Milan K Sanyal completed BSc (Physics Hons) from University of Kalyani and then joined Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) as Scientific Officer through its Training School in 1976. He obtained his MSc and PhD degrees from University of Bombay during his stay in BARC. He did his postdoctoral research in Physics Department of Brookhaven National Laboratory before joining Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) as a Professor in 1995 where he is now working as Head, Surface Physics Division. He has built up a front-line laboratory and a research group in SINP that has contributed significantly to the development of scattering theory and experimental techniques for studying structure and correlations in various surfaces/interfaces and for investigating confinement induced low-dimensional physical properties of nanomaterials.
Academic and Research Achievements: Sanyal has developed basic understanding of the X-ray scattering process from a liquid surface using capillary wave theory and this work is the most cited one in the field. Using synchrotron X-ray scattering, he and his collaborators have studied recently formation and ordering of 1.2 nm gold nanoparticles at the toluene-water interface. He has developed Born approximation based new methods to analyze X-ray reflectivity data to extract small variations of electron density profiles and found the signature of layering as a function of depth, reversible negative thermal expansion and broadening of glass transition in ultra-thin polymer films. He has worked extensively on structure and growth-mechanism of metal-organic multilayered Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films and obtained important results regarding two-dimensional melting and magnetic ordering in these films. His group has demonstrated that individual Au nanoparticles can exhibit rectification properties and these particles form buckled phase on water surface under pressure that can be annealed. Low temperature electronic transport studies of polymer nanowires have exhibited switching transition to highly conducting state above a threshold voltage indicating Wigner crystallization in these nanowires.
Other Contributions: Sanyal has developed multiple-microprocessor controlled instruments while in BARC. Later, he set up laboratories at SINP to study surface physics and ion-surface interactions. He is developing a surface scattering beamline for INDUS-2 synchrotron at Indore. He has also taken responsibility to develop an Indian beamline in Photon Factory synchrotron facility, Japan. He is Member of several national committees in nanoscience and synchrotron sources, India-Japan Science Council and Asia-Pacific Academy of Materials.
Awards and Honours: Professor Sanyal was conferred First Prize in the Young Physicists Colloquium by Indian Physical Society (1987), NS Satya Murthy Memorial Award by Indian Physics Association (1987) and the Medal of the Material Research Society of India (2000). He was awarded the JC Bose Fellowship, and was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy Sciences, Bangalore and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.