Apparao M Rao

Apparao M Rao (born 1961) is an Indian-born American physicist and nanomaterials researcher. He currently serves as the Robert A. Bowen Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University and the founding director of the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute. He is known for developing Raman spectroscopy as a versatile tool for characterizing carbon nanomaterials, and for developing the liquid-injection based synthesis methods for carbon nanotubes. His current research at Clemson University focuses on the many applications of carbon and other nanomaterials in energy generation and storage technologies. Because of his sustained research in nanomaterials and for building competitiveness in the State of South Carolina, the Governor of South Carolina, the Honorable Nikki Haley conferred on him in 2014 the State's highest honor - the Governor's award for excellence in scientific research. Rao is also an adjunct professor at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), India where he initiated a nanomaterials program, and continues to directs research projects of M.S. and Ph.D. students at SSSIHL.

Apparao M. Rao
Born1961 (age 58–59)
Mumbai, India
OccupationExperimental condensed matter physicist
TitleRobert A. Bowen Professor of Physics at Clemson University, and Founding Director of the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Bombay (now Mumbai), B.S.; University of Kentucky, Ph.D.; MIT, Postdoctoral Scholar
Academic advisorsProf. Peter C. Eklund (University of Kentucky, Pennsylvania State University); Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus (MIT)
Academic work

Early life and educationEdit

Rao was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India on February 15, 1961. He became interested in physics during high school education at the Little Angels High School, Mumbai, which led him to purse his B.S. in physics from the University of Bombay, India . As an undergraduate student, he gained hands-on experience in research as a student intern at the Bombay Atomic Research Center in Mumbai. In 1983, he moved to the United States to pursue higher degrees in physics under the tutelage of Prof. Peter C. Eklund at the University of Kentucky. At Kentucky, Rao investigated the optical properties of high temperature superconductors and received his Ph.D. in 1989. As a graduate student, he also developed a deep interest in carbon research after attending the International School of Materials Science and Technology, Erice, Italy. Consequently, he spent two years as a postdoctoral associate with Prof. Mildred S. Dresselhaus (a.k.a. the Queen of Carbon) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which led him to work extensively in the field of carbon research and development.

Professional life and accomplishmentsEdit

In 1991, Rao returned to the University of Kentucky as a Research Assistant Professor where he uncovered the photo-induced polymerization of C60, and pioneered Raman studies of pristine and doped single walled carbon nanotubes. Rao's Raman spectroscopic studies of fullerenes and nanotubes made Raman spectroscopy as a premier characterization tool in nanocarbon research. In 2000, Rao moved to Clemson University and continued to develop a broad spectrum of technologies for the spectroscopic characterization of nanocarbon allotropes, novel synthesis methods for controlling the morphologies of carbon nanotubes  and graphene, and scalable nanomanufacturing of nanotube-based devices.  In 2013, Rao founded the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute to advance nanoscience and nanotechnology in terms of novel phenomena discovery, device development, photonics, and drug delivery.

Personal lifeEdit

Rao is a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, and embraced Baba's directive to “Love All, Serve All” as the mantra in his life. He is happily married and has one grown daughter. When he's not working, he enjoys gardening, cooking, and visiting his family abroad.

Honors & awardsEdit

  • 2020 Fellow, Materials Research Society
  • 2018 Fellow, National Academy of Inventors
  • 2018 University Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award, Clemson University
  • 2018 TEDxGreenville Speaker
  • 2016 Recognized by the Board of Trustees as one of the top three faculty members in the College of Engineering and Science, Clemson University
  • 2014 Governor's Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, South Carolina
  • 2012 Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Clemson University
  • 2011 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2010 R. A. Bowen Professor of Physics, Clemson University
  • 2008 Fellow, American Physical Society
  • 2007 Panel member for the World Technology Evaluation Center to evaluate carbon nanotube manufacturing capabilities in Europe and Asia
  • 2006 Faculty Achievement Award, Clemson University, for exemplary leadership in the sciences

