Functional Materials Research Laboratory (FMRL)

"Designing multifunctional materials for an efficient optical, electrical, magnetic, energy storage, photovoltaic and biological applications”

Functional Materials Research Laboratory (FMRL) was established in June 2021 at Sri Sairam Engineering College, Chennai to promote innovation and to build up Functional Materials. Functional materials are a group of engineered and advanced materials such as Molecular crystals, Semiconductors, Polymers and Nanomaterials that are synthesized and designed for some unique function with tailor-made properties. The research on their characterization will give significant contribution for future technologies.

Therefore our research work mainly focuses on the Crystal growth, Nanomaterials, Thermoelectric, Photovoltaics, Ceramics, Polymers, Optical materials, Magnetic materials, Mechanical shock wave treatment and Biomaterials.

The FMRL Lab gains more consideration due to its diverse field of research with large volume of publications in functional materials. The Prime Goal of FMRL is to develop unique materials for various optical, electronic and magnetic devices.

About the FMRL Laboratory Head

Name : Dr. N. Sivakumar
Email :
Ph.D : University of Madras

Dr. N. Sivakumar is an Associate Professor and head of Functional Materials Research Laboratory (FMRL), Sri Sai Ram Engineering College. He completed UG degree from Aringar Anna Govt. Arts College, Villupuram (Thiruvalluvar University) in the academic year 2004-2007 with University Rank. He received class topper award for PG degree from Presidency College (University of Madras) in May, 2009. He started his research in crystal growth in 2011 and has successfully completed Ph.D degree in 2015.

He has 14 years of experience in research and has published about 55 research papers in the reputed peer reviewed Journals. Presented his research outcome in many national and international conferences and attended many scientific events like seminars and workshops. His research publication reveals his expertise in growth of 2D single crystals. He has wide knowledge in growing crystals by many growth techniques like slow cooling, unidirectional growth and melt growth methods.

At present he is focusing on developing functional materials for various applications including Supercapacitors, solar cells and laser devices. He has 14 years of experience in teaching as a Guest lecturer as well as Assistant Professor in the department of Physics. During his teaching tenure, he has co-ordinated events like guest lecturers, project expo, IRP awareness program and national and international conferences. His academic and research work will sound his knowledge in both the fields.

Dr. N. Sivakumar has received Dr. R. Gopalakrishnan National Award for Best thesis in crystal growth from Indian Association for Crystal Growth in the year 2018, during the National Seminar on Crystal Growth held at Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, Tamil Nadu. He has completed Postdoctoral Research work during the year 2017-2020 awarded by University Grants Commission (Dr. S. Kothari Postdoctoral Fellow), Government of India. He has also received a research grant from Department of Science and Technology (DST-TARE) in 2021 and collaborating with various international institutions such as King Sadu University (Saudi Arabia), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS, Japan) and Institute of Low Temperature and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland). He is a life member of Indian Association for Crystal Growth (IACG), Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) and member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).



Currently we have three ongoing funded research projects and applied for more grants in some funding agencies to support the doctoral students.

Sl.NoTitle of the projectPositionFunding AgencyDurationStatus
1Development of novel 2D organic−inorganic hybrid halide perovskite materials for efficient Photovoltaic applicationsPrincipal InvestigatorDST-TARE, Delhi.
(Rs. 18,30,000/-)
3 Years
(Dec.2021-Nov. 2024)
2Researchers Supporting Project (RSP-2021/78)Principal InvestigatorKing Saud University
(Rs. 50,000/-)
Long term
3Investigation of novel ABC ternary polycrystalline materials for microwave dielectric applicationsPrincipal InvestigatorUGC-DAE CSR
(Rs. 1,35,000/-)
3 Years
(April 2022-March 2025)
4Researchers Supporting Project (RSP-2023R/78)Principal InvestigatorKing Saud University
(Rs. 50,000/-)
Long term


Peer reviewed Scopus/SCI indexed international publications of our FMRL Lab has certified our position on the worldwide.


Box Furnace

What is this? Furnaces are used to provide continuous heating to process samples and materials. They are generally built from carbide steel material so that they can maintain high temperatures without breaking down. Research furnaces are mainly used to study the structural nature of the materials at variable temperature.

Specifications: Temperature: 1200 ºC, Maintained environment, Programmable control panel, 16 segment

Research Focus: Preparation of Inorganic compounds, Heat treatment process on various nanocomposite and bone materials.


