October 28, 2023

Our joint research with Dr. Annie Ng's group (SEDS) was published in Surfaces and Interfaces (Elsevier) under the title "Synergic effects of incorporating black phosphorus for interfacial engineering in perovskite solar cells" This work shows that incorporating black phosphorus (BP) nanoflakes at the interface between the SnO2 electron transport layer (ETL) and the perovskite active layer in perovskite solar cells (PSCs) can improve the performance and stability of PSCs. The BP nanoflakes can improve film quality, charge transport, and defect passivation. The authors describe the fabrication process of PSCs with and without BP nanoflakes and use various techniques to characterize the morphology, composition, electrical, optical, and photovoltaic properties of BP nanoflakes and PSCs. They present experimental results and discuss the mechanisms of BP nanoflakes to enhance PSCs. They show that BP nanoflakes can reduce the surface roughness of SnO2 ETL, increase the crystallinity and reduce the residual PbI2 of perovskite films, facilitate electron extraction and reduce interface recombination, and improve device efficiency and stability. They also optimize the concentration of BP nanoflakes to achieve the best performance. The authors conclude that interfacial engineering with BP nanoflakes is a simple and effective approach to improve PSCs. They achieve a champion device with 20.3% efficiency with negligible hysteresis and increased lifetime. They suggest that BP nanoflakes can be applied to other types of PSCs to further improve them.

To read the full article, you can access it through this link.

October 23, 2023

We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Yerbolat and Diana Suleimenova for their remarkable achievement in publishing an article titled "Efficient one-step synthesis of a Pt-Free Zn0.76Co0.24S counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells and its versatile application in photoelectrochromic devices" in the Nanomaterials (MDPI). In this work, we synthesized a ternary transition metal sulfide denoted as ZCS-CE) using a one-step solvothermal method and explored its potential as a Pt-free counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells. The outcomes of our study reveal that ZCS-CE exhibited superior electrocatalytic activity and remarkable stability when compared to platinum in I/I3 electrolyte systems. Moreover, the DSSCs utilizing ZCS-CE as a counter electrode demonstrated power conversion efficiencies on par with their platinum-based counterparts. What's even more remarkable is our successful expansion of the application of ZCS-CE. We harnessed its power to successfully operate an electrochromic cell, thereby broadening the horizons of its potential applications. This work serves as a testament to the remarkable versatility of ZCS-CE, positioning it as a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to platinum-based counter electrodes not only in DSSCs but also in various applications necessitating exceptional electrocatalytic performance. 

To read the full article, you can access it through this link.

October 4, 2023

We would like to congratulate Diana Suleimenova, our visiting Ph.D. student from Eurasian National University, for publishing an article entitled "Unveiling the potential of MnxCo3-xS4 electrocatalyst in triiodide reduction for dye-sensitized solar cells" in the Bulletin of the Karaganda University. In this work, a MnxCo3-xS4 based counter electrode was successfully synthesized using a facile solvothermal synthesis technique. The photovoltaic measurements performed on the dye-sensitized solar cells showed a remarkable improvement in energy conversion efficiency with the MnxCo3-xS4 counter electrode (8.60%) compared to the conventional Pt (8.11%). Moreover, the MnxCo3-xS4 counter electrode exhibited excellent stability, further highlighting its potential as an efficient and durable alternative to Pt in dye-sensitized solar cells. Overall, the results contribute to the further development of Pt-free counter electrode materials for sustainable solar energy applications.

To read the full article, you can access it through this link.

September 30, 2023

We would like to congratulate Dr. Enoch on the publication of an article in the prestigious Journal of Hazardous Materials entitled "Ultrasensitive fluorescent carbon dot sensor for quantification of soluble and insoluble Cr(VI) in particulate matter." This article presents the use of f-CDs as a sensor for the detection of soluble and insoluble Cr(VI) species in particulate matter. The f-CDs showed high sensitivity and selectivity for Cr(VI) ions over other interfering ions commonly found in air samples. The detection limit for total Cr(VI) was 0.32 ng/m³ air, while the detection limit for soluble Cr(VI) was 0.031 ng/m³ air. The results were verified by a conventional ion chromatography-ultraviolet spectrometry method (IC-UV).

To read the full article, click on this link

September 1, 2023

Dr. Mannix P. Balanay was recently appointed as an Editorial Board Member to the prestigious Nano Research Energy. Nano Research Energy is an international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed (single-blind) journal published quarterly by Tsinghua University Press and published exclusively on SciOpen. NRE publishes high-quality original research papers and important review articles in open-access form on advanced nanomaterials and nanotechnology for energy. It is dedicated to exploring various aspects of energy-related research that utilize nanomaterials and nanotechnology, including but not limited to energy generation, conversion, storage, conservation, clean energy, etc. The journal recently achieved a 2022 CiteScore of 13.2, placing it in the first quartile in Chemistry (miscellaneous) (5/64, 92%), Materials Science (miscellaneous) (12/120, 92%), and Energy (miscellaneous) (7/54, 87%).

