Qatar University’s Center for Advanced Materials (CAM) is involved in cutting-edge research in the nanomaterials developments for energy and environment applications, specifically for water treatment, corrosion, renewable energy - solar, batteries and others.
CAM, which caters to the needs of the country as well the community and works in collaboration with industry, has well equipped labs and state-of art facilities. It has highly qualified and world-renowned faculty and researchers, who are developing innovative advanced materials and devices in collaboration with the local industry. The center addresses the needs of the Qatari industry and help them develop solutions for their problems. The CAM has the highest research output among the QU research centres.
“CAM mainly focuses on topics highly relevant to the society and local industry," director Dr Nasser Abdullah Alnuaimi said. Major activities are oriented to build human potential, QU students support and tutoring, improvement of masters programmes and basic and fundamental research.
"Water technology, prevention of corrosion, energy storage harvesting and recovery application, advanced and sustainable materials, nanotechnology and (bio) sensor research field are among the key focus areas," he explained.
Discussing about the impacts of advanced materials in Qatar, Dr Alnuaimi said: “CAM is helping the industry by providing solutions for their problems, especially in materials testing, fault detection and proposing innovative approaches for materials development. The center’s research is aligned with the National Research Priorities and QU’s research strategies in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
CAM developed novel materials and membranes for water desalination and oil water separation, which will have an impact on the water treatment industry, especially desalination and produced water treatment.
In 2020, CAM researchers published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles in ISI-indexed high-impact journals. CAM has the highest number of publications per faculty member and the highest number of patents per faculty member among all other faculties and departments in QU.
“CAM started a new Water Technology Unit in collaboration with the Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC). This unit is designed to participate in all materials-related water research activities and carry out all the required analysis to ensure that the desalinated water meets the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards for potable water,” Dr Alnuaimi said.
CAM is working on a number of research projects funded by the Qatar National Research Fund and industry as well as on the international collaborative research projects. The center is also working on the Reverse Osmosis (RO) research for the testing and development of RO membranes for seawater desalination, an area of strategic importance to Qatar.
A new concrete material developed in CAM using some solid industrial waste generated in Qatar has higher mechanical properties. Also, cleaning water from organic solvents, eg, Xylene using a new advanced material, is achieved at CAM with high efficiency quickly.
New battery materials have been developed to store electrical energy harvested from solar cells built with perovskite, a new material which converts ultraviolet and visible light into electricity very efficiently. Solar energy is also used for the photochemical degradation of one of the dangerous contaminants, phenol, using new materials produced and developed at CAM.
Controlling the surface charge of materials using the cold plasma is another research direction. The health section also has a good portion of CAM researchers' time. For example, glucose biosensors, besides antiviral and antibacterial material are also developed in CAM.
CAM is currently developing nano-additives to improve fire resistance and thermal performance of cementitious materials. Together with industrial partners CAM members are also working on novel polymeric adsorbent media for produced water treatment and prevention of corrosion and biofouling.
CAM is organising webinars to present achievements of its members together with invited distinguished researchers from around the world. A recent workshop was on renewable and sustainable carbon capture and conversion.
Currently CAM is involved in organising of e-Conference together with QU linked scientific journal Emergent Materials. The event on 'Materials of the Future: Smart Applications in Science and Engineering' will be held on March 15-17 in association with Texas A&M University at Qatar and Qapco.
CAM has been providing training to QU students by involving them in the research projects. Master's students from the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Science are doing their thesis projects with CAM.
Summer internships are provided for QU students by CAM each year. “This year, despite the pandemic, about 40 students completed their summer internship in CAM and worked with the faculty on various projects," Dr Alnuaimi added.