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[Vol.20] The Leader in Developing New Shielding Material Guarding against Electromagnetic Waves (Faisal Shahzad, UST-KIST Campus, Nanomaterials Science and Engineering Major / Doctoral Course)

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  • Registration Date : 2016-12-28

As TVs, microwave ovens, smartphones, and other electronic devices are present everywhere today, the risk of exposure to electromagnetic waves is increasing. Recently, KIST research team has succeeded in developing new materials that can effectively block electromagnetic waves through joint research with Drexel University in the US. The study was published online in the September issue of the international academic journal the Science. We met with Faisal Shahzad, who participated in the research.



Q. You have received the attention of academia and the media for the development of new electromagnetic shielding material. Please tell us about how do you feel when you heard your paper was accepted in the journal.

This was a great news for our group and naturally we feel very honored and excited about this.

My biggest achievement was to explore a new property in two dimensional transition metal carbides (MXenes), which was much better in performance than the existing other materials.

Existing EMI materials involves metals or traditional thick polymer composites. MXene can deliver better EMI shielding performance even though it is lighter in weight and 1000 times thinner than the competing other materials. The ability to process into thin films by any means such as spray coating gives these materials a huge advantage over other materials.



Q. How did you come up with the idea of using 'MXene' as a material to effectively and efficiently block electromagnetic waves?

EMI shielding basically depends a lot on electrical conductivity of the materials. The higher the electrical conductivity, better the EMI shielding will be. I was working on graphene based materials in my early semesters. However, we were in pursuit of such materials which are more conductive than the graphene and which are easily processable. In between, luckily, we get the chance to start a collaboration work with Prof. Yury Gogotsi group (Their group invented the MXene materials in 2011) at Drexel University, United States. Since MXene possess excellent intrinsic electrical conductivity, we expected that this material may show good performance. After we received encouraging pre-test results, we then moved on to develop this study into a solid science.



Q. What was your specific role in the study?

My specific role was to investigate the electrical conductivity and EMI shielding performance of MXene films and MXene polymer composites. We conducted dozens of experiments to validate, analyze and compare the results with previous published data. As this was the first ever report on EMI shielding of MXenes, I was specifically given the task to compare the results with all of the previous EMI results of any material reported till date. For this, I explored hundreds of previous results/research papers and compare them with ours to prove that MXenes are the best synthetic EMI shielding materials produced to date.





Q. Please let me know if there are interesting episodes that are memorable in your research.

After the paper was accepted, we were asked to make a small animation related to our research. Subsequently, the news of our research get online on several websites and on South Korean national TV- KBS News, YTN News. I was personally contacted by national TV of Pakistan (my home country), the PTV News for interview recording. This brought lot of joy and happiness among many of the Pakistani students and public who send congratulatory messages to me and my professor. All of this experience was very nice and adorable.



Q. Who was the biggest contributor to your research? Please leave a word of thanks to him/her through this interview.

This was a team effort and I will specially thank Prof. Yury Gogotsi and my advisor Prof. Chong Min Koo for their outstanding guidance, support and encouragement throughout the work. I will also like to mention the names of Mohamad Alhabeb, Chritine B. Hatter and Babak Anasori for their timely responses, great contribution and active participation throughout the research work.





Q. Please tell me about your future research plans and career aspirations.

I will like to synthesize and explore new 2D MXene material for variety of applications such as batteries, supercapacitors, EMI shielding, thermal conductivity, biosensing etc. I will like to be a part of good research group in government research institute or at a university, and participate in KIST-Alumni research programs.



Q. Any final comment for readers?

For the UST readers, I will say, the success comes with patience, self-motivation and persistent hard work. You need to be pro-active, equip yourself with up to date knowledge/literature survey of your field and put first things first.