T. Pradeep

T. Pradeep

Institute Professor
Deepak Parekh Institute Chair Professor and
Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Chennai – 600 036, INDIA

Phone: +91-44-2257 4208
Fax: +91-44-2257 0509/0545
E.mail: pradeep@iitm.ac.in

Professor In-charge
International Centre for Clean Water (ICCW)
Website: iccw.world
Please watch this video to know more about ICCW

h­-index 92; h5-­index 58; citations ~39,602 (Google Scholar)​
h­-index 80; citations ~30,064 (SCOPUS)

Research Summary

Pradeep’s work is in the area of molecular materials and surfaces.

His group discovered that noble metal nanoparticles degrade halocarbons efficiently to amorphous carbon and metal halides at room temperature and at low concentrations. This discovery has led to the world’s first nanochemistry based water filter for pesticide removal as many pesticides of relevance are halocarbons. This technology is estimated to have reached about 9 million people. His group developed several technologies to remove other contaminants from drinking water. Combining several such materials, an all-inclusive affordable drinking water purifier has been developed. Exciting aspect of this technology is the creation of advanced materials by simple and environment-friendly methods. This technology, named AMRIT, is being implemented now in the arsenic affected regions of India. About one million people have been benefitted from these installations. Several other drinking water technologies have been rolled out from his lab.​ To take such technologies forward, four companies have been incubated with the participation of IIT Madras. This activity is now being expanded globally.

A large part of his recent research is on atomically precise clusters of noble metals. His group discovered several new clusters called quantum clusters or nanomolecules. These have been used for diverse applications ranging from luminescent labels to metal ion sensors. His group has shown that such small pieces of matter behave like simple molecules, in their chemical reactions between each other. To account for their unique properties, including reactions, a nomenclature system has been introduced. They are named as aspicules, meaning ’shielded molecules’.

His group discovered new methods to transform ions to novel materials. Several new phenomena have been discovered using such materials. His group introduced new methods to create ions in ambient air and developed mass spectrometric techniques using them.

His group studied the dynamics of monolayers in monolayer protected nanoparticles and showed that monolayers existed in a rotationally frozen state on nanoparticle surfaces. His group found a ’transverse electrokinetic effect’ in which a potential is generated on nanoparticle assemblies anchored on surfaces, when a liquid is flown over them. His group also discovered that in the presence of metal nanoparticles, single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) bundles emit light in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, irrespective of whether it is metallic or semi-conducting.

His group found that diffusion of chemically similar molecules through ultra thin ice films exhibits several surprises. A new structural transition on the top-most layers of ice surfaces has been discovered at low temperatures. His group showed that 1 eV proton collisions at water ice surfaces make dihydrogen cation. From all these, it is clear that ultra-low energy ion collisions at ice surfaces manifest several surprises. Very recently, his group showed that methane hydrate can be formed in extremely low pressure and low temperature conditions as in space.


  1. 1993

    Post-doctoral research

    Purdue University, Indiana
  2. 1992

    Post-doctoral research

    Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
  3. 1991


    Indian Institute of Science
  4. 1985

    B.Sc., M.Sc.,

    Calicut University


Molecular & nanoscale materials; nanoscience & nanotechnology; molecular surfaces; ion scattering; instrumentation; water purification

Other interests

Education, popular science in English and Malayalam, teaching aids


  1. 1993 - 1995
    Visiting Faculty
    IIT Madras
  2. 1995 - 2000
    Assistant Professor
    IIT Madras
  3. 2000 - 2003
    Associate Professor
    IIT Madras
  4. 2004
    IIT Madras
  5. 2010
    Senior Professor
    IIT Madras
  6. 2015
    Institute Professor
    IIT Madras (second person on campus to have this title)
  7. 2016
    Institute Chair Professor
    IIT Madras (one of the first such appointments)

Visiting assignments

Visiting Professor

Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea
University of Leiden, Netherlands, 2002 (two times)

Visiting Scientist

Purdue University, Indiana 1994, 1998
Institute of Chemistry, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Institute of Molecular Science, Okazaki, Japan
University of Hyogo, Japan

Short list

  • Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize
  • TWAS Prize in Chemistry
  • Padma Shri
  • Nikkei Asia Prize
  • Fellow of INSA, IASc., INAE, INASc., TWAS, AAAS, AAS, NAE (USA), Academia Europaea
  • JC Bose National Fellowship
  • IISc Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)
  • VinFuture Prize
  • Eni Award

