Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.20

Graduate students from the University of Technology Malaysia train in the synthesis and evaluation of separation membranes

Report from the Nagoya Institute of Technology

Through the SAKURA Exchange Program in Science, a group of 11 participants (10 graduate students and 1 faculty member) from the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) visited the Department of Physical Science and Engineering at the Nagoya Institute of Technology (NITech) for a program running from November 5 to 14, 2017. During the program, participants trained in the evaluation of ceramic separation membrane materials, fuel cell materials, and other advanced materials. The Malaysian students were selected using a competitive system based on academic and research results. At NITech, the students actively pursued an even higher level of knowledge on equipment operation and evaluation methods.

写真1 At the gate of the NITech
写真2 Touring a research lab at NITech

写真3 Measurement using a Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer
写真4 Students listen to an explanation of equipment

During the training program, students toured laboratories related to the development of nano-materials, as well as university-wide analytical laboratories featuring advanced equipment. The group learned the details of synthesis and evaluation for separation membranes. Student engaged in a series of practical R&D exercises, starting with the preparation of film and powder samples, and then proceeding to microstructure observation using scanning electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and transmission electron microscopes. They also performed structural analysis using crystal structure analysis (X-ray diffraction analysis), chemical structure analysis (infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy), polar microporous structure analysis (nitrogen gas adsorption method), and elemental quantitative analysis (combustion analysis method).

After completing the training, a research presentation was held including participation from NITech staff. UTM students presented the results of their research and training, after which discussion were held. Following the presentation, completion certificates and SAKURA Science badges were conferred to all participants. Malaysian students also found time in their busy training schedule to experience Japanese scientific technology and culture, including a tour of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.

◆The following are comments from students who participated in the SAKURA Science Program.

・Every day was a new an interesting experience. NITech provided attentive instruction on how to conduct evaluation experiment in research labs.

・It was really exciting to actually use equipment. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity.

・The most invaluable part of this program was receiving man-to-man personalized instruction on practical use of evaluation experiments. Personally, the opportunity to learn about evaluation using this high-level equipment, will be of great assistance in obtaining a deep understanding for the importance of all analytical experiments, not just evaluation results, when conducting other forms of research.

・This outstanding program really opened my eyes to Japan, both in terms of scientific technology and culture. I really appreciated the chance to broaden my global perspective and recognize the beauty of culture.

・I would like to express my gratitude to NITech and the Japan Science and Technology Agency for making our visit possible. I am sure that the program will lead to even greater cooperation between NITech and UTM.

写真5 Powder X-ray diffractometry

Although the program period was short, participating students were able to learn academic techniques for advanced evaluation of materials, and to get a taste of Japanese scientific technology and culture. It was an extremely meaningful experience for everyone involved.

Moreover, the program stimulated the motivation and interest in research felt by participating students. This is evident from the positive opinions on being able to actually use advanced equipment and to obtain new knowledge on evaluation methods. Many of the students expressed their desire to remain in Japan for a longer period of time.

写真6 At the National Museum of Nature and Science

In closing, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the SAKURA Science Program for providing us with this precious opportunity.

写真7 Discussion at presentation
写真8 Group photograph after presentation