RMIT's pioneering researcher in the fields of materials and metallurgy receives the most prestigious scientific award of the Middle East from the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in Iran.
Distinguished Professor Suresh Bhargava, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (International) in the College of Science, Engineering and Health is among one of the nine Laureates of the 2016 Khwarizmi International Award (KIA) from the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in Iran.
The annual award recognises researchers, innovators and inventors from around the world for their achievements and contributions to science and technology.
Bhargava received the award, which is named after the 8th century mathematician and astronomer Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Musa Khwarizmi, for his outstanding invention in the field of materials and metallurgy.
As Director of the RMIT Centre for Advanced Materials and Industrial Chemistry, Bhargava leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers in the fields of industrial chemistry, materials chemistry and software engineering.
The team focuses on research in the field of environmental remediation technology and advanced materials allowing materials scientists, nanotechnologists and applied scientists with industrial experience to undertake ambitious research projects from conception to real-world implementation.
Bhargava and his team have developed a patented sensor technology for measuring mercury levels within alumina refinery processes and effluent streams in partnership with the resources sector.
"The sensor utilises quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) technology patterned with patented gold nanostructures that performs with the sensitivity, selectivity, dynamic range and recovery required for monitoring mercury within alumina refinery processes", said Bhargava.
"The toxicity of mercury, as a common environmental pollutant, remains a threat to all living organisms as it can bio accumulate in the food chain."
"Current mercury sensor technologies employed by many industries have cross-sensitivity issues as they are based on ultraviolet spectroscopy techniques.
"This nanotechnology-based innovative technology overcomes these issues without compromising sensitivity by using a specially designed nano-engineered surface developed through novel electrochemical protocols."
This breakthrough technology has now been licensed for commercialisation and has provided an innovative platform for creating solid and sustainable global research partnerships to improve and advance science and technology in Australia as per the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.
"As a passionate advocate of the application of technological science and engineering designed to underpin significant industrial applications, I actively support the measures in the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
"In this day and age innovations play an important role in everyday life. So the scientists should do their best to translate their research into innovation."
Bhargava has published over 335 International peer-reviewed journal articles, 8 Book Chapters, 13 cover page articles, and has a total of 7,200 citations with an h-index of 40.
Story: Petra van Nieuwenhoven