Learning Experience of PhD Candidate from Cameroon in FOS

Ako Rajour Tanyi is an international student from Cameroon and a Ph.D candidate in Applied Physics, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). His research target is to achieve alternative low cost semiconductor material with higher efficiency for solar cell technology, precisely dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). This project is under the patronage of the Center for Advanced Material and Energy Sciences (CAMES) in UBD.

Environmental concerns, growing population, increasing energy demand and depleting fossil fuels, urge serious actions. Energy from the Sun is free and abundant. If 1% of the sunlight energy that reaches the Earth’s surface is converted to useful energy, the entire world will have 100 times more energy than it is currently using. This motivates us to develop nanoparticles (particles to the size of 10-9 m) to absorb more visible light in DSSC. Our group has filed a patent for a new low cost material that performs better than TiO2, a semiconductor usually used in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs); “A Method to Enhance the Efficiency of Dye Sensitized and Perovskite Solar Cell by using Mg and La co – doped TiO2 photo-anodes, US Patent Application No. 62088591”. We have also published two papers; “Evaluation of surface energy state distribution and bulk defect concentration in DSSC photoanodes based on Sn, Fe, and Cu doped TiO2,Applied Surface Science” (doi:10.1016/j.apsusc.2015.06.015) and “Enhanced efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells based on Mg and La co-doped TiO2 photoanodes, Electrochimica Acta (2015)” (doi:10.1016/j.electacta.2015.07.172).

Credit goes to the distinguished team of supervisors that pinpoint my flaws and sharpen the ideas behind this research. Special thanks to my principal supervisor, Dr. Piyasiri Ekanayake and my co-supervisors, Dr Tan Ai Ling and Adjunct Professor David James Young. Not to forget the team of lecturers, staff and laboratory technicians at UBD Faculty of Science and CAMES. This project falls in line with the noble goal to transform the sultanate to a carbon free economy. I am honored to be amongst the beneficiaries of the Graduate Research Scholarship (GRS), a benevolent gift that has provided me the opportunity to develop a career in such a wonderful field of research. This scholarship scheme also enabled me gain a 6 months internship in the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore.

One thing that strikes me the most about UBD is its zeal to foster growth in research and development by continuously acquiring state of the art research equipment and fostering collaboration with top-notch universities and research institutes. I believe studying in UBD offers unparalleled opportunities to local and international students. I should also say living on UBD campus and in Brunei Darussalam has an inexplicable uniqueness that fosters academic excellence; a perfect ground for inspiring minds. I have personally enjoyed and tap in to the diverse cultural milieu of the international and local students at UBD. I also learned a great deal and had so much fun while playing football with the UBD football team for the 2015 University Cup. It is a privilege.

Ako Tanyi in the lab