Simulating heavy rainfall and streamflow in the Talomo watershed: a talk by BPI-DOST Science Awardee Catherine Lagare of AdDU

Image credit: Mouth of the Davao River in Talomo district by By Wolfgang Hägele – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

by Dr. Francia Avila

You are warmly invited to attend a talk on 7 June 2018, Thursday, 10:00am-11:30 a.m. at the Manila Observatory’s Heyden Hall. Ma. Catherine Lagare, an Environmental Science student from Ateneo de Davao University who qualified for this year’s BPI-DOST Science Awards, will be presenting her research, “Evaluation of WRF and WRF-Hydro Models in Simulating Heavy Rainfall and Streamflow in the Talomo Watershed: A Baseline Study for the Development of a Hydro-Meteorological Flood Forecasting System for Davao City.” Ms. Lagare is mentored by Dr. Rochelle Coronel of Ateneo de Davao University and Manila Observatory.


Flooding in Davao City due to strong streamflow is mainly induced by heavy or long rainfall events brought by monsoons, large convective systems, typhoons, and thunderstorms, which cause strong streamflow along the city’s river systems. Flooding is considered as a critical hazard that often results in the loss of life and damage to property. The increasing occurrence of river flooding in Davao City brings up the need for a hydro-meteorological forecasting system that integrates the relationship of atmospheric phenomena and the streamflow within the Davao City’s watershed area. This study aims to evaluate the performance of the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF), and the WRF-Hydrological (WRF-Hydro) models in simulating heavy rainfall and streamflow events in Davao City, respectively. The models were configured to simulate the observed intense precipitation and streamflow event in the Talomo River in 01 August 2015. A set of numerical experiments and sensitivity tests with model validation were performed to determine the optimal model setup for Davao City rainfall. The numerical run with the highest horizontal resolution and both WRF 1 (with WSM6 as microphysics scheme; New Tiedtke as cumulus scheme; RRTMG as long and short wave radiations schemes; Yonsei University as PBL scheme; Noah LSM as land surface scheme) and WRF 4 (with Goddard as microphysics scheme; Grell 3D Ensemble as cumulus scheme; RRTM as long wave radiation scheme; Dudhia as short wave radiation schemes; Yonsei University as PBL scheme; Noah LSM as land surface scheme) of WRF outperforms other test simulations. Output from WRF 1 and WRF 4 were then utilized as forcing to the hydrological model to simulate streamflow and forecast possible flood events within the city. Results from WRF-Hydro simulations show the capability of the model to recreate the observed hourly pattern of strong streamflow in the Talomo River during the first 24 hours of the simulations but had difficulty in modeling the forecasts (after 24 hours). Further tuning of the meteorological and hydrological models is needed to improve the accuracy of the output. Nevertheless, this study introduces numerical tools and baseline results to be used in developing a hydro-meteorological flood forecasting system among the major rivers of Davao City. An initial algorithm, the NWP-based Ready Assessment Flood Tool (N-RAFT), was developed to automate flood forecasting over Davao City.


Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Seminar by Dr. Valter Sergo and Dr. Vanni Lughi of University of Trieste

Dr. Valter Sergo (left) and Dr. Vanni Lughi (right) of University of Trieste

by Marienette Morales Vega, Ph. D.

The Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering would like to invite you to a seminar on Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy to be held on 04 June 2018, 10:30 a.m. at Faura Hall Room 106. The seminar consists of two talks:

  • “Nanoparticles and nanostructured materials for energy applications” by Vanni Lughi, Assistant professor of Materials, University of Trieste
  • “Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhaced Raman spectroscopy as biomedical tools: Fundamentals and applications” by Valter Sergo, Full Professor of Materials Science and Chemistry at the University of Trieste

Below are the abstracts of the talks and the profiles of the speakers.

I. Nanoparticles and nanostructured materials for energy applications

Abstract. Nanoparticles can be thought as tailorable building blocks for fabricating new materials with on-demand, tunable properties–for example by assembling them in a controlled way. The final properties of the material will depend on the mesoscale architecture of the assembly as well as on the characteristics of the nanoparticles. I will review existing approaches and some of our laboratory’s efforts for designing and realizing engineered nanoparticle architectures (“engineering nanoparticles”), as well as for utilizing them to fabricate new materials for applications in photovoltaics and biomedical-related fields (“engineering ‘with’ nanoparticles”).

