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SFU Chem BSc Jonathan Hui achieves 1st place in CIC MSED Thesis Competition

September 29, 2022

Congratulations Jonathan!

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that undergraduate student, Jonathan Hui, has been selected as one of two first-place winners of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) Macromolecular Science and Engineering Division (MSED) thesis competition for his work on Zwitterionic polymers.

About the Competition

The MSED Undergraduate Thesis Competition seeks to identify outstanding undergraduate research in the areas of polymer science and engineering. Applicants submit a thesis describing the results of their research project, undertaken as part of the final-year bachelor’s degree requirement at a Canadian university.

Submissions are evaluated based on clarity of presentation, results achieved (industriousness and impact), evidence of independent work, and quality of scientific analysis. Applications are reviewed by a panel of polymer scientists and prizes awarded for top-ranked contributions.

About Jonathan’s Research

Jonathan’s study focused on modifying a special AEM (anion exchange membrane) called HMT-PMBI (hexamethyl-p-terphenyl poly(benzimidazole), which is a polymer with ionic groups in its backbone based on protected benzimidazoliums. It was developed by the Holdcroft group in 2014 and has since undergone various modifications to improve its performance in developing sustainable technologies such as fuel cells and electrolytic cells. Jonathan studied how performance of the membrane was influenced by varying fractions of zwitterionic moieties that could cross-link the polymer via ionic interactions between its cationic and anionic groups. Cross-linking in AEMs is known to have many benefits such as restricting membrane swelling, mediate water uptake, improve ion-channel formation, and more. 

The project was designed by Dr. Simon Cassegrain, who supervised Jonathan every step of the way and to whom Jonathan wishes to express a deep gratitude for giving him such an encompassing research experience, from synthesis and casting of the membrane to instrument operation and data analysis.

“My accomplishments would not have been possible without his help. I am also thankful to Dr. Steven Holdcroft for the wonderful opportunity to work in his lab, and to the rest of the Holdcroft group for their encouragements and company.” – Jonathan Hui.