Discipline was introduced in 1982 with an endeavor of potentially using coordination metal complexes as homogeneous catalysts for environmentally and industrially important reactions utilizing gaseous molecules such as O2, N2 and CO. During 1982 to 1991, the discipline has contributed significant research output on the synthesis of metal complexes for reactions such as oxidation, epoxidation, hydroformylation at molecular level. These were documented in hundreds of publications in the journals of catalysis and inorganic metal complexes and several patents, which brought discipline recognition on international arena.
From 1992, the discipline spread its horizon on photo-catalysis and developing specialty inorganic materials for industrial application besides augmenting and diversifying the strength on metal complexes in particular on the design of chiral metal complexes. In late nineties with growing awareness on safety, green chemistry and environment, the discipline harnessed its skills and expanding the scope further to heterogeneous catalysis and adsorption with the defined focus comprising:
Currently, the discipline has independent expertise on synthesis of various inorganic materials such as clays, zeolites, metal oxides, hydrotalcites, carbonates, carbons, MOFs and functionalized inorganic metal complexes. The discipline is currently working on all spheres of catalysis namely homogeneous, heterogeneous and photo-catalysis. Hydrogenation, hydroformylation and asymemetric transformations such as epoxidation, nitration and amination are being carried out using homogeneous catalysis. Selective oxidation, alkylation, C-C bond forming reactions, acylation, esterification and isomerization are being done through heterogeneous catalysis. Degradation of organic dyes and organic compounds are being explored over modified photo-catalysts. The group also exploited wherever possible to heterogenize the homogenous complexes to derive the benefit of both words. The discipline has developed strengths and skills in the last decade on adsorptive separation and storage of gaseous molecules. The discipline has also made its inroads in the area of bio-renewables for fuels and chemicals and global warming by developing adsorbents for CO2 and CH4 and to develop catalytic methodologies for obtaining value added compounds from such molecules. The discipline collaborates with other national laboratories both inside and outside CSIR, academic institutions and industries on various areas mentioned above. The discipline currently has 14 scientists and more than 40 students.