A resident of South Tangerang, Ferensa’s normal place of work is at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences where he forms part of the catalysis group. He moved to South Oxfordshire in June last year where both he and his wife have been part of the Newton Fund project looking at the structure and design of biofuel catalysts.
“Having access to Diamond’s large-scale facilities has enable me to widen my expertise whilst also improve my research activities”, says Ferensa. Not only have I benefited from hands-on experience of using synchrotron techniques, my placement has also enabled me to conduct experiments in situ as well as simulate XANES spectra using theoretical models.“
With a background in computational chemistry, Ferensa's time at Diamond has also given him a great opportunity to expand and hone his computational skills further by analysing XANES and EXAFS data.
The results of his work to date have been very positive, with performance data showing a measurable improvement on existing commercial catalysts. Structural data achieved from these experiments will now be fed into further research using other catalyst materials.
Asked what learnings he would take back from his time at Diamond, Ferensa says: “The most important things that I learned at Diamond were teamwork and hands on experience of spectroscopy techniques . Working in a high tech facility requires good coordinated teamwork, you may excel in a certain subject but if you do not understand a particular area do not be afraid to ask someone else for help.”
“As a first-time user for XAS measurement,” recalls Ferensa, “I had mixed feelings - of anxiety and excitement. But the rewards have been beyond my expectations as I’ve acquired a huge amount of knowledge - something which only a handful of my colleagues would ever get the chance to do. Being able to analyse the XAS data myself also gave me a real buzz as my confidence grew and I was able to work more independently.”
And what would he miss most about the UK?: “Having lived in the UK for almost a year, I will miss lots of things," says Ferensa. "But I will certainly miss the city architectures, parks, and also the iconic double-decker bus.”