Dr. Leena Nebhani
  • About
  • Professional and Research Experience
  • Education
  • Achievements
  • Research
  • Courses
  • Students
  • Publications
  • Conference Presentations
  • Contact
  • About
    Dr. Nebhani’s research interests include establishing range of highly innovative protocols for macromolecular surface engineering, functionalization of surfaces via combination of orthogonal and controlled free radical polymerization techniques, synthetic ‘grafting-to’ routes for conjugating macromolecules/elastomers to variety of surfaces, characterizing (testing) and understanding the effect of modifications/modifiers on final polymer/elastomer mechanical/viscoelastic properties. Anti-fouling and biocompatible surfaces, rubber compounding and technology, and sustainable additives.
  • Professional and Research Experience
    April 2015-Present: Assistant Professor at Centre for Polymer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India.
    Jan 2011-April 2015: Senior Scientist at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Akron, Ohio, USA.
    Sept 2007-July 2010: Scientific coworker in the group of Prof. Christopher Barner-Kowollik (PhD research work), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. During PhD, research work was focused on orthogonal modification of solid substrates via a combination of Reversible Addition Fragmentation Chain Transfer polymerization and hetero Diels-Alder (RAFT-HDA) chemistry.
    Sept 2006-May 2007: Scientific coworker in the group of Prof. Hans-Juergen P. Adler and Prof. Dirk Kuckling, Technical University Dresden, Germany, Prof. Veena Choudhary (IITD advisor) (research work for fulfillment of credits for M.Tech degree). Here research was aimed at preparing metal ion sensitive hydrogels which can find application as sensors (specifically piezo-resistive sensors).
    May 2006-Aug 2006: Scientific coworker in the group of Dr. Josemon Jacob, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India (research work for fulfillment of credits for M.Tech). The project aim was to prepare soluble analogues of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS). Fluorene derivatives were modified by the introduction of solubilizing alkyl groups. Direct polymerization and polymerization by modification to dithiols and coupling in presence of palladium catalyst were attempted.
    April 2004-June 2005: Scientific coworker in the group of Prof. Y. C. Joshi, Department of Chemistry, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. Junior Research Fellow on University Grant Commission funded project on synthesis of novel heterocycles which can serve as potential chemotherapeutic agent.
    Industrial Collaboration during PhD: Evonik Industries, Germany for the development of novel coatings and adhesive materials.
    Academic Collaboration during PhD: March 2008-June 2008 - Scientific coworker in the group of Dr. Suzanne Smith, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), Australia where radioisotope labeling experiments were carried out to understand and quantitatively estimate accessible number of reactive groups available for functionalization on the surface of microspheres.
    Highlights of Research Projects at Goodyear:
    • Introduction of innovative and scalable technologies: Development and evaluation of new functionalized polymers and additives for tread application. Successfully transferred technology from lab scale to pilot plant scale (500 gallon). In addition worked on fundamental mechanistic studies for introducing new approaches of achieving functionalization.
    • New product development - Food Grade Polymer: Designing and understanding structure-property relationships of new polymers which can replace polymers currently used in chewing gums.
    • Product enhancement/improvements - Renewable sources in tire formulations: Submitted proposal to USA governmental agency for research work on imparting renewable sources with features which will enhance its role in tire formulations.
    • Innovative and improved vulcanizing techniques: Development of new molecules which can function as vulcanizing agent.


  • Education
    • Sept 2007-July 2010: PhD in Polymer Chemistry from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Barner-Kowollik. Initiated PhD at Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia which was transferred to Karlsruhe under same supervisor.

    • July 2005-June 2007: Master of Technology in Polymer Science and Technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

    • August 2001-Dec 2003: Master of Science in Chemistry (Major Organic Chemistry) from Department of Chemistry, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India.

    • July 1998- June 2001: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Honors (subsidiary subject-Industrial Microbiology) from Maharani College, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India.
  • Achievements
    • Development of innovative and scalable technologies: Successfully transferred technology from lab scale to pilot plant scale (500 gallon). six granted, one published and three filed US patents.

