New Energy Science and Engineering Postgraduates Publish in Advanced Functional Materials (IF: 19.924)


The Research and Postgraduate Centre congratulates Lim Yen Pei, Jason Koay Soon Chye, Prof. Chen Binghui, Asst. Prof. Dr. Haw Choon Yian and Asst. Prof. Dr. Gan Wee Chen from School of Energy and Chemical Engineering for publishing a research article in Advanced Functional Materials, a journal with an impact factor of 19.924. 

This is a collaborative research with Xiamen University, University of Auckland and University of Malaya. Dr. Haw Choon Yian and Dr. Gan Wee Chen are the articles corresponding authors.


The article can be accessed at 

With the title Modulating ZnO Growth Structures for Maximum Power Output of Hybrid Piezo/Triboelectric Nanogenerator, this study aimed to improve the output performances of hybrid piezo/triboelectric nanogenerators (H-P/TENGs) by incorporating various piezoelectric zinc oxide (ZnO) growth structures into triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). In particular, the oriented ZnO nanorod/PVA nanocomposite (ZnR) with excellent vertical alignment achieved a maximum power density of 15.9 W/m2 (~17 times higher compared to reference TENG). The vertically aligned ZnR enables large deformation when it is subjected to a vertical compression, subsequently generating a large piezoelectric polarization. Moreover, the enhancement mechanism by piezoelectric polarization is elucidated by a modified overlapped electron cloud (OEC) model and supported by Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM) measurements. The piezoelectric polarization of ZnO increases the difference in the highest electron energies () between the two triboelectric layers, driving more electrons to transfer during contact electrification (CE), thereby improving their surface charge densities.

This work shows the significance of growth structure control in maximizing the piezoelectric responses of ZnO, consequently enhancing the output performances of H-P/TENGs.





Lim Yen Pei: “It is my great honor to publish this paper in Advanced Functional Materials. I am grateful to work in a team under the supervision of Dr. Gan and Dr. Haw. They provide me with valuable guidance, support, and encouragement, which greatly improved my writing and problem-solving skills. Also, I would like to thank my peer Jason for his inspiration and contribution to this work. I hope that our research team can work harder to produce more impactful publications.


Jason Koay: “I would like to express my utmost gratitude to all parties involved in making this research successful, including Dr. Gan & Dr. Haw’s guidance, and the characterization resources provided by Prof. Huang and Dr. Goh. The experience I gained during this journey is invaluable, especially in terms of the technical knowledge and how to be determined and persevere. With this success, I am looking forward to building on this success and scaling further heights together with our research team.”


Prof. Chen Binghui received his PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Leeds in 1998. Currently, he is a full professor at the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Xiamen University, as well as the Dean of the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University Malaysia. He has won awards including the National Academic and Innovation Award and the SinoPec Science and Technology Award. His research interest is mainly in catalysis in hydrogenation and oxidation.


Dr. Haw Choon Yian serves as Assistant Professor at XMUM School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, with an adjunct appointment at the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University. He is also the Head of the Program of XMUM’s Master in New Energy Science and Engineering research program. His research interests include the synthesis of metal oxides and chalcogenides nanomaterials with tunable dimensions for renewable energy applications such as photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic water splitting hydrogen production, photothermal energy conversion, wastewater treatment, and biomedical applications.


Dr. Gan Wee Chen received his PhD in Advanced Materials from the University of Malaya. He is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University Malaysia. His research has been focused on the functional properties of soft materials including ferroelectric, piezoelectric, triboelectric, and composites.

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