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Scientific Contributions of Prof. S. Asokan

The most significant contributions of Prof. S. Asokan are in the area of glass science & technology and also in Instrumentation. His pioneering and sustained research over the last two decades has led to the better understanding of the influence of the local structure on various properties of chalcogenide glassy semiconductors. Particularly, he has made seminal and perhaps most beautiful contribution in glass science, by unraveling the role played by network topological thresholds on the electrical, thermal and optical properties of chalcogenide glasses. In fact, his earlier work two decades ago, provided the first direct experimental evidence for the existence of topological thresholds in chalcogenide network glasses.

One of the most fascinating properties of chalcogenide glasses, having technological relevance, is their ability to switch between insulating and conducting states at a critical voltage. Non-Volatile Random Access Memories (NVRAMs), based on the phenomenon of electrical switching in glassy chalcogenides, are being considered recently as a possible replacement for conventional flash NVRAMS. The main advantages of chalcogenide phase change memories is their direct write/overwrite capability, lower voltages of operation, large write/erase cycles, easiness to integrate with logic, etc. Through his thorough investigations, Prof. Asokan has arrived at a deeper understanding of the technologically important phenomenon of electrical switching. His exhaustive research work has also brought out clearly, the correlation between the switching behavior and other materials properties of chalcogenide glasses. In particular, his recent work has shown for the first time the microscopic structural origin of electrical switching. Further, based on his work, he has also suggested a new glassy system which has better performance characteristics compared to the commercial glass used in the fabrication of memory devices.
Another important contribution of Prof. Asokan is in the indigenous development of scientific instruments. He has designed and developed many instruments such as high pressure systems for electrical studies; photo-acoustic, photo-pyroelectric & photo-thermal deflection systems for the measurement of optical & thermal properties; microwave histo-processor for pathological investigations, etc.

Prof. Asokan’s recent research on the development of newer techniques for monitoring strains using fiber optic sensors, has addressed the important national need of developing integrated systems for structural health monitoring of aircrafts, ships, etc. This work has an immediate relevance to both defence and civilian applications. He is also involved in the development for a fiber optic sensor system for underwater application including tsunami sensing, which is noteworthy.
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