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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 annual Eurosensors 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 Materials programme.

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.”
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