October 2, 2014
Somenath Mitra, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of chemistry and environmental science, has made extraordinary and consistent contributions to nanotechnology during his career at NJIT. Since arriving at NJIT in 1991, his research has steadily grown in funding, breadth, as well as national and international standing. His publication record has reached over 125 peer-reviewed journal articles and his research group has attracted national prominence in each of a number of areas including trace measurement and monitoring, nanotechnology and carbon tubes, and diverse applications ranging from solar cell technology to sea water desalination. Dr. Mitra runs the leading research group in the world working on the development of real-time trace measurement techniques, which is a field of utmost importance both commercially and in environmental monitoring. He also has developed a variety of air monitoring techniques for parts-per-billion-level measurements in ambient air and industrial stacks.
Dr. Mitra’s recent work in the area of microwave-induced carbon nanotube purification and functionalization has earned him a national reputation. The highly soluble nanotubes synthesized by this method will hasten their commercialization in areas from polymer composites to thin films and nanoelectronics. A related development for which he received significant recognition was the development of solar cells using carbon nanotube composites. The resulting organic solar cells can be painted on flexible substrates, even by using an inkjet process. His other inventions have been in the areas of sea water desalination and flexible batteries. With eight patents and five patents pending, Dr. Mitra is working on transitioning his discoveries to commercial readiness. He shared the 2009 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award from the New Jersey Council on Research and Development.
In addition to his accomplishments as a researcher and leader of his group, Dr. Mitra has also been an outstanding educator. He received the 2004 Outstanding Service to Graduate Education award from NJIT’s College of Science and Liberal Arts. He also maintains a high level of activity in service to the research community by chairing technical sessions at national and international scientific meetings, engaging in international collaborations, and reviewing grants and articles for an extensive list of funding agencies and technical journals.