Many scientific, military, medical and commercial laser applications have been developed since the invention of the laser. There are many different types of lasers. The laser medium can be a solid, gas, liquid or semiconductor. Solid-state lasers have lasing material distributed in a solid matrix. Solid-state tunable dye laser materials can be developed by incorporating stable laser dye molecules into solid host matrices like polymers, silica gels, xerogels, ormosils and sol-gel glasses. The research of Rahul Tiwari, a second year BSc Physics and Mathematics student of R.D.S.H. National College, Mumbai, shows that a unique approach of embedding a laser dye Stilbene-3 (STB) in a solid host like sol-gel glass shows excellent spectroscopic properties that can have potentially wide ranging applications. He won the first prize in the discipline of Pure Sciences in the recently concluded State Level Inter University Research Convention, Avishkar, held at Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Nanded.
Right from his school days, Rahul was attracted towards science. He has been a district level champion and has won many certificates in research competitions during his schooling. He had made up his mind to participate in Avishkar when he came to know about it in his first year of BSc. Lasers and its working always fascinated him so he chose to research in this area. His study on solid state tunable dye laser materials revealed that Coumarin and Stilbene-3 (STB-3) laser dyes are very efficient for the spectral response in the blue-green region of the electromagnetic spectrum. While several laser dyes like Coumarin have been widely studied in various liquid and solid hosts, very few reports are available on photo-physical properties of STB-3 dye in solid host matrices. This led him to research on the Spectroscopic properties of STB-3 impregnated sol-gel solid samples.
It used to take Rahul over 7 days to prepare one proper sol-gel glass sample embedded with STB-3. It was quite a task to prepare a proper sample. Moreover, he had to discard 7 out of every 8 samples he created as they turned out to be unsuitable for his experiments. He prepared over 400 samples to get roughly 50 samples that were good for performing his experiments, doing the analysis, confirmation of results, etc. He found that samples prepared by sol-gel method have excellent optical, mechanical and structural properties and therefore it can be used as host matrices. He also observed that the dye embedded sol-gel glass samples showed excellent spectroscopic properties. He presented his study and report at the zonal level, district level and finally at the state level Avishkar finals representing Mumbai University.
Rahul feels Avishkar is a great platform for budding researchers. He got a chance to meet eminent scientists and professors who are masters of their field, share his experience and know their feedback and suggestions. He aspires to be an entrepreneur with his own manufacturing setup inline with Make in India campaign and continue to research and explore his work and its applications which will benefit mankind.
First of all, I would like to thank Mumbai university and R.D. & S.H National college (Physics Department) for sponsoring the event and giving me such a platform and then my guide Dr. Laxman Jathar and Dr. Milind Kulkarni for supporting me and having trust on me. I would also like to thank my friend Suraj Bherwani for helping in things related to computer.