Vikas Bardiya, Founder, Nanomatrix Materials

Jaipur-based startup Nanomatrix Materials was incorporated earlier in 2020 by Mr Vikas Bardiya, who has been associated with the graphite and graphene industry for nearly a decade. The serial entrepreneur, who is currently serving as one of the Directors of the reputed Bardiya Group, along with a group of self-motivated professionals forayed into the graphene and the nanotech space when they realised the potential of the wonder material with regard to its integration into application across varied industries.

Ever since the isolation of wonder material graphene by two researchers at the University of Manchester, Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, in 2004, it has taken the world of scientific innovations by storm. Owing to its remarkable physical properties and potential applications, it has fascinated scientists and innovators from across the globe. And today when the mankind is facing one of its toughest challenges in the form of Covid-19 pandemic, it is only obvious for innovators to come with solutions powered by the wonder material, thanks to its strong antimicrobial and antiviral efficacy. Here we take a look at a few graphene-enhanced applications that are intended to aid the combat against the menace of Covid-19.

Electrochemical sensor for rapid test: A group of researchers at the US-based University of Illinois recently developed an ultrasensitive rapid test that could diagnose in less than five minutes whether a person is infected with Covid-19. An electrochemical biosensor based on graphene has been used to develop this rapid diagnostic test. Using a layer of graphene nanoplatelets, the researchers conductive film platform, and later used an electrode of gold, serving as a contact pad for electrical readout.

Anti-viral membrane: India-based nanotechnology company Nanomatrix Materials, which specializes in integration of graphene into varied applications, has developed a membrane combining the power of the wonder material with silver. Owing to the combined power, the membrane has been tested to register amazingly strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. There are atomically sharp edges of graphene in the membrane that act and nanoknives and damage the outer wall of microbes. The silver nanoparticles in the membrane produce reactive oxygen species in oxidative conditions. Infused with graphene-silver nano particles, the membrane destroys 99.9% Covid-19 virus within seconds.

Air purification tech: A New York-based company, G6 Materials, which specializes in development of products based on the wonder material, has developed a graphene-based air filtration and purification tech that can be instrumental in fighting the novel virus. A partially oxidized graphene sheet is used for the purpose, leading to strong electrostatic interaction between graphene and microbes, thereby immobilizing viruses. This resultantly causes RNA leakage and imposes oxidative damage to the envelope and surface proteins of the virus. The basic premise behind the R&D into the tech was that proteins that constitute a virus chemically react to graphene-oxide.

Sensor platform for acute infections: A few researchers at the Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, one of the leading global centres for applied research, have developed a rapid test mechanism based on graphene oxide to detect any infection within one’s body in the shortest possible time. This assumes utmost significance, for presence of any kind of infection can prove to be fatal if a person is diagnosed with Covid-19. The graphene oxide-based sensor platform requires just one drop of blood or saliva to detect the presence of any infection in just 15 minutes.

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