Archive Information

(updated December 11, 2013)
(updated August 16, 2013).
Prof. Zeng has visited Shenyang Institute of Metals (Chinese Academy of Science) in Shenyang in July 23, 2013. he has given a seminar entitled "Materials Characterization at Nanoscale using Biased Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques" during the visit.
Miss Lu Wanheng has passed her Ph.D written QE in July, 2013.
Ms Wang Hongli from Beihang University, China, has joint the group as Ph.D studet from August 2013, she is under co-supervision of Prof. Zeng and Prof. L.C.Lim. Her research project will be related to "Domain structure and dynamics of piezoelectric materials". Welcome Hongli!!
Ms Li Tao has submitted her Ph.D thesis entitled "NANOSTRUCTURE, BIOPIEZOELECTRIC AND BIOFERROELECTRIC BEHAVIORS OF MOLLUSK SHELL STUDIED BY SCANNING PROBE MICROSCOPY TECHNIQUES" in August, 2013. She will continue work in the group as Research Engineer.
Four ME4 students joint the group for their Final Year Projects from August 2013 to March 2014. The students are: Devon Liew Qiao Wei, Septian Chandrika, Wong Kah Min Bradon, and Fan Shu Ning Janice. 
(updated June 11, 2013)
Dr. Zhu Jing and Dr. Amit Kumar have left the group for new job positions. We wish them success in their future career. We would also thank their contributions to the research in the group in the past few years. 
(updated Jan. 30, 2013)
Congratulations to Miss Xiao Juanxiu who has passed her Ph.D oral QE on Jan. 29, 2013. Her QE report title is: "Characterizing the Multifunctional properties of ZnO-based Thin Films by Advanced Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques".
Miss Yang Shan is going to attend written QE on March 14, 2013 together with 6 other students from Materials Group. 
(updated Jan. 20, 2013)
Congratulations to Ms Zhu Jing who has passed her Ph.D oral examination and conferred her Ph.D degree in Jan. 2013, she is now research fellow in the group.
Miss Lu Wanheng, from University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), China, has joint the group as Ph.D student from Jan. 2013. She will work in the topic related to the "Multifunctional properties of transition metal oxide materials". Welcome Wanheng!!
Miss Xiao Juanxiu will conduct her Ph.D oral QE on Jan. 29, 2013. Her Ph.D oral report title is "Characterizing the Multifunctional properties of ZnO-based Thin Films by Advanced Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques". 
(updated Nov. 16, 2012)
Mr. Siva Suri Chandra Rao Bhesetti is going to have his oral examination on Nov. 23, 2012, the title of his Ph.D thesis is "Micromechanical Behavior of Lead-free Solder Joints Developed for 3D-IC Packaging Applications".
Ms. Zhu Jing is going to have her oral examination on Nov. 26, 2012, the title of her Ph.D thesis is "Reliability and Aging Mechanisms of All-Solid-State Thin Film Lithium Ion Microbatteries". 
(updated Oct. 5, 2012)

Mr. Zhang Peng has completed his one year attachment with the group and go back to Jilin University (China) to complete his degree, we wish all of the best to Mr Zhang Peng and his study.
(updated August 15, 2012)

Five ME4 students from Mechanical Engineering Department have joint the group from August 2012 to March 2013 to complete their final year projects (FYP). The students are: Kelvin Tan Wee En; Lau Shek Kee, Muhammad Farhan B Abdul Rahman, Seah Wee Khiang, and Chen Li Zhen. In addition, one student from ESP, Huang Hejun will also conduct part of the FYP work in the group.
Ms. Zhu Jing and Mr. Siva Suri Chandra Rao Besetti have submitted their Ph.D thesis to NUS for examination.
Miss Yang Shan, from Wuhan University of Science and Technology, China, has joint the group as Ph.D student from August 2012, Yang Shan will work on the project related to the in-situ study of electrochemistry in Li-ion battery systems. Welcome Yang Shan!!

Ms Zhu Jing has changed her title to Research Engineer.