About the Speaker.  Vanni Lughi is an assistant professor of materials at the University of Trieste, and holds the national academic qualification (“abilitazione”) as associate professor. He received PhD and MS degrees in Materials from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he worked on functional thin films and coatings. His current research and teaching activity at the nanoMaterials & Energy Laboratory (naME Lab) focuses on nanostructured materials for energy-related applications, such as for photovoltaic cells. Recently, he started researching more systemic and interdisciplinary aspects of photovoltaic systems and renewable energy sources. Over the past few years he has led or participated in a number of energy-related projects funded by public institutions as well as private companies.

II. Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhaced Raman spectroscopy as biomedical tools: Fundamentals and applications

Abstract. In recent years the use of Raman spectroscopy and Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for biomedical applications has been growing considerably. Intrinsically, the Raman effect is label-free and, as such, it does not introduce unwanted guests in the system under analysis. In a label-free Raman SERS approach, analytes (drugs, biomarkers, etc.) are put in contact with nanostructured metallic surfaces, (typically Au or Ag nanoparticles with suitable optical properties) generating a complex spectrum very rich in information. This fact, coupled with the rapidity of measurements and the ease of sample preparation, have paved the way for a wide spread use of these techniques in materials science, life sciences, and in medicine. In this talk an introduction to the Raman and SERS effect will be presented; then the schematic of the equipment will be outlined and then some practical case histories will be discussed: (a) Localization of hemozoin inside single red blood cells infected with malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), (b) Aging of zirconium oxide leading to catastrophic failure of ceramic hip joint prostheses, (c) Raman Mapping of the cartilage tissues and calcified cardiac valves, (d) Nanotechnologies and Raman SERS applied to quantification of low-concentration chemotherapics, and (e) Nanotechnologies, Raman SERS, and statistical analysis for screening of prostate and breast cancer.

About the Speaker. Valter Sergo is a Full Professor of Materials Science and Chemistry at the University of Trieste (Italy). He has published over 100 scientific papers, mostly in materials science and Raman spectroscopy. He has been a research associate at the University of California at Santa Barbara, at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (Japan) and has been visiting professor at the Technical University of Dresden (Germany). In the last ten years his main research focus has been on the development of medical optical diagnostic tools based on Raman spectroscopy. Presently he is one of the five Working Group leaders of the official European COST action RAMAN4CLINICS, devoted to the introduction of Raman spectroscopy in clinical practice and the member officially representing Italy in the management committee of the same EU project.

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


Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics-Materials Science Engineering, 2nd from the left) during the awarding ceremonies at the Materials Science & Engineering Summit 2018 at University of the Philippines-Diliman

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.

3. Is this research a continuation of your BS Applied Physics thesis?

This research isn’t a continuation of my BS Applied Physics thesis, so the toughest part was getting used to the lab protocols for working in a chemistry laboratory. Working in a chemistry laboratory taught me to be more meticulous with my work especially since the reagents and tools we were using could be expensive.

I did my Applied Physics thesis under Dr. Christian Mahinay at the Vacuum Coating and Plasma laboratory where I worked on the characterization of DC-magnetron argon plasma using a Langmuir probe that I designed. I decided to start a different study for my MSE thesis because I was interested in Dr. Enriquez’s work on supercapacitors. Luckily, Mark Cabello, a previous graduate student, had been working on creating metal oxide graphene nanocomposites but they were designed for dye-sensitized solar cells, so Dr. Enriquez advised me to work from there to develop supercapacitor electrodes.

4. What motivated you to join the contest?

I was motivated to join the contest because my friends and I joined the quiz bee in the same summit two years ago. Our professor in an MSE class, Dr. Jose Mario A. Diaz, told us we’d get bonus points if we won the quiz bee. Unfortunately, we didn’t win then, so I kept my eye on the summit and decided my MSE thesis was good material for the research fair. A block mate, and an org mate joined the research fair as well so we cheered for each other during the oral presentations.

