Tiju Thomas 


Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering 

Indian Institute of Technology Madras 

Sardar Patel Road, Chennai 600036, Tamil Nadu, India 


I am Tiju Thomas, an Associate Professor at the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (Indian Institute of Technology Madras, IITM) in Chennai, India. 

Before coming to IITM, I was working as a Faculty Fellow at the Materials Research Center in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Prior to that I was on an industry-academia joint project involving University of Toronto, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Lumentra Inc. (a start up company, specializing in light emitting devices). Before that I was pursuing my graduate degrees (MS, PhD) at the School of Engineering in Cornell University. I was enrolled in an interdisciplinary program, which enabled me to work with electrical engineers, applied physicists and solid state chemists. These years, I think, informed much of my current research philosophy. Before leaving for Cornell, I was pursuing my masters (M.S (Engg.)) at the Theoretical Sciences Unit in Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Here is where I learnt the essentials of solid state sciences, which has stayed with me ever since. I am grateful to all my teachers and colleagues, from whom I continue to learn. 

In IITM, our group, the Applied Nanostructures Engineering and Nanochemistry research group focuses on developing compositionally complex oxides, oxynitrides and nitrides, and nanometals for achieving engineering ends. Problems concerning functional properties of materials (electrical and electronic, optical, magnetic; applied surfaces and interfaces) are of abiding interest to us. In particular solar energy harvesting, efficient light emission systems, and remediation materials have been the group's recent focus. Much of the science we do is easily extensible to sensor materials research as well. Eco-friendly, green engineering perspectives guide the synthetic chemical and fabrication routes that the group develops for fulfilling it goals. Furthermore correlations between synthesis, materials processes, and device performance is an increasingly common theme in the group's activities. Because of our inter-disciplinarity, we tend to work with students and collaborate with faculty members from very diverse backgrounds. In the recent past we have worked extensively with chemists, physicists, electrical engineers, chemical and polymer engineers, materials and metallurgical engineers, mechanical engineers. An "applied" approach to materials science makes this trans- and inter-disciplinary work possible. 

Research oriented students, with a sense of camaraderie and fellowship are welcome!

We are always happy to engage with students from any engineering, or science (chemistry, physics, applied mathematics) background. We currently have a diverse group, and will continue to be very diversity friendly. Students desirous of doing research in nanotechnology, complex and hybrid materials, functional ceramics, quantum nanostructures, and devices, are welcome to write to us. We always have problems that are of experimental and/or computational nature. We welcome you to write to us, explaining the skills you would like to work on, and the kind of project you would like to engage in. We will be happy to facilitate your growth, by being mindful of your background. 

About this website

Much of what I have written is with the aim of conveying the excitement of materials engineering and science, in a language that is accessible to people who have high school education. The website has my opinions strewn all over it, and these are meant to be just that: Opinions with a capital 'O'.

For the technical details provided, I owe all the responsibility. Please point out errors, if you find any. Suggested corrections, if found accurate, would be promptly and gratefully incorporated. And for the opinions expressed here; no one else bears any responsibility. Opinions about issues like the 'future of materials technology' and nanotechnology are all debatable, and you will find practitioners who think differently from me. Hence it is up to you to go beyond what is available here. In fact, I urge you to read up as much as possible on materials science. As you learn more about it, you will slowly start unravelling the beauty of the subject.

Here I will try to provide sufficient information about what I do, within the overall context of materials science. I will talk quite often about what I do, and what my terrific colleages and collaborators do. Regardless of your background, I hope you find some interesting take-home messages from these pages. I am interested in talking to you, whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, a doctorate, an industrialist, or an amateur scientist. I am always looking to learn new things. My interests are broad, to the point wherein you will be interesting to me, no matter what you do, and where you come from! 

Welcome to my space!