Select publicationsEdit

A. M. Rao, P. Zhou, K. A. Wang, G. T. Hager, J. M. Holden, Y. Wang, W. T. Lee, X. X. Bi, P. C. Eklund, D. S. Cornett, M. A. Duncan, and I. J. Amster. Photo-induced polymerization of solid C60 films. Science 259: 955.
A. M. Rao, P. C. Eklund, S. Bandow, A. Thess, and R. E. Smalley. Evidence of charge transfer in doped carbon nanotube bundles from Raman scattering. Nature 388: 257.
A. M. Rao, E. Richter, S. Bandow, B. Chase, P. C. Eklund, K. A. Williams, S. Fang, K. R. Subbaswamy, M. Menon, A. Thess, R. E. Smalley, G. Dresselhaus, and M. S. Dresselhaus. Diameter-selective Raman scattering from vibrational modes in carbon nanotubes. Science 275: 187
J. Chen, H. Hui, Y. Chen, A. M. Rao, P. C. Eklund, and R. C. Haddon. Solution properties of single walled carbon nanotubes. Science 282: 95.
A. G. Rinzler, J. Liu, H. Dai, P. Nikolaev, C. B. Huffman, F. J. Rodriguez-Marcias, P. J. Boul, A. H. Lu, D. Heymann, D. T. Colbert, R. S. Lee, J. E. Fischer, A. M. Rao, P. C. Eklund, and R. E. Smalley. Large-scale purification of single-wall carbon nanotubes: process, product, and characterization. Applied Physics A, Materials Science and Processing 67: 29.
R. Andrews, D. Jacques, A. M. Rao, F. Derbyshire, D. Qian, X. Fan, E. C. Dickey, and J. Chen. Continuous production of aligned carbon nanotubes: A step closer to commercial realization. Chem. Phys. Letters 303: 467.
M. Terrones, A. Jorio, M. Endo, A. M. Rao, Y. A. Kim, T. Hayashi, H. Terrones, J.-C. Charlier, G. Dresselhaus, and M. S. Dresselhaus. New directions in nanotube science. Materials Today, October 2004: 30–45.
P. R. Bandaru, C. Daraio, S. Jin, and A. M. Rao. Novel electrical switching behavior and logic in carbon nanotube Y-junctions. Nature Materials 4: 663.
I. Maciel, N. Anderson, M. A. Pimenta, A. Hartschuh, H. Qian, M. Terrones, H. Terrones, J. Campos-Delgado, A. M. Rao, L. Novotny, and A. Jorio. Electron and phonon renormalization at defect/doping sites in carbon nanotubes. Nature Materials 7: 878.
R. Podila, W. Queen, A. Nath, J. T. Arantes, A. L. Schoenhalz, A. Fazzio, G. M. Dalpian, J. He, S. J. Hwu, M. J. Skove, and A. M. Rao. Origin of ferromagnetic ordering in pristine micro-and nanostructured ZnO. Nano Lett. 10: 1383
P. Puneet, R. Podila, S. Zhu, M. J. Skove, T. M. Tritt, J. He, and A. M. Rao. Enhancement of thermoelectric performance of ball-milled bismuth due to spark-plasma-sintering-induced interface modifications. Advanced Materials 25: 1033.
B. Anand, R. Podila, K. Lingam, S. R. Krishnan, R. Philip, S. S. S. Sai, and A. M. Rao. Optical diode action from axially asymmetric nonlinearity in an all-carbon solid-state device. Nano Lett. 13: 5771.

P-C. Wei, S. Bhattacharya, J. He, S. Neeleshwar, R. Podila, Y. Y. Chen, and A. M. Rao, Nature, 539, Issue 7627, Pages E1-E2 (2016).

M. S. Dresselhaus, G. Dresselhaus, P. C. Eklund and A. M. Rao, “Carbon Nanotubes”, The Physics of Fullerene-based and Fullerene-related Materials, Ed. W. Andreoni, Kluwer Publications, p. 331-379 (2000).