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Statement Of Purpose._cornell





Vikram Thapar Field of Interest: Nanotechnology STATEMENT OF PURPOSE My objective for graduate studies is to have the highest qualification in Chemical Engineering from a renowned institution. I have nurtured a strong passion for becoming a scientist and pursuing research. In the pursuit of knowledge, I have always adopted a rigorous approach in order to attain an in-depth understanding of the subject at hand. I believe that I possess the motivation, intellectual ability and preparation to set out on this exhilarating and arduous path and to make significant original contributions in the field of Chemical Engineering. Having explored various areas in Chemical Engineering during my undergraduate years, I feel that Nanoparticles is my preferred area of research. PhD at Cornell University will be the first concrete step towards my goal of pursuing research career in that field. Right from my childhood, my inquisitive nature and a strong desire to ingrain the fundamental principles enabled me to excel in academics at every stage of my education. I consistently secured one of the top positions in my class throughout my education and was awarded with a Gold Medal for being district topper in CBSE All‐India Secondary School Examination. This not only motivated me to aspire for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), one of the best engineering colleges in India, but also has given me the confidence that I have the dexterity to be in the top notch even amongst the best. My passion for academics provided me with the fruitful results. Selection for the undergraduate program in the IIT Bombay, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) merit scholarship for my outstanding performance in All India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE) and Certificate of Appreciation from the Government of India are the list of scholastic achievements that clearly demonstrate my diligence and dedication for studies. My exposure to Chemical Engineering began after I entered the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. My thirst to acquire knowledge and to learn encouraged me to attend seminars and lectures, which helped me to explore the various fields in the Department. In my third year, I presented a home paper titled “Kinetic modeling of Wood Pulp” under the guidance of Prof. Sharad Bhartiya and it was regarded as one of the best in class. I did my summer training in Reliance Industries Ltd, a fortune-500 company, where I came across a challenging problem of “High fouling resistance in reboiler section of Distillation column”. It was a great learning experience for me where I developed creative thinking through brainstorming. I proposed new cost effective technique and designed reboiler using HTRI to reduce the effect of fouling. My work was highly valued and I got the Pre Placement offer. In the final stages of undergraduate days, extolment from my examiners for my unparalleled and novel work in engineering design project further strengthened my belief of pursuing research. After exploring the various areas in last 2 years of my graduation, I was still not sure about which field I should choose for further studies. Keeping long term goal in my mind, I took tough decision to decline the pre placement offer and opt for the position of Research Assistant (RA). An exciting course on crystallization and a series of lectures by Prof. K.C. Khilar on the industrial applications and scope of research in the field of Nanotechnology kindled my interest in the topic. In the start, I felt downhearted as I was unable to get the RA position under the Professor who was working in the field of Nantechnology. But, my love for research and inspiration from my idol Swami Vivekananda gave me the strength to fight these backslidings. This strong feeling of "Never to Give Up" had provided me the RA position in the field of my interest. My first tryst with Nanoparticles happened under the guidance of Prof. K.C. Khilar, who gave me great latitude in choosing my own research topic. I spent about two months on literature survey and came up with the topic of Nanoparticles in Photovoltaics. I then realized that research was not just about problem solving, but also problem identification and formulation. Intrinsic n-type ZnO semiconductor which has versatile applications in Photovoltaics was synthesized using microemulsion technique and pH effect on morphology was carried out in detail. Unique and novel structures like needles, spheres etc. were obtained on changing the initial pH value of the solution. I proposed the morphological evolution model showing the effect of pH on three dimensional growth of ZnO nanostructures. These five months were among the best experiences of my life where I not only got to feel the real research life but also augmented my patience and perseverance. A research paper based on this work is under review with Langmuir, international journal. To explore the simulation area in Nanotechnology field, I worked on the Monte Carlo simulations under the guidance of Prof. Anurag Mehra and Prof. Rochish Thaokar. I developed an improved Monte Carlo algorithm for the simulation of precipitation reaction in reverse micelles, which decreased the simulation time by substantial amount. Algorithm was applied on the CdS nanoparticles and simulation results were accurate and coherent with the experimental observations. Further, I worked on the silver nanostructures, where I suggested a mechanism for the synthesis of Ag nanostructures prepared through microemulsion method. I formulated the Monte Carlo code describing the mechanism and currently working on the Ag nanostructures simulations. The intellectually rich discussions with my guides and their PhD students widened my horizons and augmented my affinity to pursue research. Through discussions with my professors, I realized that Cornell University can provide me opportunities to perform cutting edge research. I do believe that I have what it takes to be a good researcher, and with my passion, perseverance, sincerity, and thirst for knowledge, I shall make significant contributions to the research at Cornell. It would be a great honor for me if you consider my application for PhD.