Students should be encouraged to talk about their work with others so that they can get feedback from people other than their peers and teachers in their school. We got to interact with students from different universities and learn about their work, and it helped build this sense of community knowing that science is alive and well all around the country, although it could be better if more support was given and more resources were shared. One of the professors commented that I could approach them to use their facilities since I was having difficulties with characterization. Events like this MSE Summit gives me hope that science can flourish as a field in the Philippines.

5. Were you able to make it to the BPI-DOST awards?

Yes, I am one of the two awardees from the Ateneo to the BPI-DOST Science Awards. They decided to cut the nominees from three last year down to just two this year so the competition was tougher. I thought I wouldn’t make it because one of the panelists commented he didn’t understand my methodology, but somehow it worked out in the end. The results have not been announced online but we were emailed letters last week. The other awardee is Kariz Bautista, a fourth year BS Chemistry/MSE student who worked on modified nanocellulose derived from hyacinths under Dr. Jose Mario Diaz. The awarding ceremony is on 5 June 2018.

6. What are your future plans in 5 years?

I’m currently waiting for the results of my application for the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship. My blockmate and I have passed the second screening, which was under the university we’re applying to, and now we’re waiting for the results of the third screening under the Japanese Government. In the meantime, I plan to finish my reading list and pick up a few online classes. If I don’t get into the scholarship, I plan on working in the construction industry.

7. Was your paper already published?

No, my paper has not been published yet. I haven’t had the time to make my work suitable for publication, and there’s still a lot to do.

8. Any parting words?

Getting started seems tough but it’s a crucial step. Don’t let your inhibitions get the best of you. I started studying physics not really knowing what I got myself into, but I braced myself for the ride. I can’t say I’ve always been passionate for physics, but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and work through it.


Certificate of Recognition of Aliena Mari P. Miranda for winning the Best in Oral Presentation (Undergraduate Cluster) at the MSE Summit 2018 Research Fair in University of the Philippines-Diliman last 16-17 March 2018.

Erasmus+ ARTIST project for science teaching innovation at AdMU: An interview with Mr. Ivan Culaba of the Physics Department


The ARTIST partners during the kick-off meeting at University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany on January 2017. In the photo are Dr. Joel Maquiling (back row, 3rd from the left) and Mr. Ivan Culaba (back row, 2nd from the right) of the Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University. Source: Action Research To Innovate Science Teaching (ARTIST)

by Quirino Sugon Jr

Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University-Manila were chosen by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Program as its two partner universities in the Philippines for the ARTIST (Action Research To Innovate Science Teaching) project. The other eight partner universities are University of Bremen (Germany), Ilia State University (Georgia), Alpe-Adria-University (Austria), University of Limerick (Ireland), Gazi University (Turkey), Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University (Georgia), The Academic Arab College of Education (Israel), and Oranim Academic College of Education (Israel). The project coordinators are Prof. Dr. Ingo Eilks of the University of Bremen and Prof. Dr. Marika Kapanadze of Ilia State University.

The ARTIST project aims to innovate science education through classroom‐based and teacher‐driven Action Research–a cycle of innovation, research, reflection and improvement–by forming networks of higher education institutions, schools and industry partners in each partner country. The ARTIST project allows the partner universities to acquire state-of-the art audio-visual and science equipment for teacher trainings and instructions. Training materials on action research will be developed and used in workshops and courses.

Below is an interview with Mr. Ivan Culaba, manager of the ARTIST project in Ateneo de Manila University.

1. What is your role in the project?  Are there other AdMU faculty involved here? 

I am the manager of the ARTIST project in Ateneo. In the Department of Physics, Dr. Joel T. Maquiling and Ms. Johanna Mae M.  Indias are also involved in the project. Joel has accompanied me in the meetings and helped in the presentations. Joel and Johanna helped in the identification of possible industry partners. Johanna also visited the high schools for evaluation as possible network partners. Ms. Via Lereinne B. Chuavon of the Office of Social Concern and Involvement assisted us in the networking with high schools and communications with the Schools Division Office of Marikina City. I also had very constructive discussions with Mr. Christopher Peabody of the Department of Chemistry. Mr. Tirso U. Raza, of the Office of Facilities and Sustainability has assisted us in finding the source of the audio visual equipment and in the preparation of the rooms for their installation. Our technicians, Mr, Numeriano Melaya, Mr. Colombo Enaje, Jr. and Mr. Ruel Agas have been working on making the ADMU ARTIST Network Center and Physics Education Resource Center (F-230, Faura Hall) become functional.



