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Reply to the questions raised by the DAC member Dr.

Aravind
Raghavan
We would like to thank the DAC member for constructive comments raised
regarding the research proposal. We have tried my best to answer the
questions posed by the DAC member and the replies to the comments are
appended below.
1) Does the proposed topic reflect the theme propounded in the proposal write
up?
Comment: DAC member says
superparamagnetism is not clear.

NO

because

the

relevance

of

Reply: We agree to the fact that the superparamagnetism indicated in the


title of the proposal is not explicitly justified in the text. In relevance to the
proposal the phenomenon of superparamagnetism is a characteristic of
magnetic nanoparticle and not a required condition to observe magnetooptical effects. However, the size requirement of magnetic nanoparticles
mentioned in the proposal is justified by the following points: a) The observed
data will not depend on the magnetic history of the sample and, b) the
proposed investigations are an attempt to prepare magneto-plasmonic
nanostructures for bio-sensing applications. In this regard we perceive the
coating of gold and further binding of bio-molecules on these nanoparticles
will be efficient. We have included the above points in the relevant section
(introduction of the proposal). We will remove the word superparamagnetism
from the title as the material being superparamagnetic is not an essential
condition to observe the effects that is being investigated in the proposal.
2) Is the outcome of the work clearly visualized?
Comment: One of the outcomes of the proposal is patents. It cannot be
visualized from the proposal.
Reply: We agree, it is not clear from the proposal. We anticipate that the
magnetic-nanoparticles that will be investigated in this proposal could be
potentially used for bio-sensing applications.The above mentioned outcome
will be removed from the relevant portion of the proposal.
3) Are experimental facilities for research work envisaged clearly?
Comment: Partially yes. It is not clear how the size of core-shell
nanoparticles and their shape is going to be determined.
Reply: The physical characterization techniques like XRD, TEM, and SAXS
etc. will be used routinely for estimation of the size and shape of

nanoparticles. The facilities are not available in the campus and therefore
these measurements will be performed elsewhere on payment/collaborative
basis.The samples that will be investigated in the proposal are provided by
Dr. Balaji Gopalan and his group from the Department of Chemistry.
4) Comment: The research area to which this proposal belongs is an important
frontier. Raj Kumar et al. (Ref. 13) have found FR enhancement in gold coated
Fe2O3 nanoparticles at 632 nm. In this context, why research is proposed to
be done in Fe3O4 nanoparticles needs better justification. This is quite
important for research publications to come out of this research.
Reply: This is a good question and also a valid concern! In fact we have
started this project with the aim of optimizing the enhanced magneto-optical
effects in -Fe2O3 nanoparticles, where these effects have been reported in
the literature, and then investigate the possibilities of sensing bio-molecules
by closely monitoring the changes in surface plasmon enhanced Faraday
rotation as the bio-molecules gets attached to the ligands of the magnetic
nanoparticles. However, out of curiosity we started investigations in gold
coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles initially as no group has reported magneto-optical
effects in these systems. Our preliminary investigations revealed two
interesting observations in these systems, 1) the Faraday rotation in these
nanoparticles are higher than that reported for -Fe2O3 nanoparticles and, 2)
the Faraday rotation appears to be higher at lower magnetic field which is
counter intuitive to the conventional understanding of this effect where the
rotation is linearly proportional to the magnetic field. Furthermore, we also
noticed that the technique used to measure Faraday rotation in the two
earlier reports in these systems will not allow an opportunity to probe the
effects at different magnetic fields. In our perception, this is an important
parameter that needs to be varied to understand the origin of Faraday
rotation in these nanostructures in detail. The above observations made us
believe that thorough investigations of surface plasmon enhanced Faraday
effects in gold coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles itself warrant a Ph.D thesis!
Therefore, we have proposed these systems in the research proposal.
However, as the DAC member rightly pointed out that this is a frontier area of
research and therefore there is a possibility of other groups publishing this
work earlier than the group at BITS is really a cause of worry. Therefore we
thought that we may be on the safer side if we could also study the effect of
the shape of nanoparticles on the enhanced Faraday effects. In this context
we are also planning to investigate pyramidal shaped core-shell nanoparticles
for enhanced Faraday effects. Before we conclude our reply we would like to
point out that we are amused by the fact that the same group who carried
out investigations in gold coated -Fe2O3 nanoparticles did not do so in gold
coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles!We will include the above mentioned arguments
in the section Gaps in existing research.

We hope we have answered the different concerns raised by the DAC


member. Once again we thank the DAC member for critical insights and
valuable suggestions. We would be happy to include any other valuable
suggestions the DAC member may have on the proposal.