Dr. Amit Kumar has changed his position to Research Fellow at Department of Mechanical Engineering.
(updated May 28, 2012)
Ms. Xiao Juanxiu has passed her Ph.D written qualify examination (QE) today.
(updated May 7, 2012)
Due to unforeseen reasons, Miss Su Ting's attachment at group has been terminated from 2nd May, 2012. Miss Su Ting will go back to HIT to complete her degree.
(updated April 25, 2012)
Congratulation to Amit who passed his Ph.D thesis oral examination in April. 2012.
(updated April 11, 2012)
Our MFP-3D SPM system is back to function now with multiple upgradings, the upgraded system is now with multifunctions, such as High Voltage PFM/ESM; Lateral PFM/ESM; Heating stage, Electrochemical cell; Band Excitation Image and Analysis; Conductive AFM, and Contact Resonance AFM (or AFAM) etc.
(updated April 5, 2012)
Dr. Jason Li, R&D Scientist from Asylum Research (Santa Barbara, CA, USA) conducted an Advanced AFM Training from April 2 to 4th at NUS, the training is focused on various new accessories and modes for the MFP-3D PFM/ESM system. 
The picture was taken after the three-day training on Advanced AFM technology by Jason Li.
(From left: Xiao Juanxiu, Li Tao, Jason Li, Zhu Jing, David Beck, Zeng Kaiyang, Amit Kumar).
(updated March 9, 2012)
Mr. Zhang Peng, a Ph.D student from Department of Materials Science, Jilin University, China, joint the group in Oct 2011 for 12 month as visiting student, he will work on project of "crack and micro-structure of seashells".
Congretulations to Chen Lei who passed his Ph.D thesis oral examination in Jan. 2012.
Our SPM machine will be sent back to Asylum Research (USA) for a major upgrading during March 12 to 25, 2012.

(updated Sept. 12, 2011)
Mr. Chen Lei and Mr. Amit Kumar have submitted their Ph.D thesis on 15 August 2011.
(updated August, 11, 2011)
Mr. Chandra Rao has submitted his first draft of the Ph.D thesis and converted to part-time student, he has started work in Applied Materials Ltd from August, 2011, and is scheduled to submit his Ph.D thesis by Jan. 2012.
Ms. Xiao Juanxiu, from Sichun University, China, has joint the group as Ph.D student from August 2011, Juanxiu will work on the project related to Application of Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques to Characterize Multiferroics Materials. Welcome, Juanxiu!!
Mr. Chen Lei and Mr. Amit Kumar are going to submit their Ph.D thesis in August 2011.
Two ME4 students: Bai Yimeng and Song Yang'En are joint the group to do their Final Year Projects. 
(updated July 12, 2011)
Congratulation to Meng Fei who passed his Ph.D thesis oral examination today.
(updated July 4, 2011)
Mr. Wong Meng Fei will have his Ph.D thesis oral examination on Tuesday, July 12, 2:00pm, at E1A-04-04.

Relaxor ferroelectric single crystals of Pb(Zn1/3Nb2/3)O3-(6-7)%PbTiO3 solid solution have recently attracted considerable attention due to their superior dielectric and piezoelectric properties. This has spurred remarkable motivation to study their deformation and domain phenomena since mechanical properties directly pertain to the crystals’ reliability in piezoelectric device applications. Nanoindentation and Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM) revealed the effects of mechanical pop-in events on structural and domain distortion due to a surface deformed layer, produced during the crystal fabrication process. However, this layer could be removed by an additional polishing procedure to mirror finish. Overall quantitative analysis shows that the unpoled PZN-PT single crystals have an elastic modulus of ~110 – 120 GPa and a hardness of ~5.5 – 6.0 GPa. These properties can be better enhanced by a poling process, especially for (011)-oriented crystals. Despite better mechanical properties, the (011)-oriented crystals were more mechanically susceptible to frequency effects, compared with their (001)-oriented counterparts. On the other hand, domain studies suggested that the {110} planes were the slip planes for the PZN-PT single crystals, while the {100} planes could be special cleavage planes caused by radial cracks due to tensile hoop stress. All these finding are of considerable importance for a better understanding of PZN-PT single crystals behaviors in piezoelectric device applications.