Action Research for the Reflective Practitioner workshop at Ateneo de Manila University, 7 April 2017

3. How did you get involved in the project?


This project was conceived by Prof. Eilks and Prof. Kapanadze after their successful implementation of TEMPUS project SALiS. I met Prof. Kanapadze during the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics workshop at Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia in 2014, where she was the organizer. She invited me into the ARTIST project and I extended the same invitation to Dr. Lydia Roleda of the De La Salle University-Manila.

I became interested in the ARTIST project since we had just started with the NSTP activity wherein our Physics majors were assigned to Sta. Elena High School for the area engagements. While our students were facilitating in the high school students’ physics activities we were also engaged in the Physics training of the science teachers in the same school. We thought that the high schools would immensely benefit from the ARTIST project in line with the university’s thrust for greater social involvement and service learning.

The ARTIST project was approved by the EU commission on October 2016 but the first tranche of the budget was released on January 2017.

4. What were your ARTIST meetings in Europe all about? 

The kick-off meeting was held at the University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany on 18-20 January 2017. It was the first time that we met our collaborators in the project. The objectives of the project, deliverables, work plans, and financial management among other topics were discussed. The second meeting was held at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Vienna, Austria on 14-15 September 2017. Progress reports on the networking with schools and industries, financial status of each partner university, scheduling of the workshops, planning of the e-journal ARISE and other matters were discussed in the meeting. The EU officials were not present in the meeting.


Physics Education Resource Center (PERC) and ARTIST Network office Room F-230, Faura Hall

5. How is the Physics Education Resource Center in Faura Hall?  

I am very happy that we now have a Physics Education Resource Center (PERC) where the Physics Education group can meet and hold meetings and where the valuable lecture demonstration experiment set-ups can be displayed and made accessible to the faculty of the Department. A number of the demos have been transferred from F-229 and SEC C labs to PERC. Acquisition and development of lecture demonstration experiments will be a continuing process. The next step is the documentation of the resources so that the faculty may know what demos are available and how to use them.

The room will also serve as the office of the ARTIST project. The science equipment which will be purchased under this project will be placed in this room. We have ordered Physics equipment which are aligned to the Physics topics in Grades 7-10, although they may also be used for senior high school Physics. The list covers mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, waves and sound, optics and electromagnetism. There will also be materials which will be locally fabricated like ticker taper timers, circuit boards and Plexiglass lenses.

6. What are upcoming activities of the ARTIST project for this year?

We have held two seminar-workshops on Action Research. The first one was held on August last year in Ateneo de Manila. Prof. Maricar S. Prudente, who is an expert in Action Research, was the main speaker. The facilitators were Dr. Lydia S. Roleda, Dr. Minie Rose C. Lapinid and Dr. Socorro C. Aguja. They are all from the Science Department, Bro. Andrew Gonzales, FSC College of Education, De La Salle University. There were about ten participants from Roosevelt College, Inc. and some graduate students.

The second seminar-workshop was held recently on 7 April 2018 at Faura Hall, Ateneo de Manila. It was organized by the ARTIST team of Ateneo and De La Salle. The same team of speaker and facilitators from De La Salle University ran the seminar-workshop. A total of 31 participants from the ARTIST network of high schools – Parang High School, Sta. Elena High School, Marikina High School, Colegio de San Agustin, and graduate students in MS Science Education attended the workshop.

Another workshop on Action Research will be held on 15-18 May 2018 at De La Salle University-Manila. The ARTIST partners from Germany, Ireland, Austria, Georgia and Israel will facilitate the workshop. The first three days will be spent on understanding AR and writing AR proposals by selected teacher-participants. There will be an AR symposium, open to other teachers, on the fourth day where AR case studies will be presented.

Come October 2018 the workshop on Action Research and a meeting of the collaborators will be held in Haifa, Israel.

7. Any parting thoughts?

We hope that this project will have a positive impact on the way science is taught in the partner high schools and the lessons learned from these experiences may be adapted by other schools in the country.


