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ICTP Success

Latest alumni achievements

ICTP alumni Mohamed Al-Hada (left) and Jehan Akbar
ICTP alumni Mohamed Al-Hada (left) and Jehan Akbar


Jehan Akbar, an ICTP Junior Associate and former Training and Research in Italian Laboratories (TRIL) fellow, has been awarded substantial research funding by the Pakistani government's higher education department to establish Pakistan's first optical (photothermal) spectroscopy laboratory. The laboratory will be used by students and scientists of different Institutes in Pakistan for analysis and characterization of advanced materials, chemical and biological samples. Akbar received his PhD from the University of Glasgow, UK, and is currently working as an assistant professor of physics at Hazara University Mansehra, Pakistan. In 2016 he received the ICO-ICTP Gallieno Denardo Award for his outstanding contributions to the development of lasers and amplifiers. Akbar is a frequent collaborator in Pakistan for outreach activities in universities and high schools there, taking advantage of educational kits sent by ICTP. As a TRIL fellow, Akbar spent a year at ICTP's Multidisciplinary Laboratory, where he acquired a broad range of skills related to theoretical and experimental understanding of femtosecond fibre lasers and photothermal spectroscopic techniques for environmental research. The research was carried out using equipment that was not prohibitively expensive. Imagining what it would take to set up a similar laboratory back home, Akbar began to work on a proposal while still at ICTP, which resulted in the funding he has now received to establish the laboratory in Pakistan. He will be able to train many students in this laboratory and to establish further connections between ICTP and the Pakistani scientific community.

Mohamed Al-Hada, a TRIL fellow from Yemen, recently completed his project work at Elettra, the Trieste synchrotron facility, and will now continue his research at the University of Cambridge. Al-Hada's work at Elettra focused on surface physics and chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology to investigate a wide range of micro and nanostructures, electrochemistry, nanocomposite materials and heterogeneous catalysis. While in Trieste, he published 10 papers in peer-reviewed journals in the chemical and physical sciences. He earned his PhD in physics from the Technical University of Berlin and returned to his home country, Yemen, for a position at Amran University. Al-Hada maintained his TU Berlin connection, however, joining the work group of Professor Wolfgang Eberhardt as a researcher in many scientific projects related to cluster physics. He will now continue his research at the University of Cambridge in the surface science field using a helium atom scattering technique, with support of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory.