Published on 28 Feb 2023

Advanced Functional Materials Paper - Asst Prof Tan Kwan Wee

We are pleased to share Assistant Professor Tan Kwan Wee's recent publication in Advanced Functional Materials. In addition, he has also recently published in other Advanced Materials' sister journals such as Advanced Materials Interfaces and Advanced Engineering Materials.

"Laser Annealing-Induced Phase Transformation Behaviors of High Entropy Metal Alloy, Oxide, and Nitride Nanoparticle Combinations

(published in Advanced Functional Materials)

High entropy materials made up of dissimilar elements have enormous potentials in various fields and applications such as catalysis, energy generation and bioengineering. Developments of facile rapid synthesis routes toward functional multicomponent nanoparticles (NPs) of metals and ceramics with control of single/mixed crystalline structure configurations as well as understanding their transformative behaviors to enable unexpected properties, however, has remained challenging. Here a transient laser heating strategy to generate high entropy metal alloy, oxide, and nitride nanoparticles (HE-A/O/N NPs) is described. Laser irradiation of the identical metal salt mixture under different millisecond heating times provides direct control of cooling rates and thereby results in HEA NPs with tunable single- and multiphasic solid solution characteristics, atomic compositions, nanoparticle morphologies, and physicochemical properties. Extending the elemental selection to nitride-forming precursors enables laser-induced carbothermal reduction and nitridation of high entropy tetragonal rutile oxide nanoparticles to the cubic rock salt nitride phase. The combination of laser heating with spatially resolved X-ray diffraction facilitates combinatorial studies of phase transitions and reaction pathways of multicomponent nanoparticles. These findings provide a general strategy to design nonequilibrium multicomponent metal alloys and ceramic materials amalgamations for fundamental studies and practical applications such as carbon nanotube growth, water splitting, and antimicrobial applications. (DOI:

About Advanced Functional Materials

Firmly established as a top-tier materials science journal, Advanced Functional Materials reports breakthrough research in all aspects of materials science, including nanotechnology, chemistry, physics, and biology every week. Advanced Functional Materials is known for its rapid and fair peer review, quality content, and high impact, making it the first choice of the international materials science community. According to the Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2022), the journal has a 2021 impact factor of 19.924.

"Ultrafast Crystallization of Ordered Mesoporous Metal Oxides and Carbon from Block Copolymer Self-Assembly and Joule Heating
(published in Advanced Materials Interfaces)

Conventional heat treatments to generate well-ordered and crystalline mesoporous oxide and carbon structures are limited by long durations and annealing temperatures that can cause mesostructural collapse. This paper describes a facile strategy coupling block copolymer-directed self-assembly with high-power Joule heating to form highly crystalline and well-ordered mesoporous oxide and carbon nanostructures within second timeframes. The combined approach is compatible with various functional self-assembled hybrid systems with a range of crystallization temperatures, generating mesoporous composites of γ-Al2O3-carbon, γ-Al2O3/MgO-carbon, and anatase-TiO2-carbon with p6mm symmetry, non-close-packed mesoporous carbon, as well as hierarchical mesoporous α-Fe2O3-carbon structures. Removing the polymer/carbon gives well-defined, highly crystalline mesoporous all-γ-Al2O3 and all-anatase-TiO2 structures. Impregnation of chloroplatinic acid followed by Joule heating yields platinum nanoparticles decorated on the channel walls of mesoporous γ-Al2O3-carbon structures. The resultant Joule-heating-induced well-ordered crystalline mesoporous oxide and oxide-carbon structures have high thermal and structural stabilities and exhibit better performances in CO2 adsorption capacity and lithium-ion batteries than conventional heat-treated counterparts. This approach represents an energy-efficient and time-saving route toward ordered porous materials with high surface area and pore accessibility for a wide range of environmental applications such as carbon sequestration, renewable energy storage, and environmental filtration. (DOI:

About Advanced Materials Interfaces
Advanced Materials Interfaces publishes applied, top-level research on functional interfaces and surfaces and their specific applications, driving forward our understanding of interfacial processes. Considering that interfaces between solids, liquids, and gases play an essential role in virtually all materials and devices, the journal's scope encourages an interdisciplinary blend of physics, chemistry, materials science, and life sciences. According to the Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2022), the journal has a 2021 impact factor of 6.389.


"Fabrication of PtIrPd Noble Metal Medium Entropy Alloy Thin Film by Atomic Layer Deposition"
(Co-authored with Assoc Prof Alfred Tok; published in Advanced Engineering Materials)

Noble metal medium entropy alloy (MEA) thin films have recently attracted enormous research interests recently because of their great potential in the catalytic application. However, conventional bottom-up fabrication methods for MEA thin film such as magnetron sputtering face enormous challenges including precise control over film thickness and consumption of costly high-purity noble metal targets. Herein, a facile and tunable approach is developed coupling sequential atomic layer deposition (ALD) of noble metal layers with electric Joule heating (EJH) alloying process to grow platinum-iridium-palladium (PtIrPd) MEA thin films. The PtIrPd MEA thin film with a thickness of ≈20 nm and an atomic ratio of 35:35:30 is successfully fabricated. The effect of EJH processing temperature on the film morphology and structure evolution is investigated. ALD provides flexibility in the metal deposition sequence with meticulous thickness control and atomic composition precision, while the ultrafast EJH ramping/cooling rates promote homogeneous alloying of MEA combinations inhibiting phase separation. Furthermore, the integrated method circumvents a major obstacle of finding a common ALD temperature window for different noble metal precursors as well as opens new pathways for the controllable synthesis of multicomponent metal alloy thin films with potential catalytic, magnetic, and optical properties. (DOI:

About Advanced Engineering Materials
Advanced Engineering Materials focuses on all the latest breakthroughs in engineering materials. The journal covers a variety of key topics, such as composites, ceramics, intermetallics, and coatings, and also high-temperature, cellular, and biomedical materials, as well as innovative manufacturing techniques. According to the Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2022), the journal has a 2021 impact factor of 4.122.