Participants of Action Research for the Reflective Practitioner workshop at Ateneo de Manila University, 4 August 2017

Ateneo Physics faculty Dr. Christian Mahinay to receive Php 9 M from DOST-PCIEERD for 2 projects on thin film deposition


Dr. Christian Mahinay, Head of Vacuum Coating and Plasma Physics Laboratory of the Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University

by Quirino Sugon Jr

Dr. Christian Mahinay, Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics and Head of the Vacuum Coating and Plasma Physics Laboratory, shall receive a total of Php 9 million from the DOST-PCIEERD (Department of Science and Technology—Philippine Council for Advanced Science for two projects on thin film deposition. The duration of the projects is from 2017 to 2020:

  1. Development of direct current (DC) magnetron plasma system for carbide-based Ti-Al-C (Titanium-Aluminum-Carbon) thin film synthesis (1 June 2017 to 31 May 2019, Php 2,500,245.60). Description: New advances in surface engineering has had an emphasis in finding new materials for the thin films which have improved properties and low cost. One new kind of material used as a hard coating thin film is the MAX phase. MAX Phase thin films are a new type of material which has unique properties due to its ceramic and metallic attributes. A clean and chemical-free way of depositing these coatings is by using gaseous discharges. For this project, MAX phase thin films are coated using a DC magnetron and an RF plasma sputtering system. The vacuum coating laboratory in the Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University houses a DC magnetron device which will be utilized to synthesize carbide based MAX phase thin films. The Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (DMMME), UP Diliman, will also be synthesizing MAX phase thin films but in an RF discharge system and the thin films are nitride-based. The Japan-based collaborator for this project is with the Plasma Physics Laboratory in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Doshisha University in Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan. The industrial collaborator for this project is Beta Nanocoating Philippines Inc. which specializes in thin film hard coatings for various mechanical tools.
  2. Fabrication of Metal Oxide Thin Films for Optical Coatings with Plasma Assisted Deposition Using a Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) System (2017-2020, Php 6,568,992.40). Description: This project aims to strengthen the research capabilities of the Vacuum Coating and Plasma Physics Laboratory in the Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University. Although there are plasma systems in the laboratory, these systems are using very old power supplies and are mainly used for educational and training purposes. The laboratory would like to upgrade its research capabilities by adding a brand new system which can provide new technologies and enable publications to esteemed scientific journals. In this project a PECVD system will be designed and manufactured and the direct application for the system is the fabrication of metal oxide thin films, specifically WOx, TaO2 and MoOx, on glass substrates for optical thin film applications such as UV filters.
Below is an interview with Dr. Christian Mahinay by Ateneo Physics News:

1. How did you feel about receiving your tenure as faculty?

I was relieved when I was informed that I have been given a permanent faculty position. I was really not so sure if I will become tenured or not since I have heard stories of very accomplished faculty who were still not awarded tenure due to various reasons. I was not sure if my own accomplishments were good enough for that but thankfully they recognized it and gave me tenure.

2. You had two projects approved last year by DOST. How were you able to do it? Were they submitted at months interval or at different years?

Even though these two projects are now being implemented simultaneously, they were actually proposed at different times. Surprisingly, the MAX phase project was submitted at a much later date, around several months, compared to the other project but was the first to get approved.

The MAX phase project was originally submitted for the DOST-JSPS program which searches for scientific research work here in the Philippines that can collaborate with Japanese counterparts. We already have a good working relationship with Doshisha University and we wanted to create a formal research collaboration with them through DOST-JSPS. Unfortunately, DOST only selected one project among all of the submitted proposals and it was not ours. However, DOST recognized that our proposal was still worth investing in so they approved it as a regular DOST-GIA (Grants-in-aid) project instead of the DOST-JSPS program. This was a collaborative project between UP-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University and Doshisha University so DOST may have been confident that this project can be successfully implemented.

The other project was something that I was not expecting to get approved but it still pushed through. During the start of my second year in teaching, just right after I got my PhD degree in Physics, the Plasma Physics Laboratory in NIP, UP Diliman was unceremoniously shut down. The coordinator of that laboratory, Dr. Henry Ramos, who was also my adviser, retired already but he was eyeing to go back since he applied for a professor emeritus position. Unfortunately, the lab was still shut down and all the equipment was left inside not being used since no one was qualified to take over the lab in Dr. Ramos’ resignation.

