Professor Rahul Raveendran Nair is a Professor of Materials Physics and Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the National Graphene Institute and the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at the University of Manchester. He was awarded the University Research Fellowship in 2014 for exploration of new science and technology in novel layered materials, particularly graphene.
One of his main research themes are graphene based membranes and their applications. A group of scientists at The University of Manchester led by Nair have built on previous research on graphene-oxide membranes developed at the National Graphene Institute, developing graphene-oxide membranes which are able to sieve common salts out of salty water, making it safe to drink. This research has attracted significant media coverage, as this technology has the potential to revolutionise water filtration across the world, in particular in countries which cannot afford large scale desalination plants.
“Realisation of scalable membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale is a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology. This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.
The Royal Society University Research Fellowship allowed me to pursue independent research and collaborations in an early stage of my academic life and granted me the opportunity to focus more on my own research ideas, which was very vital for the success of this research.”