In Mathematics, Physics and Engineering, new concepts and methods have helped produce research that translates into significant technological innovations.
– Dr. Editha C Jose
Featuring experts from the Philippines and across the globe, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics (IMSP) hosted its first Advanced Functional Materials and their Applications 2021 (AFMat2021) Webinar last September 27, 2021. These advanced functional materials refer to an emerging group of materials or composite that are engineered to enhance native properties and functions.
The webinar started with a welcome message and opening remarks from Dean Maribel L. Dionisio-Sese and Director Editha C. Jose, respectively. They highlighted the diversity of applications of advanced functional materials in different disciplines such as agriculture, technology, health, environment, and sustainability.
The first speaker was Dr. Mary Donabelle L. Balela, an Associate Professor at the Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (DMMME) at the University of the Philippines (UP). She talked about various kapok sorbents to target various types of pollutants which she and her team developed. Their initial findings showed promising results that are suitable in water treatment facilities.
This was followed by the discussion of Dr. Jey-R S. Ventura, an Associate Professor at College of Agricultural Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology here in UPLB. He presented the country’s current achievements on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) research.
This included production cost reduction and property improvement of PHA products, which were biopolymers with similar properties to conventional plastics.
Next, Dr. Hsiung Chou, a distinguished Professor of Department of Physics, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan, talked about a biosensor platform that utilizes Au nanoparticles as detection agent to react with the antigen of a disease in which he and his research team is currently developing. The detection was based on the change in electrical properties when the system absorbs biomolecules.
The fourth speaker is a member of a research unit of Optoelectronic Materials and Devices (UMDO) and is responsible for the Lowdim research line at the Materials Science Institute (ICMUV) of the University of Valencia, Spain. Dr. Juan F. Sanchez-Royo and his team showed that distinct properties of two-dimensional indium selenide (InSe) nanosheets present new opportunities for the development of modern heterojunctions and related devices. In their work, they concluded that InSe nanosheets were promising for 2D-based devices design because of its high electron mobility and its low density of defects.
Following Dr. Royo was Dr. Jessica Pauline C. Afalla, who is an Assistant Professor (University of Tsukuba) that worked on ultrafast spectroscopy of new generation semiconductors. She talked about the unique physics of Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), and how ultrafast spectroscopy can be used to characterize these new generation semiconductors. One of Dr. Afalla’s objective was to probe and understand how charge transport happens in TMDs. Currently, she’s building a terahertz spectroscopy set-up to further analyze excitonic processes in TMDs.
For the second to the last talk, Dr. Lilia M. Fernando discussed their work on plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) to contribute to sustainability. Dr. Fernando is a biochemist who worked on phage and yeast-based technologies for agricultural applications during her postdoc studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She talked about PGBG and how it acted as a mini factory of plant growth regulators (PGR). Based on their study, their product can be used as a substitute for commercially available and synthetic growth regulators in the market.
The last speaker, Mr. Ronaniel Almeda, presented the equipment and analytical services offered by the UPLB Nanotechnology program. He is the current Laboratory Head of the UPLB Nanotechnology Analytical and Instrumentation Service Laboratory. Through coherent interdisciplinary collaboration, the program aimed to establish the UPLB Nanotechnology Center as the lead institution for education, research, and development in the fields of nanotechnology with applications in agriculture, forestry, and industry.
With over 183 participants, AFMat2021 received outpouring compliments due to the diverse interesting topics and speakers. The attendees were from various units and colleges of UP Los Baños. Educators and researchers from different universities, e.g. Isabela State University Cabagan Campus, Adamson University, and Central Mindanao University, attended as well. A closing remark was given by Asst. Prof. Marco Miguel P. Parel, the convenor of the webinar. The webinar lasted for three hours.
— GM Oca