(updated April 15, 2011)
Congratulation to Sheau Hooi who passed her Ph.D thesis oral defence today.
(updated April 5, 2011)
Ms Lim Sheau Hooi will have her Ph.D thesis oral examination on Friday, April 15, 2:00pm, at E5-03-19.

Synthesis and Micro-mechanical Properties of Epoxy-Alumina Nanocomposites


It has been long time, but still continuous, for research and engineers to search and study the process, structure and properties of polymer nanocomposites, mainly because of their unique properties such as high strength-to-weight ratio. Many studies have shown that the incorporation of nano-sized particles have effectively reinforced the various properties of the polymers compared to that of the micron-sized particles reinforcement at the same percentage of particle loading. However, the effects of nano-sized particles depend strongly on the type, morphology, shape, size, amount, surface characteristic and the distribution of the particles incorporated into the polymer matrix. Therefore, it is essential to establish a polymer nanocomposite system that yields better properties without compromising other unique means of the polymer.

In this project, a series of epoxy-alumina nanocomposites with different particle shapes, sizes and surface chemistry were developed. This project was carried out in three phases. In phase one, six different type of epoxy-alumina nanocomposites was successfully synthesized using solvent assisted method. Characterization studies were then carried out in phase two to determine the microstructure and mechanical properties of the epoxy-alumina nanocomposites. The results revealed that alumina particles with platelet shapes that treated with acid surface modifier were yielded the best overall properties.

Phase three of this project focused on micro-mechanical properties characterization using nanoindentation technique. This was aimed to understand the mechanical properties of epoxy-alumina nanocomposites at localized micron to nano-meter scales. Compared to conventional mechanical testing techniques, nanoindentation technique provides measurements that allow the surface characterization on small specimen in simple and non-destructive way. The mechanical properties at specific location could be quantitatively correlated with the microstructure of the nanocomposites. Nanoindentation tests were conducted with different strain-ratesindentation depths and holding time durations. The result showed that nanoindentation technique is capable of determining the time- and rate- dependent properties of epoxy-alumina nanocomposites. A semi-empirical method based on elastic-viscoelastic-viscous model (EVEV) was used to characterize the viscoelastic behavior of nanocomposites. The creep equation from EVEV model is further used to derive the creep compliance of nanocomposites. Finally, the creep compliance was used to study the stress relaxation modulus of the nanocomposites. The results show that the creep compliance is useful in determining the localized creep behavior and the time-dependent mechanical properties (i.e, elastic modulus and hardness with time) of the material.

The characterization results in this project convincingly show that epoxy-alumina nanocomposites can lead to simultaneous improvement in various mechanical properties. The nanoindentation technique, in essence, indicates that this method can be applied to study the hardness, elastic modulus and viscoelastic (time- and rate- dependent) properties of epoxy-alumina nanocomposites under quick and simple manner. These findings will hence benefit both the plastic and characterization industry significantly.


(Updated April 5, 2011)