Full list

  • National Talent Test Award 1975-78
  • Calicut University Merit Scholarship 1983-85
  • Indo-US Science and Technology Fellowship 1992-93
  • Rajiv Gandhi Award for Innovative ideas in Science and Technology, 1995
  • Young Affiliate of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 1996
  • Senior Fulbright Fellowship, 1998
  • Tamilnadu Scientist Award 2000
  • Materials Research Society of India Medal 2002
  • Young Scientist Award, Chemical Research Society of India, 2003
  • B.M. Birla Science Prize of 2000 awarded in 2003
  • Swarnajayanti Fellowship (Project) of the DST
  • Chemical Research Society of India Medal 2004
  • Fellow, Madras Science Foundation, 2005
  • Editorial board member of two journals in chemistry
  • Swadeshi Sastra Puraskaram – 2007, Swadeshi Science Movement of Kerala, part of Vignana Bharati
  • National Research Award in Nano Science and Technology by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, 2008
  • Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize in chemical sciences, 2008
  • Elected fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, 2009
  • Editorial Board Member of the journal, Nano Reviews 2010-
  • Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for Knowledge Literature 2010
  • Professor S. S. Deshpande National Award 2011
  • Editorial Board Member of the journal, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 2012-
  • International Editorial Advisory Board Member of the journal, Particle 2012-
  • International Editorial Advisory Board Member of the journal, Surface Innovations 2012-
  • India Nanotech Innovation Award 2012
  • Adjunct Professor, Institute of Life Sciences, Ahmedabad University 2013-
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, PSG Institute of Advanced Studies, Coimbatore 2013-
  • Elected fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, 2014
  • Member, Editorial Board of the journal, Chemistry – An Asian Journal, 2014
  • Associate editor, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2014
  • Member, Advisory Board of the journal, Nanoscale 2014
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, FRSC 2014
  • JC Bose National Fellowship 2015
  • Lifetime Achievement Research Award of IIT Madras 2015
  • Member, Editorial Board of the journal, Scientific Reports (Nature Group) 2015­
  • Elected fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, 2016
  • Elected fellow of The National Academy of Sciences, 2015
  • Member, Editorial board of International Journal of Water and Wastewater Treatment, 2015
  • Institute Chair Professor, 2016-
  • Deepak Parekh Institute Chair Professor, 2017-
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board of the journal, Chemistry of Materials, 2018-
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board of the journal, ACS Nano, 2018-
  • IITM Alumni Association Award for Faculty in Innovation, Chennai, Sep 29, 2018
  • The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Prize in Chemistry, 2018
  • Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2018-
  • Elected Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), 2018
  • Member, Advisory Board of the new RSC journal, Nanoscale Advances​
  • Member, Governing Council, Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC)​
  • Member, Research Advisory Council, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal
  • Member, Research Advisory Board (RAB), Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University
  • Padma Shri (the fourth highest civilian award in India), 2020​
  • Nikkei Asia Prize, 2020
  • Silver medal of the Chemical Research Society of India, 2020
  • Member, Advisory Board of ChemComm., 2020-
  • National Water Award, 2020
  • IISc Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2021
  • Vishwakarma Medal of the Indian National Science Academy, 2021
  • VASVIK Industrial Research Award, 2021
  • Laureate of the 10th edition of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), 2022
  • VinFuture Special Prize for Innovators from Developing Countries, 2022
  • Sastra-CNR Rao Prize in Materials Chemistry, 2023
  • Pran Nath Vohra Trust certificate of appreciation, 2023
  • Eni Award, 2023
  • International Excellence Award of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany and the Fellowship of SCHROFF Foundation, 2023
  • International Medal for Materials Science and Technology, MRSI, 2023
  • Gold Medal Award, Chirantan Rasayan Sanstha, 2024
  • International Member of the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE), 2024
  • Prof. M. V. Pylee award, 2024
  • Eminent Engineer Award of Engineering Council of India (ECI) 2023, awarded in 2024
  • Member, Academia Europaea, 2024

Research projects at hand

  • Thematic Project on Frontiers (TPF) of nano science and nanotechnology, DST, Rs. 580 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Thematic Unit of Excellence (TUE) on water purification using nanotechnology at IIT Madras, DST, Rs. 1081 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Soft ionization ion mobility mass spectrometry of atomically precise clusters of noble metals, Rs. 608 lakhs (principal investigator)