    • Performance based academic scholarships:
      • Postgraduate scholarship from Faculty of Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia which included annual stipend and remission of tuition fees
      • DAAD scholarship to complete Master of Technology final year project from Technical University Dresden, Germany

    • Academic excellence and ranking:
      • First position in Master of Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India
      • All India rank of 67th in Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) with percentile of 98.13
      • Qualified Junior Research Fellowship examination conducted jointly by CSIR and UGC
      • Second position in Master of Sciences, University of Rajasthan, India
      • Seventh position in Bachelor of Sciences (Honors), University of Rajasthan, India
      • Third position in Industrial Microbiology first year examination, University of Rajasthan, India
  • Research
    Our research interests include establishing range of highly innovative protocols for macromolecular surface engineering, functionalization of surfaces via combination of orthogonal and controlled free radical polymerization techniques, synthetic ‘grafting-to’ routes for conjugating macromolecules/elastomers to variety of surfaces, characterizing (testing) and understanding the effect of modifications/modifiers on final polymer/elastomer mechanical/viscoelastic properties. Anti-fouling and biocompatible surfaces, rubber compounding and technology, sustainable additives.

    Surface Engineering:
    Surface modification is central to numerous applications, for example, stationary phase for columns, drug delivery systems, optoelectronic devices, tire industries etc. There is high motivation and need for improving methodologies which can be employed for modification of surfaces in selective and efficient fashion. Some examples of surfaces which we have worked on are microspheres, silicon wafers, fullerenes.
    Modification of microspheres:
    Surface modification of microspheres to obtain shell functionalized microspheres has increased substantially over the past decades, since these surface-modified microspheres have a high potential as material supports in biomedical, chromatographic applications. In the example discussed here we have utilized microspheres with electron-deficient surface expressed RAFT groups for modification and functionalization via the ‘grafting-to’ approach (based on combination of Reversible Addition Fragmentation Chain Transfer and hetero Diels Adler reaction). In the so-called RAFT-hetero Diels-Alder (HDA) approach, the dithioester function of a RAFT agent serves two purposes: Initially, the dithioester moiety functions as a RAFT agent in the synthesis of the DVB microspheres on which it is surface expressed and is subsequently employed as a reactive hetero-dienophile for the HDA reaction with a functionalized diene (polycaprolactone), resulting in facile microsphere polymer conjugation.

    L. Nebhani, S. Sinnwell, A. J. Inglis, M. H. Stenzel, C. Barner-Kowollik, L. Barner, Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2008, 29, 1431.
    L. Nebhani, D. Schmiedl, L. Barner, C. Barner-Kowollik, Adv. Funct. Mat. 2010, 20, 2010.

    Modification of Fullerene:
    The incorporation of fullerene into the macromolecular architectures provides an interesting way to combine the unique electronic and optical properties of fullerenes with the highly variable physiochemical properties of polymeric materials. Herein is presented one example of facile (as well as in one case rapid and ambient temperature) functionalization of fullerenes with cyclopentadienyl and anthracenyl functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) using DA cycloadditions.

    L. Nebhani, C. Barner-Kowollik, Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2010, 31, 129

    Modification of Si wafers:
    The manipulation and control of the physicochemical properties of single crystal silicon surfaces by immobilizing dense polymer brushes is highly interesting because of their potential importance to the modern microelectronics industry and in sensors and photovoltaics applications. The conjugation of polymer chains to the Si surface is achieved via a grafting-to approach. Generally, a grafting-to approach will somewhat limit the achievable grafting densities when compared with those achieved via a grafting-from approach. However, the grafting-to approach offers the advantage of using well-defined premade polymer strands compared with an immersion polymerization process.

    L. Nebhani, P. Gerstel, P. Atanasova, C. Barner-Kowollik, J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem. 2009, 47, 7090.

    Quantification of Grafting Density:
    Many a times lot of effort is invested into surface modification using various synthetic methodologies with less focus on determining how different synthetic routes provide different grafting densities on modified surfaces. We are also making an effort to access quantitative degrees of functionalization. Example discussed here for determination of grafting density relies on solid state NMR technique. Solid state NMR work was performed in collaboration with Dr. Marion Gaborieau, Dr. Robert Graf, Prof. H. W. Spiess, Max Planck Institute of Polymer Research, Mainz Soild State 13Carbon Cross-Polarization Magic Angle Spinining (CP-MAS)

    M. Gaborieau, L. Nebhani, R. Graf, L. Barner, C. Barner-Kowollik, Macromolecules 2010, 43, 3868.

    Rubber Technology:
    Functionalized polymers, additives and modified surfaces are beneficial in numerous application. Tire industry is one example where improved properties are achieved using functionalized polymers or fillers. We are working on new material science approaches for the synthesis of functionalized polymers and fillers (chemically treated fillers) and sustainable additives.

