Environmental Sciences and Biomedical Metrology Division

The environment is an important issue which needs extensive scientific investigations to understand causal mechanisms which change the state of environment and its consequences on health, livelihood, economy and climate. CSIR-NPL is among the pioneering institutions in India where research in this field has started several decades ago. Various research activities carried out in this field included:

  • Environmental Science and Metrology of Lower and Upper Atmosphere
  • Providing Calibration of Ozone Analyzers using Primary Ozone Reference Standard
  • Preparation of Primary Gas Standards for Air Quality Measurements
  • Certified Reference Materials Developments for Pollutants Listed in National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
  • Solar Radiation Flux Measurements
  • Measurement and Creating Inventory of Greenhouse Gases from Different Sources Like Paddy Fields, Biomass Burning and Others
  • Measurement of Trace Atmospheric Gases, Particulate Matter Related Air Pollution Problem
  • Chemical, Physical and Radiative Properties of Atmospheric Aerosols
  • Studies of Physical and Chemical Processes of Atmosphere
  • Metrology in Chemistry to Determine Different Elements and Compounds in Air and Water
  • Biomedical Equipment Standards Development and Certification
  • Spintronic Materials and Magnetic Standards for Industrial Metrology
  • Development of Recently Invented Green Energy Device – Hydroelectric Cell

In India, the background atmospheric data is extremely scarce. CSIR-NPL has established an atmospheric monitoring station in the relatively pristine atmosphere at Palampur (H.P.) for generating data base for reference atmosphere in India (https://blog.mygov.in/csir-npl-launches-indias-first-pristine-air-quality-monitoring-station-at-palampur/). This station has the provision for continuous measurements of ambient concentrations of atmospheric trace species like CO, NO, NO 2 , NH 3 , SO 2 , O 3 , PM, HC & BC. The station is also equipped with Automatic Weather Station (AWS) for measurement of weather parameters. Recently, facility for continuous monitoring of ambient carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and methane (CH 4 ) using the state of art cavity ring down spectroscopic (CRDS) technique has also been made operational at this station which will help in understanding the carbon cycle. A  Vertical Raman Lidar System is also established at the NPL's remote monitoring station for measurement of vertical profile of optical properties of aerosols and clouds in the troposphere over the Palampur (H.P.). It has provision for measurement of vertical profile of aerosol/cloud extinction coefficient, backscatter coefficient, linear depolarization ratio, optical depth, atmospheric boundary layer height and dynamics.

CSIR-NPL has contributed in almost all the national programs undertaken in atmospheric sciences. While all the above mentioned activities are being vigorously pursued, in view of the nationwide increased awareness and concerns about the state of environment, CSIR-NPL has now embarked upon developing quality measurement system for atmospheric species which could be followed by all the institutions and organization involved in atmospheric measurement activities besides developing standards for ensuring quality measurements. CSIR-NPL has been working on the development of gas primary reference standards and the current focus is on providing the greenhouse gas (e.g. CH 4 and CO 2 ) and pollution gas (e.g. SO 2 , NO, CO) standards to various stake holders which include air quality monitoring stations being run by different pollution boards. NPL is providing primary calibration facility to calibrate ozone analyzers.

Eco-Friendly Green Energy Device Invented at NPL: Hydroelectric Cell

NPL has not only pioneered in the field of measurement of aforesaid atmospheric constituents but also has recently hypothesized and developed an outstanding technology as an alternate of conventional energy. In present era, the whole world is striving hard to find new alternative electrical energy sources within the constraints of non-polluting environment along with economically viability compared to existing energy sources. Magnesium ferrite having lowest magnetic moment is being explored as room temperature water molecule dissociating material for green electrical energy source. The green energy device has been named as “Hydroelectric cell”. The Hydroelectric cell is a world's first water based green electrical energy source without using any acid/alkaline electrolyte. Hydroelectric cell invention is a major revolution to bring a paradigm shift in Green Energy research to open a new field of research globally. It supports carbon sequestration mechanism to reduce environmental pollution also. A new field of research in Green Energy has been opened up globally to mitigate carbon sequestration by the use of Hydroelectric cell. (www.drrkkotnala.com)


Apart from environment, the human health is also a very important concern for the society. This division is also actively engaged in fabricating indigenous point-of-care devices using novel biocompatible sensing materials for the diagnosis of chronic diseases. The initiatives have been taken to establish standardization of medical equipments which are used to evaluate various human health parameters. New facilities are being set up for the calibration and testing of biomedical equipments in NPL.


Incharge Dr. R. K. Kotnala
Chief Scientist & Head
Environmental Sciences & Biomedical Metrology Division
Email: rkkotnala@nplindia.org
Ph: +91 11-4560 8599/ 8266
Address Head, Environmental Sciences & Biomedical Metrology Division
Room No. 119
National Physical Laboratory
Dr. K. S. Krishnan Marg
New Delhi – 110012


Sub Division Head E-mail ID
Spintronic Materials & Magnetic Standards (Sub. Div.#03.01) Dr. R. K. Kotnala (Chief Scientist) rkkotnala@nplindia.org
Atmospheric Science & Metrology (Sub.Div.#03.02) Dr. Chhemendra Sharma (Sr. Principal Scientist) csharma@nplindia.org
Environmental Chemistry & Metrology (Sub.Div.#03.03) Dr.(Ms.) Meena Jain (Sr. Principal Scientist) mjain@nplindia.org
Polar & Earth Atmospheric Science (Sub.Div.#03.04) Dr. Sachidanand Singh (Principal Scientist) ssingh@nplindia.org
Gas Metrology (Sub.Div.#03.05) Dr. (Ms) Prabha Johri (Principal Scientist) pjohri@nplindia.org
Biomedical Metrology (Sub.Div.#03.06) Dr. R. K. Kotnala (Chief Scientist) rkkotnala@nplindia.org