Important research projects completed

  • Quantum cluster solar cells, DST, Rs. 165.61 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Organized CNT-noble metal cluster conjugates, Indo-Korean project with Haiwon Lee, Rs. 40.1 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • DST Unit of Nanoscience Phase II, Rs. 555.5 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Chemistry at ice surfaces, DST, Rs. 450 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Metal nanoclusters for fluorescence, catalysis and heavy metal ion scavenging, DST and Academy of Finland, Rs. 40.5 lakhs (principal investigator) with Hannu Hakkinen and Robin Ras (principal investigators from Finland)
  • Tandem mass spectrometry and ion/surface collisions, Department of Science and Technology, Rs. 58.6 lakhs
  • Nanoscopic optical limiters, MIT, Rs. 29.5 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, DST, Rs. 105 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Molecular and ionic chemistry at ice surfaces, DST, Rs. 108.5 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Gold nanoparticles in drinking water purification, World Gold Council, 20 lakhs (Principal Investigator)
  • DST Unit of Nanoscience, DST, Rs. 1165.8 lakhs (principal investigator)
  • Field trials of drinking purification sachets, NanoHoldings, Rs. 20 lakhs (Research based industrial consultancy)

Instruments developed in the recent past

  • A state-of-the-art UHV ion scattering spectrometer with two mass spectrometers has been constructed. This is one of the very first of its kind to conduct studies on molecular surfaces at 10-11 torr.
  • An ultra-low evergy (1-10 eV) mass selected ion scattering instrument working in the range of 7-1000 K to study ice surfaces has been developed. The instrument is coupled with low energy sputtering, temperature programmed desorption and reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy. Recently, a thermal evaporator to deposit metals has also been added.

