Present and Future of Sustainable Nanomaterials For Water Treatment and Energy


In the search for high efficiency solar cell models and energy storage, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) show promise for harvesting the sun radiation, while light-responsive materials capable of undergoing photo-induced molecular transformation are excellent candidates for energy storage. In DSSCs, electrical energy is generated as the electron is conducted by metal oxide nanoparticles to an electrode (anode) and then transferred to a counter electrode (cathode). The novelty of the DSSCs is the extremely large surface area of the semiconductor nanoparticles provided for the dye molecules that absorb light and generate the electrons. In this talk, I will discuss efforts made in our labs toward improving the current systems for harvesting solar radiation and for more stable and efficient energy storage. I will show our results of modified semiconductors with metal nanoparticles in order to broaden the absorption overlap with sunlight, and maximize absorption in the red and near-infrared region. The latter constitutes more than 50% of the sun radiation and energy harvesting in this region will maximize the energy-electrical conversion efficiency. This stage was complemented by newly synthesized and spectroscopically characterized organic dyes for potential use as solar concentrators. Finally, we prepared promising liquid crystalline polymers that are capable of trapping the absorbed photon energy upon light exposure through transcis isomerization and molecular aggregation, leading to well-controlled molecular energy storage systems.

Speaker’s Profile:

Dr Joon Ching Juan is an Associate Professor of Catalysis at Nanotechnology and Catalysis Research Centre (NANOCAT) and Deputy Dean of Frontier Natural World Cluster at UM, Malaysia. He obtained his BSc (Hons) Chemical Technology (2003) and PhD in Chemistry (2007) degrees from the UKM, Malaysia. Most of his research activities are focused on understanding the nano-structure to be applied in environmental and energy. He has published more than 150 WoS journals with an h-index of 41 (> 7,000 citations). He has received grants from various organizations such as TWAS (UNESCO), MOSTI and has filed 6 patents to be used in industries. He is also the recipient of several prestigious awards including 2% Top Scientist in the World by Sandford University (2021-2020), Top Ten Outstanding Young Malaysian Award (2020), Future Academician Award, MOE (2018), Malaysia Research Star Award, MOE (2017), National Young Scientist Award, MOSTI (2016). He also serves as Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC, UK), Chartered Chemist (CSci, UK), Chartered Scientist (CSci, UK), National Representative for IUPAC Division VI, Honorary Secretary of Malaysia Institute of Chemistry (IKM), Vice President of Balai Ikhtisas Malaysia (BIM), and more.