Pradeeps work is in the area of molecular materials and surfaces.
His group found that noble metal nanoparticles degrade halocarbons efficiently to amorphous carbon and metal halides at room temperature and at low concentrations. This discovery has led to the worlds first nanochemistry based water filter for pesticide removal as many pesticides of relevance are halocarbons. This technology is estimated to have reached about 7.5 million people. His group developed several technologies to remove other contaminants from drinking water. Combining several such materials, an all-inclusive affordable drinking water purifier has been developed. Exciting aspect of this technology is the creation of advanced materials by simple and environment-friendly methods. This technology, named AMRIT, is being implemented now in the arsenic affected regions of India. About 600,000 people have been benefitted from these installations. Several other drinking water technologies have been rolled out from his lab. To take such technologies forward, four companies been incubated with the participation of IIT Madras. This activity is now being expanded globally.
A large part of his recent research is on atomically precise clusters of noble metals. His group discovered several new clusters called quantum clusters or nanomolecules. These have been used for diverse applications ranging from luminescent labels to metal ion sensors. Very recently his group has shown that such small pieces of matter behave like simple molecules, in their chemical reactions between each other. To account for their unique properties, including reactions, a nomenclature system has been introduced. They are named as aspicules, meaning shielded molecules.
His group discovered new methods to transform ions to novel materials. Several new phenomena have been discovered using such materials. His group introduced new methods to create ions in air and developed mass spectrometric techniques using them.
His group studied the dynamics of monolayers in monolayer protected nanoparticles and showed that monolayers existed in a rotationally frozen state on nanoparticle surfaces. His group found a 'transverse electrokinetic effect' in which a potential is generated on nanoparticle assemblies anchored on surfaces, when a liquid is flown over them. His group also discovered that in the presence of metal nanoparticles, single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) bundles emit light in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, irrespective of whether it is metallic or semi-conducting.
He and collaborators showed that equilibrium constant of the prototypical proton transfer reaction, NH3 + HClNH4Cl, is orders of magnitude lower on ice. Most recently he found that diffusion of chemically similar molecules through ultra thin ice films exhibits several surprises. A new structural transition on the top-most layers of ice surfaces has been discovered at low temperatures. His group showed that 1 eV proton collisions at water ice surfaces make dihydrogen cation. From all these, it is clear that ultra-low energy ion collisions at ice surfaces manifest several surprises.
1980 - 85 B.Sc., M.Sc. Calicut University
1986 - 91 Ph.D. Indian Institute of Science
1992 - 93 Post-doctoral fellow:
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
1993 Post-doctoral fellow:
Purdue University, Indiana