Today was the second part of a 2 day intensive NTU tour. Our first stop was at the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). It seems to me that the people in Singapore like there acronyms and want to have the best looking ones compared to the rest. This was an interesting place to visit and get to see all the different technologies they have produced. My main interest here was seeing in a little diorama how all the different technologies work together to make a cleaner more efficient city. This was a nice visit as it allowed us to see the impact the research will have on the future.
After ERI@N we had 6 presentations prepared by PhD students with varying fields of research. After these presentations we were given a tour of the labs that a few of these students used. The most exciting one that i saw utilised quantum technology and form Bose Einstein condensate. This was my favourite since it had an experiment running and you could see the cloud of atoms in the centre of the apparatus.
The study tour group arrived at NTU in the morning for another day of presentations.
We were greeted by Prof. Choo Fook Hoong who was a part of the energy research institute at NTU.
He gave us an introduction about the institute and how it was the cross-link which works with school of materials science and engineering which we visited yesterday. We were given another six specialist lectures by graduates and research fellows. The topics were solar energy, fuel cells, and energy storage. More specifically Perovskite solar cells, Novel materials for high efficiency Perovskite based solar cells, as the solar energy. The role of electronic properties of platinum and platinum alloys for enhanced reformate electro-oxidation in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, and electrical properties of Gadolinium doped Ceria, as fuel cell research. Finally then it was, Fundamental studies on Vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) cathodes for Lithium ion batteries, and carbon based electrodes for Vanadium redox flow.
Following those presentations we went to some project displays where they showed us some of the technology they have researched and are currently using. This included running cold water through pipes in the roof to cool rooms hence saving power, heat transfer stations and highly efficient evaporative air-conditioning techniques, DC power grids for homes, and building-wide monitoring.
We then had lunch put on for us, a complementary lunch is always nice. Soon after we took a bus over to the school of physical and mathematical sciences (SPMS)
The presentations we were then given were better presented so I was able to listen easier. The first was an introduction to SPMS with information about their scholarships. Soon the post-docs gave their presentations which started off with “Transformation optics/thermal cooling”. This presentation was essentially about bending light around objects to make them invisible using meta materials and using metal in a specific way to be able to hide thermal anomalies as heat camouflage. The second was “Laser cooling”, counterintuitive but self explanatory. Next was about The Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies (CDPT) and cognitive photons. The last for that day was about Milikelvin (really cold) system for cold atoms and superconductors.
We then broke for coffee where we could speak with the presenters. Which was followed by visits to the SPMS laboratories which had lots of lasers. One laboratory was isolating and cooling atoms to a point where their wave function merged as they became one object. They were testing its properties.
On our sixth day of the study tour we once again spent our entire day at NTU (Nanyang Technological University) as we did yesterday. This time however we visited two different places at NTU.
Our first stop for the day was the beautiful new CleanTech One building which is home to the Energy Research Institute @ NTU, or ERI@N for short. ERI@N is a research centre which main focuses are on energy storage, fuel cells, sustainable building technologies, maritime energy, solar energy and solar fuels, wind and marine renewables, and electric cars. They strive to make a cleaner and greener future for the world. The CleanTech One building that they are located in even hosts some of the technology that they have created. Some of the products they have created include dehumidification cooling, wireless temperature gauges for around your house or building to monitor trends, and even electric cars. Their own building uses evaporative cooling that is in the tiles of the ceiling, rather than have air blown into only certain areas, therefore the room is cooled more evenly. The roof of the CleanTech One building is covered in solar powers, however they do not generate enough solar power to power the whole building, so on a lower level they have fuel cells which generate much of the other power needed. It was great to see the company not only work towards a more efficient and environmentally friendly future, but to actually use their own technology to show that it works effectively.
After visiting some of ERI@N’s labs around CleanTech One, we had six PhD students present their research to us to show what you can achieve whilst working at ERI@N. Similarly, after lunch we went to the school of physical and mathematical science where six of their PhD students presented their research. After hearing all about their research, we got to see where some of their research takes place. My favourite thing that we saw was a machine that uses quantum technology and lasers to cool down atoms and be able to catch them within a magnetic field. It was amazing to actually be able to see the cloud of atoms caught within the field. The machine itself was also visually stunning, as you would hope so for something that costs three to four million dollars.
After this all of the nanotechnology students from La Trobe were signed off and we were able to explore singapore for the weekend.