    US patent granted 8993669, 9045627, 8865829

    US patent published 20140107284A1, announcement of intention to grant
  • Courses
    Polymer Characterization (PTL705)

  • Students

    PhD

    Sumbul Hafeez
    M.Tech (IITD)
    ptz158205@polymers.iitd.ac.in

    Smrutirekha Mishra
    M.E. (CIPET, Ahmedabad)
    ptz158203@polymers.iitd.ac.in

    M.Tech

    Dharmendra Chauhan
    B.Tech (CIPET, Lucknow)
    jpt142667@polymers.iitd.ac.in

  • Publications
    PATENTS
    • Functionalized Polymer, Rubber Composition with and Pneumatic Tire, US patent granted 8993669.
    • Rubber Composition and Pneumatic Tire, US patent granted 9045627.
    • Functional Materials with controllable viscosity, US patent granted 8987380.
    • Functionalized Polymer, Rubber Composition with and Pneumatic Tire, US patent granted 8865829.
    • Functional Materials with Reversible Crosslinking, US patent granted 8916635.
    • Preparation of Rubber Reinforced with at least One of Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes with Specialized Coupling Agent and Tire with Component, US patent granted 9090757.
    • Functionalized Polymer, Rubber Composition with and Pneumatic Tire, US patent published 20140107284A1, announcement of intention to grant.
    • Coupling agent in tire formulations, US patent filed, December 2014.
    • New coupling agents for tire formulations, US patent filed, December 2014.
    • Chewing gum polymer, US patent filed, December 2014.
    PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS PUBLICATION LIST
    • Functionalization of Fullerenes with Cyclopentadienyl and Anthracenyl Capped Polymeric Building Blocks via Diels-Alder Chemistry, L. Nebhani, C. Barner-Kowollik, Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2010, 31, 1298.
    • Rapid Bonding/Debonding on Demand: Reversibly Cross-linked Functional Polymers via Diels-Alder Chemistry, A. J. Inglis, L. Nebhani, O. Altintas, F. -G. Schmidt, C. Barner-Kowollik, Macromolecules 2010, 43, 5515.
    • Quantification of Grafting Density Achieved via Modular ‘Grafting-to’ Approaches on Divinylbenzene Microspheres, L. Nebhani, D. Schmiedl, L. Barner, C. Barner-Kowollik, Adv. Funct. Mat. 2010, 20, 2010.
    • Accessing Quantitative Degrees of Functionalization on Solid Substrates via Solid State NMR Spectroscopy, M. Gaborieau, L. Nebhani, R. Graf, L. Barner, C. Barner-Kowollik, Macromolecules 2010, 43, 3868.
    • Efficient and Mild Modification of Si Surfaces via Orthogonal Hetero Diels-Alder Chemistry, L. Nebhani, P. Gerstel, P. Atanasova, C. Barner-Kowollik, J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem. 2009, 47, 7090.
    • Strongly Electron Deficient Sulfonyldithioformate Based RAFT agents for Hetero-Diels Alder (HDA) Conjugation: Computational Design and Experimental Evaluation, L. Nebhani, S. Sinnwell, C. Y. Lin, M. L. Coote, M. H. Stenzel, C. Barner-Kowollik, J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem. 2009, 47, 6053.
    • Surface Modification of Poly(divinyl benzene) Microspheres via Thiol-ene Chemistry and Alkyne-Azide Click Reactions, A. S. Goldmann, A. Walther, L. Nebhani, R. Joso, D. Ernst, K. Loos, C. Barner-Kowollik, L. Barner, A. H. E. Mueller, Macromolecules 2009, 42, 3707.
    • Orthogonal Transformations on Solid Substrates: Efficient Avenues to Surface Modification, L. Nebhani, C. Barner-Kowollik, Adv. Mater. 2009, 21, 3442.
    • Efficient Surface Modification of Divinylbenzene Microspheres via a Combination of RAFT and Hetero Diels-Alder chemistry, L. Nebhani, S. Sinnwell, A. J. Inglis, M. H. Stenzel, C. Barner-Kowollik, L. Barner, Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2008, 29, 1431.
    NON-PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS PUBLICATION LIST
