sometimes even play with his one year child.