Chemical Engineering Undergraduates Publish in SCI Tier 1 Journal as Co-First Authors

2021-02-11

Research Management Center congratulates final year undergraduates (Ng Sue Faye and Michelle Lau Yu Ling) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ong Wee Jun, all from XMUM School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, on publishing a review article entitled “Engineering Layered Double Hydroxide-Based Photocatalysts Toward Artificial Photosynthesis: State-of-the-Art Progress and Prospects”, as co-first authors and corresponding author.

Published on 22 December 2020 in Solar RRL (latest Impact Factor: 7.527), the work is an invited submission to the journal’s Special Issue Solar Photocatalysis.

Solar energy is one of the largest sources of renewable energy, providing heat and light energy through radiation. It can be harnessed as an essential chemical energy source via reactions such as water splitting, N2 fixation and CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR). Thus, the development of visible-light responsive photocatalysts for sustainable and effective fuel production is vital to meet United Nation’s 7th and 13th goals of “Affordable and Clean Energy” and “Climate Action”.

This work presents the state-of-the-art advancements related to the synthesis and modification of LDH-based nanocomposites for enhanced physicochemical properties toward boosted photocatalysis. In particular, modifications such as morphology engineering, vacancy engineering, doping engineering, hybridization of semiconductor coupling, incorporation of cocatalysts, and design of ternary LDH-based heterostructures can remarkably alter the electronic structure, specific surface area, crystal structure, morphology, phase composition, charge mobility, light utilization, and the stability of LDH. It also prospected the invigorating opportunities in engineering next-generation LDH-based photocatalysts with augmented performances to pave new inroads at the forefront of this research.

The undergraduate students shared their first-time experience in writing and publishing.

Ng Sue Faye, who will start her postgraduate study under Dr. Ong’s supervision this year:

Apart from gaining a deeper understanding of LDH photocatalysts, the process of writing this review enabled me to strive towards a higher level of critical thinking and clarity of writing. Through this journey, I have grown a respect for all the work that contributed to the development of new sources of sustainable energy.

It is an honor to publish this article under the supervision of Dr. Ong, who helped immensely in honing my writing skills and broadening my perspective towards nanomaterials. This has been a humbling experience and I am grateful to have seen it through to the end.

Michelle Lau Yu Ling:

It was an honor to experience the process of publishing a journal article, from writing, submission, revision, to obtaining copyright for the article and other elements. I have learnt a lot under Dr. Ong’s guidance, especially in writing, critical thinking and vocabulary expressions. Furthermore, it allowed me to have a deeper understanding of LDH catalyst, which is also the topic of my Final Year Project. This gave me a better perspective when synthesizing the catalyst, as the role of each parameter and component can be analyzed to make smart guesses for experiment optimization. Publishing this article took a lot of perseverance, prudence and diligent, but it was worth the efforts in the end.

Dr. Ong offered his advice to XMUM students:

Truly effective research begins with interest and direction. Without it, students end up with a superficial overview of the topic at hand, barely scratching the surface of the nucleus of the research. Currently, the two main challenges faced by the younger generation are writing skill and oral communication. I am glad that my research students in the NanoECats (Nanomaterials for Energy and Catalysis) group can take this opportunity to expand on their knowledge of science and improve their professional writing technique. This is an important asset for their future regardless of whether they pursue further studies or choose to work in a professional environment.

NanoECats research group: Dr. Ong and his students (Ng Sue Faye, left and Michelle Lau Yu Ling, right). 

*This is a digitally montaged picture, as due to Covid-19 travel restriction, the group can’t meet on campus at this moment.

Dr. Ong Wee Jun now serves as an Associate Professor at XMUM School of Energy and Chemical Engineering. He has won several prestigious awards since joining XMUM in 2018, including the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment, Young Researcher Award from Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the Green Talent Award presented by the German government. He was also named as a “Global Highly Cited Researcher 2019 and 2020” by Clarivate Analytics (the Web of Science Group). Currently, he serves as the Specialty Chief Editor of Frontiers in Nanotechnology, Associate Editor of Frontiers in Chemistry, Advisory Board Member of Materials Horizons, Early Career Advisory Board Member of Langmuir, and Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports and Nanotechnology.

Dr. Ong is actively recruiting postgraduate students for his NanoECats research group starting from this year. For candidates who are interested, please contact Dr. Ong at ongweejun@gmail.com or weejun.ong@xmu.edu.my. For more information about his research group, please refer to https://sites.google.com/site/wjongresearch/home 

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