    • With modular strategies and controlled radical polymerization and controlled radical polymerization to functional materials: Surface design and bonding on demand systems, C. Barner-Kowollik, O. Altintas, L. Barner, J. Blinco, M. Bruns, M. Glassner, A. S. Goldmann, C. Hubner, A. J. Inglis, L. Nebhani, D. Schmiedl, F. G. Schmidt, T. Tischer, N. Zydziak, Polymer Preprints 2011, 52, 472.
    • Strongly Electron Withdrawing Sulfonyldithioformate Based RAFT Agents for Hetero Diels-Alder Conjugation, L. Nebhani, S. Sinnwell, C. Y. Lin, M. Coote, M. H. Stenzel, C. Barner-Kowollik, Polymer Preprints 2010, 51, 324
    • Efficient Access to Macromolecules via Living/Controlled Radical Polymerization: Control, Coupling and Characterization, C. Barner-Kowollik, S. Sinnwell, T. Junkers, M. H. Stenzel, E. H. H. Wong, S. P. S. Koo, L. Nebhani, Macromolecular Bioscience, 2009, 9, F100.
    BOOK
    • Macromolecular Surface Engineering via RAFT-HDA Chemistry, L. Nebhani, 2010, VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller GmbH & Co. KG, Saarbrueken, ISBN 978-3-639-30383-4.
  • CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
    • Strongly Electron Deficient Sulfonyldithioformate Based RAFT Agents for Hetero Diels-Alder Conjugation (Oral Presentation), L. Nebhani, S. Sinnwell, C. Y. Lin, M. L. Coote, M. H. Stenzel, C. Barner-Kowollik, 2010, American Chemical Society 239th National Meeting and Exposition, San Francisco, USA.
    • Accessing Quantitative Degrees of Functionalization on Solid Substrates via solid state NMR spectroscopy (Poster Presentation), M. Gaborieau, L. Nebhani, R. Graf, L. Barner, C. Barner-Kowollik, 2009, 11th Pacific Polymer Conference, Cairns, Australia.
    • Surface Characterization of Poly(divinyl benzene) Microspheres by Solid-State NMR (Poster Presentation) M. Gaborieau, L. Nebhani, C. Barner-Kowollik, L. Barner, R. Graf, GDCh 2009, 31st Discussion Meeting: Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry and Materials Research, Dresden, Germany.
    • Orthogonal Modification of Solid Substrates via RAFT-HDA Chemistry (Oral Presentation), L. Nebhani, C. Barner-Kowollik, 2009, Controlled/living Radical Polymerizations: Latest Trends in Synthesis, Characterization and Industrial Applications, Houffalize, Belgium.
    • Efficient Modification of Variable Surfaces (Poster presentation), L. Nebhani, S. Sinnwell, P. Gerstel, L. Barner, C. Barner-Kowollik, 2009, Frontiers In Polymer Science, Mainz, Germany.
    • Effiziente Zugänge zu Komplexen Makromolekülen Mittels Lebender/Kontrollierter Radikalischer Polymerisation. Kontrolle, Kopplung und Charakterisierung (Invited Talk), C. Barner-Kowollik, S. Sinnwell, T. Junkers, M. H. Stenzel, E. H. H. Wong, S. P. S. Koo, L. Nebhani, 2009, Makromolekulares Kolloquium, Freiburg, Germany.
    • New Avenues to Complex Polymers: Synthesis and Characterization (Invited Talk), C. Barner-Kowollik, S. Sinnwell, T. Junkers, M. H. Stenzel, E. H. H. Wong, S. P. S. Koo, L. Nebhani, 2009, Polymer Chemistry Conference, Cancun, Mexico.
    • Exploring New Avenues for the Synthesis and Characterization of Well-Define Polymeric Materials (Invited Talk), C. Barner-Kowollik, S. Sinnwell, M.H. Stenzel, T. Junkers, A.J. Inglis, L. Nebhani, L Barner, G. Hart-Smith, H. Chaffey-Millar, S.P.S. Koo, T. Gruendling, M. Guilhaus, C. Synatschke, E. H.H. Wong, 2008, 30th Australasian Polymer Symposium, Melbourne, Australia.
    • Smart Hydrogels Based on N-[2-(Dimethylamino)ethyl]acrylamide Possessing Metal Ion Sensitivity (Poster presentation), L. Nebhani, D. Kuckling, H.J. Adler, V. Choudhary, M. Guenther, M., 2007, 3rd International Symposium on Reactive polymers in Inhomogeneous Systems, in Melts and at Interfaces, Technical University, Dresden, Germany.
  • Contact
    Dr. Leena Nebhani
    TX-101, Centre for Polymer Science and Engineering
    Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
    Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110016
    India
    Email: leena.nebhani@polymers.iitd.ac.in
    Office: +91 11 2659 6691
    Fax: +91 11 2659 1421