Meet Anmol

Anmol, a graduate in chemistry, is a first year PhD student at the University of Manchester working under the supervision of Dr. Ashok Keerthi. Her work focuses on developing the solution-state bottom-up synthesis of multi-edge graphene nano ribbons with precise edge-engineering approaches. Her research work focuses on transition metal mediated synthesis and modification of nucleosides and significant biological molecules

Discovering the researcher within
Some minds are just passionately curious and for such people, getting into a PhD program happens organically. What is your story?

I strongly believe that the turning point in my career was my bachelor’s project in 2016 at Acharya Narendra Dev College, University of Delhi. In our University, Bachelor’s project was not a compulsion so I rather decided to enjoy my vacations. But fate had some other plans. One of my friends who wanted to do a project contacted me to help her make a team. Even though I was not very keen on the project, I decided to go for it because of my love for Delhi. Initially, I thought that the entire project would be carried out at my university. However, to my surprise, the project took place in CSIR-IGIB, New Delhi. This place allowed me to work with some eminent researchers and advanced equipment which were completely new to me and this fascinated me a lot. This was the first major research facility I ever visited, and I can never forget it.

The Big Picture
What challenges are driving your research within that larger question? How is your research making an original contribution to your field?

Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs), a ribbon-shaped cut-out of graphene with nanometre-scale widths, have attracted much attention due to their unique optoelectronic and thermoelectric properties, and have been recognized as a promising material for next-generation electronics. Their properties, such as chemical stability, optical absorption and emission, chargecarrier mobility, and spin state, heavily depend on their geometrical features such as edge structure, width, and length. My project aims to develop the solution-state bottom-up synthesis of multi-edge GNRs with precise edge-engineering approaches. Further functionalization of GNRs with various chemical moieties will be explored. Self-assembly and supramolecular properties of these graphene nanostructures will be studied in detail and devices will be fabricated to understand the edge dependent electronic properties.




Science in lockdown
Across the globe, COVID-19 has curtailed academic research to great extent with research laboratories shuttered and fieldwork largely suspended. How was your experience? What are the lessons learned during this period?

I still remember getting an e-mail on 14th March 2020, regarding the closure of the University for 15 days to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and my master’s lab was shut the same day. I had my plans that I wanted to execute and it has to be delayed. The next task was to find a suitable Ph.D. position in the mid of a global pandemic when international fundings were cut short. I joined Dr. Keerthi’s lab on 21st September 2021 and believe me it felt amazing after getting back to work after so long.

Life outside of work
Having a healthy work-life balance is imperative that takes care of the overall wellness of the individual and boosts one’s productivity. Is there such a thing as work-life balance for a research scholar? How do you motivate yourself to keep going?

I believe that personal life is equally important as professional life. We feel satisfied when we do well, both personally and professionally. That’s why I prefer to take off on weekends and catch up with my friends. I am very much attached to my family, talking to them makes me feel more energetic. I make sure to call them in the morning and start a new day with new hope.

Compiled by
Piyushi Nautiyal,
Science communication and Outreach Manager, India UK ISCC