My Research Stay: Report by James Moo

James Guo Sheng Moo is a postdoctoral researcher at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where he develops his research in the area of materials chemistry for sustainability science. He received the Green Talents award in 2016 and conducted his three-month research stay under the supervision of Dr Lars Giebeler at the Institute for Complex Materials (IKM) in the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research (IFW).

I am truly thankful for the chance to be among the Green Talent awardees of 2016. The Green Talents competition has allowed me to foster my scientific career by giving me a global stage to perform. Hence, I would like to share some experiences on my research stay and the scientific journey in the summer of 2017 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany.

Germany has always been a leader of green technologies. This is especially obvious in the field of renewable energy storage research, where Germany plans to build one of the largest lithium battery manufacturing facilities for electric mobility. While I was there, I also felt a tangible and palpable air of excitement in the German scientific community as we move towards electrochemical battery storage of renewable energy. I could feel the general excitement of the research staff, towards building of knowledge and training of the people that can be employed in this endeavor in the future. This was also part of the decision to undertake research in electrochemical energy storage, which combines my knowledge of nanomaterials with renewable energy research.

I was with the group of Dr Lars Giebeler, as part of the Electrochemical Storage Group at the Institute of Complex Materials in Leibniz Institute of Solid State and Materials Research. From day one, my mentors supported me with ample tutelage and provided unfettered access to all the equipment. As part of my research stay proposal, I raised the possibility of improving next-generation lithium-sulphur batteries based on graphene, where an increment of capacities could be made possible. During the course of the project, I was given complete independence and autonomy. From conceptualization, realization and analysis of the data, I had complete control over my project. This would not have been possible without the aid of the dedicated staff and research members of the group. The laboratory was well-equipped and has several in-house customized machines, built with the considerable know-how of the researchers. The project provided new insights and for the first time I was able to make a tangible device from scratch, the ubiquitous and common battery found in our electronic devices!

The research group at Leibniz Institute is international (from five continents) and they welcomed me with open arms. Outside the office, I had the chance to participate in different group activities, for example playing soccer golf (putting soccer balls into holes) in the nature of Saxony. Basking under the summer sun and dipping into seasonal beer was an unforgettable experience. I also give special thanks to Dresden Concept, the international student team from Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials and Technische Universitat Dresden of doing an extraordinary job of hosting foreign students and researchers.
Although my three month journey has ended, the takeaways from this experience will last a lifetime. My research stay has broadened my horizons on how research at the cutting edge can be translated into the industry. A future research cooperation with Germany is within sights due to the relations that I have built up with the junior researchers and also with my group leader. Green Talents is a journey I will encourage any young researcher to undertake in Germany.

Read more about James Guo Sheng Moo.