For submission guidelines, click this link and to submit a manuscript, click this link. NRE is a subsidized open access journal where TUP pays for the publishing costs incurred by the journal. Authors do not have to pay any Article Processing Charge or Open Access Publication.

August 8, 2023

Our collaborative research with Prof. Capangpangan from MSU-Naawan (Philippines), conducted within the framework of the DOST-PCIEERD funded project, has been successfully published. The paper, titled "Predicting cytotoxicity of engineered nanoparticles using regularized regression models: An in silico approach" delves into an extensive study aimed at forecasting the cytotoxicity of diverse engineered nanoparticles, encompassing variations like organic, inorganic, and carbon-based compositions. This forecasting endeavor relies on the application of regularized regression models, including ridge regression, lasso regression, and elastic net regression, utilizing two distinct comprehensive datasets. A significant outcome of our study is the unequivocal demonstration that all constructed models effectively extend their predictive capabilities to uncharted data points. Moreover, our investigation spotlights the identification of the ten most influential descriptors, which encompass critical factors such as cell type, synthesis methodology, material constitution, cell source, and the presence of coatings or functional groups. These descriptors notably underscore their pivotal roles in steering nanoparticle cytotoxicity. The results of our study markedly emphasize the substantial potential of these developed models in facilitating the strategic design and selection of nanoparticles that can be considered safe for a wide spectrum of applications. You can access her paper at this link.

July 20, 2023

The 'Climate x' Leadership Training Program 2023, co-organized by the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) and the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA), successfully conducted an online workshop focused on the critical interface between climate and health. During this session, Dr. Mannix Balanay delivered a presentation titled "ClimaCare: A Planetary Prescription for Climate and Health" Dr. Balanay spoke about the links between climate change and human well-being and highlighted the transformative potential of chemistry in addressing these challenges. He emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive action to mitigate climate-related risks and promote a healthier future for our planet and its inhabitants. In addition, he emphasized the central role of chemistry in unraveling the intricate links between climate change and human health. By using a variety of chemical processes and analyses, researchers can gain crucial insights into the causes, consequences, and potential remedies for climate change and its impact on health. link 

July 1, 2023

We are pleased to announce the publication of a paper by our Ph.D. student, Gulzat Nuroldayeva, in the journal Polymers. Titled "Flexing the Spectrum: Advancements and Prospects of Flexible Electrochromic Materials," the paper provides a comprehensive overview of the current state and future directions of electrochromic materials. These materials can change color and transparency in response to electric stimuli and have promising applications in smart windows, displays, sensors, and wearable devices. Gulzat has done an excellent job summarizing the recent advances and challenges in this field, as well as highlighting the potential environmental and social benefits of flexible electrochromic materials. We congratulate Gulzat on her achievement and look forward to reading more of her work in the future. You can access her paper at this link.

June 13, 2023

We are thrilled to announce the publication of our 3rd book chapter in the prestigious ACS Symposium Series. In this chapter, we explore the fascinating realm of polymeric foam for sensors, highlighting its remarkable advantages. With its cost-effectiveness, flexibility, wearability, and ease of processing, polymeric foam has emerged as a compelling choice. Notably, its exceptional sensitivity has garnered significant interest from researchers across diverse scientific and technological fields. We invite you to access the chapter online at this link. By delving into the intricacies of polymeric foam for sensors, we aim to provide valuable insights and contribute to the scientific community's knowledge base. Join us in celebrating the outstanding work and contributions of Dr. Bakhytzhan and Dr. Yerbolat. Their dedication and expertise have propelled this achievement, strengthening our commitment to advancing sensor technology.

June 10, 2023

We wholeheartedly congratulate our esteemed graduates who have come from our laboratory. This memorable occasion is of special significance to us as it marks a remarkable milestone in the history of our laboratory. We are proud that for the first time a group of talented individuals have completed their academic careers under the guidance of our laboratory, which makes this achievement even more remarkable. We admire their unwavering commitment, their relentless pursuit of knowledge, and the significant contributions they have made to the research efforts of our laboratory. It is with great pride and pleasure that we celebrate this remarkable group of graduates and look forward to the extraordinary impact they will make in their respective fields as they begin the next chapter of their journey. Dr. Enoch (2nd from left) will join Prof. Lee's lab, while Dias (left) and Sherif (right) will continue their PhD work in our lab. 