What is this?  It is used in the Process of applying sound energy through an ultrasonic bath or an ultrasonic probe to agitate particles in a sample material. It is used in academic, clinical and forensic laboratories that need to disintegrate cells, bacteria, spores or tissue.

Specification: Operated up to 60 ºC, 230 V, 15 Amps. 

Research Focus: Prepared Nanomaterials can be dispersed in to well defined particles which will be highly helpful in taking SEM/TEM photographs. It is also useful in the synthesis of nanocomposites.

Fume Cupboard

What is this? A fume cupboard is a ventilation apparatus designed to remove hazardous or toxic vapors, fumes, and dusts outside the laboratory. This type of laboratory equipment is designed to protect workers or researchers from inhaling toxic gases while protecting the product or the experiment.

Specification:  18 Inches height, 2 exhaust fan motors. 

Research Use: It is used in synthesizing organic and inorganic crystals, perovskites, nanocomposite.  It is also used in temperature dependent synthesis and reflux processes.

Constant Temperature Bath with cooling

What is this? Constant temperature bath (CTB) is used to perform certain chemical reactions which occur at high temperature. It is highly preferred to use for flammable chemicals in order to prevent ignition.

Specification: Temperature range from 20 to 60 ºC, Temperature controller and in/out water circulation.

Research Use: For the growth of single crystals, constant temperature should be maintained throughout its growth period. Temperature uniformity in and around the mother solution is more important in crystal growth to avoid secondary nucleation. By using CTB, slow evaporation as well as slow cooling process can be applied for the growth of crystals. 

Hot Air Oven

What is this? :  A hot air oven is essential laboratory equipment that uses to dry heat (hot air) to sterilize laboratory components and samples. This type of sterilization is also known as dry heat sterilization.

Specification: Temperature range from room temperature to 200ºC along with a temperature controller.

Research Use: It is used to synthesize Inorganic Nanomaterials and Magnetic powders. It is also used in various low temperature heat treatment processes. It uses to sterilize laboratory components and samples.

Hydrothermal Autoclave

What is this? :  The Hydrothermal Autoclave is used for hydrothermal reaction process at high pressure and high temperature. It is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or Teflon lined hydrothermal autoclave. It consists of two parts; outer high-quality stainless steel jacket and inner Teflon liner or Teflon chamber. In the Teflon-lined autoclave, the reaction is carried out at maximum 240 ºC. However the safe temperature is 200 ºC. This apparatus is widely used in the scientific laboratory, research and development labs, quality analysis section in industries and institutional organizations.

Specification: Operating temperature: ≤ 240 °C, Safe temperature limit: 200 °C, Pressure: ≤ 3 MPa, Heating/Cooling Rate: ≤5 °C/min.

Research Use: It is used to synthesize Inorganic Nanomaterials and Magnetic powders. It is also used in various low temperature heat treatment processes.


We are actively working on various research fields such as Crystallography, Crystal growth, Nanomaterials, Solar cells, Thermoelectrics, Ceramics, Spectroscopy and DFT calculations, Thermal kinetics approaches and Biomaterials for the development of advanced functional materials and their potential use.


The ORTEP molecular structure of the Thiourea Silver (I) Nitrate crystalline compound, showing displacement ellipsoids drawn at 30% probability level. H atoms are removed for structure clarity.

We are synthesizing Organic and Inorganic crystalline materials at FMRL Lab using solution process, mechanochemical synthesis method and solid state reactions. Synthesized materials are purified by repeated recrystallization processes and are subjected to single crystal X-ray diffraction study. The collected diffracted data will be analyzed and solved the crystal structure solved by directed methods (SHELXL-97) and refined by a full matrix (SHELXL-97) least square procedure.

Crystal Growth

Growth of single crystals is considered to be the pillars of advanced technology. “Who dominated, materials dominated technology”. To expedite research interest in crystal growth, it demands deep knowledge of science and technology since single crystals have vital importance in the technological world. Crystal growth never has an independent individuality and is the part of crystallography until few centuries back.

Many single crystals play vital role in important areas of service to the humanity, namely science, medicine, engineering, technology, defence and space science. In addition to above, crystals are mainly used in piezoelectric, photo-refractive, acousto-optic, electro-optic, photo-elastic applications. Crystals also have importance in radiation detectors, transducers, laser hosts, harmonic generators, parametric amplifiers, Bragg cells, etc. Thus the above mentioned developments could be achieved only by the availability of single crystals like silicon, germanium, gallium, gallium arsenide and growth of new nonlinear optical organic, inorganic and semi-organic single crystals.

