BS Physics-MSE student Aliena Miranda of AdMU receives award at MSE Summit 2018 research fair in UP Diliman

April 20, 2018
By: 
Quirino Sugon Jr

Aliena Mari P. Miranda (5 BS Applied Physics with Materials Science Engineering) of Ateneo de Manila University was awarded Best in Oral Presentation (undergraduate cluster) at the Materials Science and Engineering Summit 2018 Research Fair held last 16-17 March 2018 at the Engineering Theater of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Miranda’s research was entitled, “Green synthesis of Fe2O3/graphene and MnO2/graphene nanocomposites for supercapacitor electrodes,” under the supervision of Dr. Erwin P. Enriquez of the Department of Chemistry of Ateneo de Manila University. Of the five participants in the Research Fair, four are from Ateneo de Manila University. The two-day summit, with the theme “Sinagtala: A Focus on the Innovations of Philippine Materials,” has four events: Olympiad, ProdExpo, Career talks, and Research Fair.

Below is an interview with Aliena Mari P. Miranda by Ateneo Physics News:

1. How did you arrive at Ateneo de Manila University from high school?

I’m from Pasig City Science High School. I entered the Applied Physics/MSE program because I was interested in working on nanotechnology. Studying in a science high school helped cultivate my interest in the sciences, and luckily I was granted a scholarship to the Ateneo so I could pursue this interest.

2. What is the significance of your research?

With rampant pollution and limited resources, there is high interest in producing energy storage using environmentally-friendly methods and abundant materials. One device of interest is the supercapacitor, which, unlike the conventional dielectric capacitor, makes use of an electrolyte separated by a porous membrane. The electrodes have to be conductive, and have to have a high surface area to increase the energy it stores. Metal oxides such as iron oxide and manganese oxide have high specific capacitances but they suffer from low conductivity and low surface area. To address this, these metal oxides can be deposited in nanoparticle form onto graphene to increase their surface area and conductivity. The research shows that effective supercapacitor electrodes made of metal oxide-graphene nanocomposites can be created using green synthesis methods such as direct exfoliation and microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis, addressing the need to replace energy-intensive methods and toxic reagents. It also shows that iron oxide and manganese oxide increase the specific capacitance of graphene as the nanocomposites had higher specific capacitances compared to plain graphene.

Read more in Ateneo Physics News.