2015 Moseley medal and prize

Dr Rahul Raveendran-Nair, University of Manchester, for his outstanding contributions to our understanding of the electrical, optical and structural properties of graphene and its sister compounds.

Dr Rahul Raveendran-Nair

Rahul Raveendran-Nair has made several outstanding contributions to graphene science and technology. These are remarkable achievements for an early-career researcher. Following research at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on Raman spectroscopy and field emission of carbon nanotube / polymer composites, Raveendran-Nair commenced his research at Manchester as a PhD student, followed by appointments there as a research associate, Leverhulme Fellow and Royal Society University Research Fellow. 

His research has led to several major contributions to the understanding of graphene science and its application in technology. A particularly important discovery was that graphene-based membranes, which are impermeable to helium atoms, are highly permeable to water. This discovery has led to great specialist and popular interest. 

A second remarkable discovery is that graphene, a single hexagonal array of carbon atoms, absorbs precisely πα = 2.3% of the light incident upon it over a wide range of optical wavelengths. Here α is the fine structure constant of electromagnetism.

In collaboration with Manchester colleagues, he also carried out high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and electron diffraction studies of freestanding graphene membranes, which elucidated the real space atomic structure of graphene. In more recent studies, he and his colleagues have shown that the controlled incorporation of defects into graphene induces magnetic behaviour, which provides the exciting possibility of using graphene as a material for spintronic and magnetic sensing applications.