Mr. Chen Lei has submitted his first draft of thesis and started work as Research Engineer at Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), Singapore.
(updated March 4, 2011)
Ms. Li Tao has passed her Ph.D oral QE today. 
(updated March 2, 2011)
Ms. Su Ting, a Ph.D student from Department of Physics, Harbin Institute of Technology (China), sponsored by China Scholarship Council (CSC), joint the group as a joint Ph.D student from March 1, 2011 for 2 years (24 month). She will work on the project of "Electromechanical coupling phenomena of ZnO film studied by Scanning Probe Force Microscopy techniques". Welcome Ms. Su Ting!
Ms. Li Tao will conduct her Ph.D oral QE on March 4th, 2011.
(updated Jan. 24, 2011)
Mr. Wong Meng Fei has submitted his Ph.D thesis for examination on Jan. 21. His thesis is entitled: MICROMECHANICAL PROPERTIES AND DOMAIN STRUCTURES OF PZN-PT PIEZOELECTRIC SINGLE CRYSTALS.
The three SRP groups students have finished their attachment and the projects will be presented at SSEF 2011 in March at Singapore Science Center.
(updated Sept 24)
Ms. Li Tao has completed the Ph.D written QE in June.
Mr. Wong Meng Fei is on postgraduate student exchange program and currently at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Toronto until Dec. 31, 2010.
Congradulations to Chandra Rao who has been awarded to the Best Oral Paper Award (Symposium F) in IUMRS-ICEM 2010 which was hold in Seoul, Korea, during August 22 - 25, 2010. His presentation is entitled on "Effect of nano-sized Molybdenum particle on low cycle fatigue behaviour of SnAgCu solder alloy".
Six ME4 students have joined the group in August for their Final year projects (August 2010 to May 2011). They are: Ms. Choo Lay Yoong, Ms. Chua Pei Sian, Mr. Li Hao, Mr. Tan Jiancong, Ms. Wang Rong, Mr. Zhang Zhongkun. 
Ms. Lim Sheau Hooi has submitted her Ph.D thesis for examination in August 22. 
(updated June 22)
Ms. Li Tao is going to have her Ph.D written QE on Tuesday, June 29.
Two SMP groups students have completed their projects in June 2010 and will present their results on the 16th Youth Science Conference in 18th Sept 2010. at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. 
Three SRP groups students are attached to the group from June to Dec. 2010. They are:
1. Adithya Raghnnathan and Shen Chuanqi from RI (College).
2. Huang Yin from VJC.
3. Dang Thuy Linh from HCI (College)
(updated May 18)
Congratulation to Kong Boon who passed his Ph.D thesis oral defence today.
Ms. Zhu Jing has passed her Ph.D oral QE on May 13.
One ME3 student, Mr. Zhang Zhongkun is attached to the group for vacation internship from May 10 to July 31, he will then continue to do Final Year Project (FYP) with the group from August. He is working with Meng Fei on using SPM to characterize ZnO films.
(Updated May 5)
Mr. Yeap Kong Boon will have his Ph.D oral examination on Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 2pm at EA-06-04.



The objective of this thesis is to develop a simple experimental technique and a straight forward analysis procedure that can accurately measure the interfacial strength and toughness of the submicron thin film structures. Following the hypothetical operations of indentation-induced interface delamination introduced by Marshall and Evans, the analytical solution for interface toughness in terms of strain energy release rate is derived, where the indentation induced stress, σo is found to be linearly proportional to the volume ratio of indentation volume and the volume of the film above the interface crack. Applications of the experiments and analysis of the wedge indentation method on low-k films and Ruthenium dioxide film have shown accurate and repeatable results. Furthermore, the results are consistent with the interfacial energy determined from the finite-element simulation of the wedge indentation induced delamination. In addition, the time-dependent fracture properties of the low-k films are studied using the wedge indentation method. It is found that the chemical structure of the low-films has great influences on the crack growth during wedge indentation test. The wedge indentation tests on BlackDiamond (BD) films at ambient environment show that time-to-failure decreases exponentially with holding load, and a linear relation exists between loading rate and the onset of time-dependent fracture. On the other hand, the methysilsesquoxane (MSQ) film is relatively unaffected by the environment.