Solution Growth
Solution Growth

Solution Grown single crystals grown at FMRL Laboratory

Solution growth is a simple, cost advantage method for the production of technologically important single crystals. It is the most widely used technique for the growth of crystals, when the starting materials are unstable at high temperatures. This method mainly depends on the solubility of solute on the thermodynamical conditions like temperature, pressure and solvent concentration. Hence, this method is adopted for the materials having moderate to high solubility in the temperature range from RT to 100 °C at atmospheric pressure. Bulk sized single crystals having high solubility with respect to the temperature, can be grown from solution growth.

Melt Growth

Cut-Polished (a) LaFeO3 and (b) LaSrFeO3 Single Crystals using optical floatingzone method

Melt growth is the process of crystallization of fusion and resolidification of the pure material from a melt by cooling the liquid below its freezing point. In this technique, apart from possible contamination from crucible materials and surrounding atmosphere, no impurities are introduced in the growth process and the rate or growth is normally much higher than possible by other methods. Melt growth is commercially the most important method of crystal growth.


(a & b) development of LaFeO3 nanoparticles on rGO layers in 5 µm scale and

(c & d) spherical morphology of LaFeO3 nanoparticles on rGO layers in 2 µm scale


Nanotechnology is the general term for designing and making materials which depends on specific structure at the nanoscale  (100 nm or less). It includes devices or systems made by manipulating individual atoms or molecules, as well as materials which contain very small structures. They may be in the form of particles, tubes, rods or fibers. The materials in the form of nano scale shows improved physico-chemical properties than that are in the in the bulk form.

Spectroscopy and DFT Calculations

(a) DOS spectrum and (b) HOMO-LUMO DFT diagram of Acetoxy derivative molecule

Spectroscopy is a potential tool for studying the structures of atoms and molecules. The large number of wavelengths emitted by these systems makes it possible to inspect their structures in detail, including the electron configurations of ground and various excited states. Spectroscopy also provides a precise analytical method for finding the constituents in material having unknown chemical composition. In a typical spectroscopic analysis, concentration of a few parts per million of a trace element in a material can be detected through its spectrum.

Density functional theory (DFT) is a quantum-mechanical (QM) computational method used in chemistry and physics to calculate the electronic structure of atoms, molecules and solids. The real forte of DFT is its favourable price/performance ratio compared with electron-correlated wave function-based methods such as Møller–Plesset perturbation theory or coupled cluster. Thus, more relevant molecular systems can be studied with sufficient accuracy, thereby expanding the predictive power inherent in electronic structure theory. As a result, DFT is now by far the most widely used electronic structure method. The huge importance of DFT in physics and chemistry is evidenced by the 1998 award of the Nobel Prize to Walter Kohn ‘for his development of the density-functional theory’.

Thermal kinetics Approaches
Thermal kinetics Approaches

(a) TG, (b) DTG and (c) DTA curves of Phenyl derivative molecule at different heating rates (5, 10 and 15 ºC min-1).

Methods of thermal analysis and their kinetic models are most widely used in almost all the branches, from foods and pharmacy to materials, glasses and polymers where changes in thermal activities of the sample are monitored under different temperature conditions like controlled heating and cooling atmospheres. We are focusing research work on the thermal kinetic studies to understand the fundamental characteristics of materials as well as their large range of utility in quality control, improvement and research in industry and academia.

Bone materials
Bone materials

SEM Photographs of human bones sintered at different temperatures ranging from 250 to 750 ºC.

Bone is a composite of proteins such as collagen and minerals such as calcium. Together these materials give bone a unique combination of strength and elasticity. We at FMRL Lab studying the effect of temperature on human bone in order to understand their structure, porosity, strength, thermal stability and mechanical stabilities.

National Collaborators

IITM, Chennai

CLRI, Chennai

IGCAR,   Kalpakkam

Anna University,  Chennai

National Physical Laboratory,  New Delhi

Delhi University, New Delhi

The University of Burdwan, West Bengal

Kakatiya University, Warangal

SSN Engineering College, Chennai

VIT University, Vellore

Presidency College, Chennai

Pachaiyappa  College,  Chennai

Loyola College, Chennai

Queen Mary’s  College,  Chennai

International Collaborators

National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Japan

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Institute of Low Temperature and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

National Isotope Centre, GNS Science, New Zealand

Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

King Saud University, Saudi Arabia



Saveetha Dental College and Hospitals, SIMATS, Chennai, India

Service Platform/Consultancy

FMRL Instrument Consultancy

FMRL encourages Sairam College residents and outsiders for sample analysis. Payment for the sample analysis is made online through NEFT or DD. Researchers are encouraged to send their samples, along with payment information, to the following address

