27-year-old Teh Weng Hong, a former
Master of Science student from the 1999 intake beat
over 450 participants from 41 countries to prevail
as the winner of the best paper,
Prize at the
Conference in Portugal. He relates his experience to us, attributing
his success to the strong and practical foundational path SMA has
laid out for him in his early days as a graduate student.
“ The education at SMA was really neat! SMA provided me with a very sound
technical foundation in the area of physics and engineering of advanced materials.
In all these years after graduating from SMA, I have come to appreciate the intensive
and grueling syllabus that I went through during my S.M. programme in 1999.”
Weng Hong admits that he was initially intimidated by the contents
of the syllabus and hesitant to apply for the then Advanced Materials
programme at SMA (now know as the Advanced Materials for Micro-
and Nano-Systems - AMM&NS). However, after much encouragement
from his peers, he decided to give it a try and was pleasantly
surprised when he was accepted. Weng Hong decided to take this
challenge and accepted the scholarship. This according to him was
the best opportunity of his lifetime. “The exposure provided
by SMA and the knowledge passed down by the faculty can be rivalled
by few and I can confidently say that both of these have been extremely
useful in inculcating a ‘can do’ attitude in me, while
enhancing my perspicacity in the process.”
Weng Hong then went on to become the graduating valedictorian for
the SMA class of 2000. He also topped the S.M. class in the Advanced
He recalls that it was the classes at SMA that first introduced
him to the technology of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
In fact, he can still remember how impressed he was after being
shown SEM images of a micromachined gear roughly the size of a
human red blood cell in one of the classes at SMA. He subsequently
became interested in MEMS research, after realising that it was
highly interdisciplinary in nature.
“ The interdisciplinary nature of MEMS coupled with the desire in conducting
research from a physicist’s point of view subsequently prompted me to pursue
my Ph.D. at the Cavendish Laboratory, which is the department of experimental
physics at the University of Cambridge.”
His research entitled “High-aspect-ratio three-dimensional
microstructures fabricated by two-photon-absorption photopolymerization
of SU-8”, won him first place in the MEMS conference (Eurosensors).
In addition to that, he was later awarded the first prize for the
recent Annual IEEE Student Paper Contest for the UK and Republic
of Ireland (UKRI) section of the European region.
“ Both awards have motivated me to work even harder and more passionately
than before. I am very grateful for the recognition and would also like to attribute
this success to SMA, which has truly helped in accelerating the flux of knowledge
for my Ph.D. to attain today’s success.”