(Updated April 27)
Miss Zhu Jing will have her Ph.D oral qualify examination on Thursday, May 13, 2010.
(Updated April 14)
Dr. Zeng Kaiyang has promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure from Jan. 1, 2010.
Sheau Hooi has submitted the first draft of her thesis, and start working at Infineon Pte Ltd from April 12.
(Updated March 12, 2010)
Three gorup of JC students who have been attached to our group dring 2009 have participated in this year's Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF 2010) on March 10 and 11 at Singapore Science Center. Congradulations to the groups who have won the Merit award in this year's SSEF:
        From Hwa Chong Institution (HCI): Weng Jue and Quan Chengzhang, on their project: "Electromechanical coupling of
        polymeric films studied by using Piezoresponse Force Microscopy", Science Research Programme (SRP) 2009, during the
        period of June 2009 to Jan. 2010. 
        From Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH): Lin Qianying, Lim Seok Ting, and Teh Ying Shi, on their project: "The study of the
        deformation mechanisms of bulk metallic glasses", Science Mentorship Programme (SMP) 2009, during the period of Jan. to
        July 2009. 
(Updated Jan. 26, 2010)
Mr. Yeap Kong Boon has submitted his Ph.D thesis entitled "Characterization of Interfacial Mechanical Properties using Wedge Indentation Method" to NUS on Jan. 20. He will work as postdoctoral research fellow at Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing, Dresden, Germany, from March, 2010.
The three groups of SRP and JTDP students have completed their research attachment and submitted their reports for SSEF 2010, SRP 2010 and JTDP 2009, respectively.
New SMP 2010 programme has started, two groups of students, one group from NUS High School of Maths and Sciences (NUSHS) and one group from Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH) are attached to our research group from Jan. to June 2010 for SMP 2010. 
        The NUSHS group students are: Soo Wah Ming Wayne, Ang Yu Jian and Neo Wei Hsien Nicholas, they will continue the
        JTDP project performed by Zhang Naifu and Lou Yu Xiang (HCI).
        The NYGH group students are: Wong Wan Qing Elizabeth, Lim Wan Rong Michelle, and Tan Ying Ting Cherie, they will
        continue the JTDP project perform by Liu Yixuan and Cao Li (NJC).  
(Updated Nov.4, 2009)
Congradulations to Chen Lei for being awarded The President's Graduate Fellowship (PGF) by NUS Board of Graduate Studies.
(Updated August 14, 2009)
Ms. Li Tao, graduated from Mechanical Engineering Department, NUS on July 2009, joined the group as a Ph.D student, she will work on a project related to electrical-mechanical study of biological systems.
(Updated July 8, 2009)
Prof. Alexander Korsunsky, University of Oxford, is on his sabbatical leave at ME department at NUS from July to Sept, 2009. He will work with our group on numbers of research topics, he will also give one postgraduate module in August and Sept. His two Ph.D students, Mr. Xu Song and Felix Hofmann are also with him at NUS. Felix will stay for one week and Xu will stay for three month at NUS.
During June 29 and July 2, all of the group members attended International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT 2009), at Suntec City, Singapore. Chen Lei, Chandra, Amit, Meng Fei, Sheau Hooi, Zhu Jing and Kong Boon have presented their research in Symposium U: Mechanical Behavior of Micro- and Nano-scale Systems (See Conference Presentations for update).
Mr.Amit Kumar and Mr.Chandra Rao have passed their Ph.D oral QE last month, and Ms. Zhu Jing has passed Ph.D written QE last month.
(Updated May 29, 2009)
Two students from Hwa Chong Institution, Zhang Naifu and Lou Yu Xiang, are attached with group under 2009 Junior Talent Development Program (JTDP) from June to Dec. 2009. They will conduct a research project on "Nanoscale Structure and Coupled Properties of Piezoelectric/ferroelectric Materials".
Two students from National Junior College, Liu Yixuan and Cao Li, are attached with group under 2009 Junior Talent Development Program (JTDP) from June to Dec. 2009. They will conduct a resaerch project on " Nanoscale Electromechanical Study of the Structure and Properties of Seashells".
(Updated May 22, 2009)
Mr. Chandra Rao will have his Ph.D oral qualify examination on Monday, June 8, 2009.