Contact Person

Dr. N. Sivakumar
FMRL Lab Head
Functional Materials Research Laboratory (FMRL)

Sri Sai Ram Engineering College
West Tambaram
Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600044

Phone: 044-2251 2220/2221
Mobile: 8807337714

Account Details
Bank Name City Union Bank
Account Name Sairam Industrial Consultancy
Account Number 50010101298376
Branch Poonthandalam
IFSC Code CIUB0000634
MICR No. 600054125

Charges: Outside samples: Rs.400/- per sample (from RT to any desired 3 temperatures up to 150 °C)
Note: For more than 4 temperatures, need to pay Rs. 100/- extra per temperature

Impedance Analyzer –LCR Meter

Instrument: Impedance Analyzer
Specification: HIOKI IM3536 LCR Meter
Year of installation: June, 2023.
Frequency Range: 50 Hz to 6 MHz
Temperature Range: Room temperature to 150 °C
Functions: L, C, R (ac), Q, tan delta, impedance, phase – Series or Parallel circuit

About Instrument and its applications

The impedance analyzer (HIOKI IM3536 LCR Meter) is designed to study the dielectric properties of the samples in the frequency range from 50Hz to 6MHz in the temperature range from Room temperature to 150°C. The impedance data contains Tan δ, Impedance (z), Cp, Rp, Rdc,  Lp, Cs, Rs, Ls, Q-factor (Q), Reactance, Admittance, Conductance, Susceptance, phase from which dielectric parameters such as dielectric constant, loss, complex permittivity, conductivity and  resistivity can be obtained.

Sample Requirements:

  1. Powder samples should be pelletized (Specifications: dia. ≈10 mm & Thickness ≈5 mm).
  2. Crystals with dimension (Specifications: Length ≈10 mm, Breadth ≈10 mm, thickness ≈5 mm) should be polished in all the sides.
  3. Samples will not be returned.
FMRL Lab Consultancy
FMRL laboratory offers consultancy services to the external Research Scholars (Full-time), Faculties (Part-time), Industries and UG/PG students of Science and Engineering. Charge details are as follows.
Duration 3 months 6 months 12 months
Fee (INR) Rs. 5,000 /- 10,000 /- 20,000 /-
  • Only limited slots can be booked.
  • Send the soft copy of your project proposal duly signed by the Supervisor or Head of Department to
  • Requisition form must be submitted based on the acceptance of the proposal.
  • Additional charges will be collected for chemicals and glassware’s (if needed).

Program offered by FMRL

Research Internship Training Program (RITP)
FMRL Laboratory of Sri Sai Ram Engineering offers Research Internship Training Program (RITP) for UG/PG/Ph.D. candidates of science (Physics/Chemistry/Materials Science/Nanomaterials/Engineering students of MECH, ECE, EEE, EIE).
  • To acquire hands on training on the equipment’s
  • To learn basics of the equipment’s for synthesis
  • To develop practical knowledge
  • To understand the basic synthesis process of functional materials
  • To know the real use of the testing instruments

Course Duration: 15 days (6 months once)


  • Only limited seats are available. Book your seats through e-mail (
  • You can do the payment process after receiving the conformation mail.
  • Certificate will be provided to all the selected participants.


Sri Sai Ram Engineering College offers research program for eligible candidates to get Ph.D. in Physics under various fields of research such as Nanomaterials, Crystal growth, Solar cells, Thermoelectrics, Ceramic materials. Sri Sai Ram Engineering College provides a fellowship of Rs. 20,000 per month to the research scholars. The Ph.D. selection procedure follows the norms of Anna University.

Admissions to Ph.D. programs with the recognized Research Centre’s at all affiliated colleges are made by Centre for Research, Anna University, and Chennai twice a year. Aspiring research scholars are expected to get in touch with the recognized supervisors associated with the research centers to fix a tentative research topic and obtain their consent for being a supervisor to the applicant.

Post-graduate and undergraduate students satisfying suitable eligible criteria can apply for the Doctoral Research Program twice a year (for the odd-semester and even-semester) through Anna University Portal ( The Anna University portal gives the details of the academic credentials to be fulfilled by the candidates to apply for the same.

Contact details

Dr. N. Sivakumar,
FMRL Lab Head

Functional Materials Research Laboratory (FMRL),
Sri Sai Ram Engineering College,
West Tambaram,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600044.

Phone: 044-2251 2220/2221
Mobile: 8807337714