Some of Dr. Ramos’ students, including myself, continued his legacy in doing plasma physics research when we settled in different institutions outside UP Diliman. We approached DOST if they can help us recover the equipment inside the lab from NIP and transfer them to our individual institutions. Each researcher was expected to receive one system from the lab. DOST proposed that we should write down research proposals which will make use of those equipment so that there is a rationale in pulling out the equipment from NIP and sustainably utilize those systems in our respective labs. However, during the discussion with NIP and DOST, it was found out that DOST has no control over the equipment inside NIP, hence even if our proposals will get approved, we still cannot recover the equipment.

Thus, DOST advised us that we will have to redo the proposals we wrote to include building our own systems since we can not use the ones from NIP anymore. I was already wary with the whole process but I still submitted a revised proposal and we went through the process of a technical panel presentation. Months went by without any word from DOST and I had already forgotten about that proposal. Just lately, this past July 2017, I had received word that my proposal has passed the initial stage and will now be defended in front of the DOST Governing Council (GC). I had also heard, that among all the proposals of my peers, it was only mine that was invited for the GC presentation. This was not yet a sure sign of being accepted and I was still not optimistic that it will pass through. The GC meeting went well and their major concern was the commercialization of the product made through the research. I told them that it was viable since it has already been done by the industry but not here in the Philippines.

After the GC meeting, a month passed and I was really surprised to receive an email from DOST that they have approved the project and I will just have to wait for the MOA and transfer of funds. The project officially started last October 1, 2017 but I am still waiting for the transfer of funds so we still have not done anything yet.

3. Were the equipment for the PECVD already delivered? Have you already started on this project?

It already officially started last October 1 but since we still have no funds, we have not yet purchased any equipment or materials yet.

4. How is the MAX Phase thin film deposition project going on now?

That project is doing fine and still on track with our timeline. We have already started depositing copper and aluminum on glass and silicon substrates and we are still waiting for the titanium targets so that we can deposit that one as well. The project is still in its second quarter so we are still not fabricating thin films on tools, which is the ultimate goal of the project.

5. How many students do you have in your lab right now. What projects are they working on?

I have eight undergraduate students and two graduate students. I have three additional students who are not my advisees but are part of the project staff.

Paz Ramos, my PhD student, is working on the MAX phase project. Charmiene Zafra, my MS student, is working on the atmospheric plasma jet system with her research regarding plasma treatment of polycarbonate materials. There are four more undergraduate students working on the same machine and they have different research projects such as plasma polymerization, plasma pyrolysis, and plasma treatment of corn and rice seeds. Two undergraduate students are working on the Low energy ion beam setup where they are characterizing and analyzing the properties of the plasma and ion beam generated by that plasma. Lastly, one student is doing computational theoretical ion beam physics as his research project.

6. Are you going to Japan soon or one of your students for the project? Is Prof. Wada going back again in the Philippines?

Yes, actually just recently, seven of my students got their abstracts accepted for the ISPlasma 2018 conference which will be held in Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan this coming March 4-8, 2018. One of them, Krystel Iris de Castro, even landed an oral presentation for her work. They will all be going to Japan and I will of course accompany them on their trip. We will definitely visit Doshisha University again and might even stay there for a few days.

Wada-san recently visited the Philippines to attend the 2nd International Symposium of the Vacuum Society of the Philippines (ISVSP 2018) last Jan 9-12, 2018; I was co-chair of the event. Wada-san and I had some talks regarding a MOA between the Dept. of Physics and Wada-san’s laboratory in Doshisa University.

7. Any parting thoughts?

For new assistant professors like myself, do not be afraid in applying for research projects, especially from the DOST. Even though it might seem slow and hopeless at times, in the end, if you are patient, you will get what you waited for.

Also, it helps when you have a clear agenda and a strong conviction of your work when you present it in front of your possible funding sources.

Thank you.


Dr. Christian Mahinay (2nd from the right) and the students of the Vacuum Coating and Plasma Physics Group of the Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University. From left to right: Franulfo dela Cruz (PhD Physics), Paz Victoria Ramos (PhD Physics), Paolo Edward Tan (BS APS-MSE), Oliver Streeter (BS APS-MSE) (sitting in the photo), Raphael Carreon (BS APS-MSE), Christian Lorenz Mahinay, and Miguel Hilario (BS APS-MSE).