(Updated May 13, 2009)
Ms. Zhu Jing will have her Ph.D written qualify examinatio on Thursday , May 28. 2009. Mr. Amit Kumar will have his Ph.D oral qualify examination on Friday, May 29, 2009.
(Updated May 13, 2009)
We had our month group meeting on May 12, 2009. Mr. Chandra Rao presented his work on Processing and Mechanical Characterization of Lead-free solder bump for microelectronic applications. Mr. yeap Kong Boon has briefly reported his trip to attend MRS spring conference in US in April.
(Updated May 13, 2009)
One ME3 student, Ms. Ye Xiu Yin is attached to the group during the period of May 11 to July 31 to perform Reesearch Based Vacation Internship (RBVIP). She will work together with Meng Fei on using of Piezo-response Force Microscopy to some biological materials.
(Updated May 13, 2009)
Two students from Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), Weng Jue and Quan Chengzhang, are attached to the group from June to Dec 2009 under the Science Research Program organized by NUS, Faculty of Science, they will conduct a research project on "Nanoscale Structural Image of Advanced Materials".
(Updated April 13, 2009)
We had our regular group meeting on April 7. 2009, Mr. Amit Kumar presented his work on Determination of elastic modulus and hardness of the thin films by nanoindentation. Mr. Yeap Kong Boon presented his revised talk on wedge indentation of thin film which will be given at MRS Spring conference this week at US.
(Updated March 11, 2009)
We had group meeting on March 10, 2009, Mr. Wong Meng Fei presented his work on Characterization of piezoelectric single crystal materials (PZN-PT) using Piezo-response Force Microscopy technique. Mr. Yeap Kong Boon presented his talk on wedge indentation of thin film which will be given on April in MRS April Conference in US.
(Updated Feb. 20, 2009)
SMP (Science Mentorship Programme) 2008 Project - Reliability and Interface Properties of low-k Stacks, performed by students from Raffles Institute (RI), Lin Sen, Li Kewei and Ervin Seow Yi-Wen, has been awarded of "Certificate of Distinction" and "3M  Best Poster Awards" in 2008 Youth Science Conference, and is shortlisted for presentation in SSEF 2009 (Singapore Science and Engineering Fairs) in March.
JTDP (Junior Talent Development Programme) 2008/09 Project - Analysis of nanoindentation of multilayer low-k stacks, performed by a student from Victoria Junior College (VJC), Xu Pianhan, has been awarded of "Top Research Paper Award" in Feb. 2009.
JTDP (Junior Talent Development Programme) 2008/09 Project - Intermetallic layer formation and kinetics in lead-free solders on Ni/Au and OSP substrates, performed by a student from Victoria Junior College (VJC), Zhou Yixin, is shortlisted for presentation in SSEF 2009 in March.
JTDP (Junior Talent Development Programme) 2008/09 Project - Mechanical properties and reliability of low-k multilayer stacks, performed by students from Temasek Junior College (TJC), Xia Xinyu and Xu Yijiu, is shortlisted for presentation in SSEF 2009 in March.
(Updated Jan. 29, 2009)
Mr. Saurabh Mandar, ME4 student, join our group for his final year project (FYP) in Jan. He will perform his FYP on "Fracture toughness of polymer nanocomposites" together with Sheau Hooi, from Jan. to Nov. 2009.
(Updated Jan. 28, 2009)
Two groups students from Nanyang Girls High School (NYGH) are attached with our group from Jan. to July 2009 on MoE Science Mentorship Program (SMP 2009). One group of students: Lin Qianying, Lim Seok Ting, and Teh Ying Shi will perform the project of "Study of deformation mechanisms of amorphous alloys". Other group of students: Gao Helin and Xia Jingyi will perform the project of "Nanoindentation creep analysis of polymeric materials".
(Updated Jan. 28, 2009)
Prof. Jiang Jianzhong, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, is visiting Department of Mechanical Engineering, NUS from Jan.8, 2009 to Fab. 6, 2009 under the support of NUS inbound visiting fellowship program. Prof. Jiang is also visiting Dept. of Mat. Sci., IMRE, Dept. of Physics, and SSLS during this period, he is also giving semenars at Dept. Mech. Eng., IMRE and Dept. of Physics. Prof. Jiang is also continuous some collaboration project with Dr. Zeng's group on the project of "Mechanical properties of bulk metallic glass materials".