Selected Publications

  • Clathrate hydrates in interstellar environment, Jyotirmoy Ghosh, Rabin Rajan J. Methikkalam, Radha Gobinda Bhuin, Gopi Ragupathy, Nilesh Choudhary, Rajnish Kumar, and Thalappil Pradeep, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 116 (2019), 1526-1531 (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1814293116).
  • Rapid isotopic exchange in nanoparticles, Papri Chakraborty, Abhijit Nag, Ganapati Natarajan, Nayanika Bandyopadhyay, Ganesan Paramasivam, Manoj Kumar Panwar, Jaydeb Chakrabarti, and Thalappil Pradeep, Science Advances, 5 (2018), eaau7555 (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7555).
  • Approaching materials with atomic precision using supramolecular cluster assemblies, Papri Chakraborty, Abhijit Nag, Amrita Chakraborty and Thalappil Pradeep, Acc. Chem. Res., 52 (2019), 2–11 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00369).
  • Camouflaging Structural Diversity: Co-crystallization of Two Different Nanoparticles Having Different Cores But the Same Shell, Mohammad Bodiuzzaman, Atanu Ghosh, Korath Shivan Sugi, Abhijit Nag, Esma Khatun, Babu Varghese, Ganesan Paramasivam, Sudhadevi Antharjanam, Ganapati Natarajan and T. Pradeep, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 189-194 (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201809469)
  • Isomerism in supramolecular adducts of atomically precise nanoparticles, Abhijit Nag, Papri Chakraborty, Ganesan Paramasivam, Mohammad Bodiuzzaman, Ganapati Natarajan, and Thalappil Pradeep, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140 (2018), 13590–13593 (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b08767)
  • Atomically Precise Nanocluster Assemblies Encapsulating Plasmonic Gold Nanorods, Amrita Chakraborty, Ann Candice Fernandez, Anirban Som, Biswajit Mondal, Ganapati Natarajan, Ganesan Paramasivam, Tanja Lahtinen, Hannu Häkkinen, Nonappa, Thalappil Pradeep, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 57 (2018), 6522-6526 (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201802420).
  • Fullerene-Functionalized Monolayer-Protected Silver Clusters: [Ag29(BDT)12(C60)n]3– (n = 1–9), Papri Chakraborty, Abhijit Nag, Ganesan Paramasivam, Ganapati Natarajan, and Thalappil Pradeep, ACS Nano, 12 (2018), 2415–2425 (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b07759).
  • Organic solvent-free fabrication of durable and multifunctional superhydrophobic paper from waterborne fluorinated cellulose nanofiber building blocks, Avijit Baidya, Mohd Azhardin Ganayee, Swathy Jakka Ravindran, Kam Chiu Tam, Sarit Kumar Das, Robin H. A. Ras, and Thalappil Pradeep, ACS Nano, 11 (2017), 11091–11099 (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b05170).
  • Sequential dihydrogen desorption from hydride protected atomically precise silver clusters and the formation of naked clusters in the gas phase, Atanu Ghosh, Mohammad Bodiuzzaman, Abhijit Nag, Madhuri Jash, Ananya Baksi, Thalappil Pradeep, ACS Nano, 11 (2017), 11145–11151 (DOI:10.1021/acsnano.7b05406).
  • Unusual accumulation of silver in the aleurone layer of an Indian rice (Oryza sativa) landrace and sustainable extraction of the metal, Soujit Sen Gupta, Ananya Baksi, Priyabrata Roy, Debal Deb, Thalappil Pradeep, ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng., 5 (2017), 8310−8315 (DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b02058).
  • Interparticle reactions: An emerging direction in nanomaterials chemistry, K. R. Krishnadas, Ananya Bakshi, Atanu Ghosh, Ganapati Natarajan, Anirban Som, Thalappil Pradeep, Acc. Chem. Res., 50 (2017), 1988−1996 (DOI:10.1021/acs.accounts.7b00224).
  • Au22Ir3(PET)18 : An unusual alloy cluster through inter-cluster reaction, Shridevi Bhat, Ananya Baksi, Sathish Mudedla, Ganapati Natarajan, Venkatesan Subramanian, Thalappil Pradeep, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 8 (2017), 2787-2793 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b01052).
  • Manifestation of geometric and electronic shell structures of metal clusters in intercluster reactions, K. R. Krishnadas, Ananya Baksi, Atanu Ghosh, Ganapati Natarajan and Thalappil Pradeep, ACS Nano, 11 (2017), 6015-6023 (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01912).
  • Atomically precise clusters of noble metals: Emerging link between atoms and nanoparticles, Indranath Chakraborty and Thalappil Pradeep, Chem. Rev., 117 (2017), 8208-8271 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00769).
  • Confined metastable 2-line ferrihydrite for affordable point-of- use arsenic free drinking water, Anil Kumar Avula, Anirban Som, Paolo Longo, Chennu Sudhakar, Radha Gobinda Bhuin, Soujit Sen Gupta, Anshup, Mohan Udhaya Sankar, Amrita Chaudhary, Ramesh Kumar and Thalappil Pradeep, Adv. Mat., 28 (2016), 2827–2833 (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201604260).
  • Structure-conserving spontaneous transformations between nanoparticles, K. R. Krishnadas, Ananya Baksi, Atanu Ghosh, Ganapati Natarajan and Thalappil Pradeep, Nat. Commun., 7 (2016), 13447-13456 (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13447).
  • Cooking induced corrosion of metals, Soujit Sen Gupta, Ananya Baksi, Vidhya Subramanian and Thalappil Pradeep, ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng., 4 (2016), 4781–4787 (DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b00980).
  • Extraction of silver by glucose, Ananya Baksi, Mounika Gandi, Swathi Chaudhari, Soumabha Bag, Soujit Sen Gupta and Thalappil Pradeep, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 55 (2016), 7777-7781 (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201510122).
  • Cluster mediated crossed bilayer precision assemblies of 1D nanowires, Anirban Som, Indranath Chakraborty, Tuhina Adit Maark, Shridevi Bhat and Thalappil Pradeep, Adv. Mater., 28 (2016), 2827-2833 (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201505775).‬
  • Intercluster reactions between Au25(SR)18 and Ag44(SR)30, K. R. Krishnadas, Atanu Ghosh, Ananya Baksi, Indranath Chakraborty, Ganapati Natarajan and Thalappil Pradeep, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 138 (2016), 140–148 (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b09401).
  • Metallic nanobrushes made using ambient droplet sprays, Depanjan Sarkar, Maheswari Kavirajan Mahitha, Anirban Som, Anyin Li, Michael Wleklinski, Robert Graham Cooks and Thalappil Pradeep, Adv. Mater., 28(2016), ( DOI: 10.1002/adma.201505127).
  • Molecular ionization from carbon nanotube paper, Rahul Narayanan, Depanjan Sarkar, R. Graham Cooks and Thalappil Pradeep, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 53 (2014), 5936–5940 (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201311053)
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