Special Interview -Episode1014

Mr Muhammad Khairullah bin Nor Azmi
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia

Mr Muhammad Khairullah bin Nor Azmi, a master student of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia, visited the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University for 3 months for a collaborative research project.


From Left:
  Prof. Tatsuro Hanajiri, Depty-Director
  Ms Nur Suhaili Abd Aziz
  Mr Muhammad Khairullah bin Nor Azmi
  Dr Yoshitaka Nakajima

Please introduce yourself and your university.

My full name is Muhammad Khairullah bin Nor Azmi but people call me Khairul. I am a second year of MPhil (Masters of Philosophy) postgraduate student in Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. My MPhil is a 2 years project, funded by Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) of Malaysia. I belong to the Advanced Devices and Materials Engineering (ADME) group, headed by Professor Ir. Dr. Abdul Manaf bin Hashim, my supervisor. I received my bachelors degree in chemistry from the same university. During my undergraduate studies, I have involved in advance nanomaterials study and I have developed my interest in chemistry-physics related field ever since.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) is a research university located in Johor Bahru (main campus) and in Kuala Lumpur (international campus). In the early years, UTM was only a technical college, of which only conducts engineering courses at diploma level in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Radio Engineering, Land Surveying, Building Architecture and Quality Surveying, while a special in Automobile Engineering was offered for the transportation enforcement officers. The enrolment for the 1958/1959 academic session was 320 students. It was then declared as a technical institute by Malaysia’s Ruler as of 14 March 1972 and inherited all the amenities and facilities of the former technical college. It was then officially became a university in 1976, offering many faculties such as Faculty of Built Environment, Biosciences and Medical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computing, Electrical Engineering, Chemical and Energy Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Geoinformation and Real Estate, Education, Management, Science, Islamic Civilization and Language Academy.

What is your recent research topic?

Currently, I am focusing on fabrication of on-chip solar cells using nanostructured silicon in the application of autonomous sensors. Silicon based solar cells have already been on market for a few years. However, there are still a lot of modifications and improvement can be exploited. I think it is easier to apply recent findings related to silicon because it is compatible with current technology. Studies about nanostructures also can serve as bridge transition from common technology to nanotechnology while maintaining compatibility with silicon technology.

What is your motivation to do research?

I am amazed with science when I was 14 years old, the day when I found out liquids of different color or even the same color but different composition gives different observation upon mixing into each other (flame, explosion, color change, releases odor, etc). This naturally triggers my curiosity to know more and to know the reason behind every phenomenon, which continues to this day. I am also motivated to do research because I wish I can contribute to mankind by making everyone’s life more convenient with my invention. I wish to make everything more autonomous so that we will rely on machines as same as humans, as we do in this era.

Please tell us about your life in Malaysia.

My life in Malaysia is well balanced in terms of spiritual (Islam), physical and emotion. In MJIIT, we take care of the laboratories ourselves without technician help. We always talk and share knowledge about research problems with coworkers despite that we make different projects. We also do research progress presentations with supervisor every once in a while. Sometimes, I had to return home late night because I need to finish the experiment I started earlier that day.

Please tell us the impression of research at BNERC and life at Toyo University.

I am impressed with facilities in BNERC because BNERC own many equipment that we do not have in our laboratory in Malaysia and in some cases, not even available in Malaysia such as ion implanter. BNERC also has many helpful staffs and technicians. They always try to help me solve research problems, equipment handling and sometimes communication problem when I have the troubles. In BNERC, the workspace is widely opened and it is good in my opinion because it encourages lab mates to mingle and discuss about research issues. BNERC has many people coming from different parts of the world such as UK, Italy and India. It is an opportunity to get to know about different culture from them. Coming to Toyo University (Kawagoe Campus) from my hostel in Sendagi, I had to take 3 different trains everyday (Chiyoda line, JR line and Tobu Tojo line). It takes around 2 hours and half to just go one way. It is tiring but it was a pleasant experience because I get to experience life of public citizen in Japan.

Please give some advice for international students coming to Toyo University in the future.

In my opinion, Toyo University is a good place for international people to learn about research because they have amazing advanced facilities and helpful members. Besides, it is also a good place to train yourself to handle many equipment by your own. It is clearly an opportunity to get such experience as you may need it for your career. They are also friendly as they do not discriminate people from different beliefs or background. In addition to that, most of them are capable of speaking English and so I think there would be less language barrier to communicate with Japanese people. That way, you can experience Japanese culture without having communication problem! Personally, I would like to come here again because I am comfortable with the people around there.

What is your dream and goal regarding research?

My dream is to make many inventions and possibly change the way how humans live their lives. I wish to make many devices powered by solar energy so that I can help protect the Earth by going green. With autonomous technology, we can complete our daily tasks more easily as devices around us are operated without supervision. However, my personal opinion is that research should focus on sustainability more because there is no point if we advance but at the same time destroy the Earth without us realizing it.


Episode 1013   /   Episode 1015