March 28, 2023

We are pleased to announce that our 2nd book chapter, authored by our colleagues Dr. Bakhytzhan, Dr. Yerbolat and Dr. Mannix, has been published in CRC Press under the title "Metal Oxide-Based Flexible and Wearable Sensors". This chapter reviews recent advances and challenges in the design and fabrication of metal oxide-based flexible and wearable sensors for various applications. The chapter also discusses the future prospects and opportunities of this emerging research area. You can access the chapter online at this link. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Bakhytzhan and Dr. Yerbolat for their outstanding work and contribution to the scientific community. 

March 24, 2023

Our co-published article with researchers from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology, Tau fibril with membrane lipids: insight from computational modeling and simulations, was selected to appear in PLOS Showcase on Kudos. To read the full article, click this link.

PLOS Showcase is a selection of articles published in PLOS journals and explained by the authors in plain language. 

My congratulations to Dr. Prechiel, Dr. Marvin, and Dr. Christopher for this achievement.

February 26, 2023

We would like to congratulate Dr. Prechiel Barredo, now at Mindanao State University - Main Campus, Marawi City, Philippines, for publishing an invited article entitled "Recent advances in molecular dynamics simulations of tau fibrils and oligomers" at Membranes (MDPI) as part of the special issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations in Biological Membranes. In this review paper, current MD simulation studies of tau oligomers and fibrils such as tau-NPK, tau-PHF, tau-K18 and tau-R3-R4 monomers and dimers interacting in solution, lipid bilayers or lipid membrane systems are discussed for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other tauopathies. Also discussed is the dissociation of tau fibrils, which has been studied using steered MD.

To read the full article, click this link.

February 13, 2023

We welcome Najeeb S. Abdulla II, a visiting Ph.D. student from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology, who will be conducting his experimental work in the fmc² laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Mannix. Najeeb is also a member of the Department of Chemistry, Western Mindanao State University. We would also like to acknowledge the financial support from the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) under their Human Resource Development Program.

February 3, 2023

We are thrilled to announce another publication from our research group. We would like to congratulate Dr. Bakhytzhan Baptayev and Dr. Yerbolat Tashenov for publishing an article in Surfaces and Interfaces (Elsevier) entitled "Facile fabrication of ZnCo2S4@MWCNT as Pt-free counter electrode for high performance dye-sensitized solar cells". In this work, we presented a facile synthesis of ZnCo2S4@MWCNT using a two-step process: first with a spray coating on an FTO glass with MWCNT, followed by the solvothermal synthesis of the ZnCo2S4 on the MWCNT-coated FTO glass. The as-prepared film was used as a counter electrode in dye-sensitized solar cells. Under 100 mW/cm2 conditions, the ZnCo2S4@MWCNT-based composite solar cell showed an efficiency of 8.55%, which is higher than the PCE of the Pt-based DSSC control (8.19%). This remarkable result can be attributed to the low charge transfer resistance and excellent electrocatalytic activity of ZnCo2S4@MWCNT in triiodide reduction. The novel ZnCo2S4@MWCNT composite material could replace Pt in the development of low- cost and high-efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells.

To read the full article, click this link.

February 2, 2023

We would like to congratulate Enoch Adotey for publishing an article in Sensors (MDPI) entitled "N,Zn-doped fluorescent sensor based on carbon dots for the subnanomolar detection of soluble Cr(VI) ions." In this article, we report the synthesis of novel mixed-ligand luminescent carbon dots (N,Zn-CDs) using a microwave-assisted method under relatively low conditions (200°C, 30 min). The N,Zn-CDs showed their sensing ability toward Cr(VI) ions by effectively quenching the fluorescence intensity. The mechanism of Cr (VI) detection was attributed to the inner filter effect (IFE), in which there was an overlap between the absorption bands of Cr (VI) and the emission and excitation peaks of the N,Zn CDs. The XPS analyzes before and after the addition of Cr (VI) showed that the disappearance of O-H bonds from the deconvoluted oxygen peaks (O1s) led to free O2-/H+ species in the aqueous solutions, so that increased N-O appeared in the deconvoluted N1s peaks. More importantly, this free O2-/H+ species in the solution matrix led to the formation of (ZnH)+ groups (1023.5 eV). Thus, the zinc metal present in this nanomaterial played a crucial role by creating a coordination site for the H+ ions that were displaced into the matrix after the addition of Cr(VI) into the system. Overall, the chemoselective fluorescent probe showed a detection limit of 0.45 nM for Cr(VI) ions.

To read the full article, click this link.