15 April 2021 Jessica Blakeney

A Portrait: Imad Hussain, Postdoctoral Fellow in Physics

Imad Hussain

Photo : Provided

In September 2019Imad Hussain joined the Institut quantique (IQ) for a postdoctoral fellowship in Professor Patrick Fournier’s research group.  

Originally from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, he carried out his undergraduate studies in the Swabi District, his native region. He then completed a doctorate at Changwon National University in South Korea where he became interested in bulk materials, with a specialization in magnetic and magnetocaloric materials. 

Dedication to Physics 

What fascinated me the most at the beginning of my studies were the classic laws of physics, energy and matter, and the laws behind the Universe. From the very beginning, I was very much committed to studying physics,” shares Mr. Hussain. Indeed, Mr. Hussain grew up in a family where physics and mathematics were very important. “My father was a specialist in mathematics and physics, and my sister did her PhD in physics at Ohio University. She has been my mentor and inspired me to follow in her steps!” he adds. 

From Pakistan to South Korea to Sherbrooke 

How does one find out about the IQ? “When I did my PhD in bulk materials at Changwon National University, the day I defended my thesis, I had a strong feeling that my research would now focus on nanomaterials. I was open to any opportunity at that time, and I had a strong desire to work in a facility that could use the experience that I already had and offer me new experiences at the same time. When found out about the IQ, I knew it was a right fit for me.”  

Mr. Hussain is now working in Professor Patrick Fournier’s group. The group’s research mainly concerns the feasibility of a new oxide-based photon broadband terahertz emitter as well as magneto-caloric materials. “I’m really grateful to be here. This group’s research matched very well with what I wanted to do after my PhD,” he adds. Although adapting to the French-dominated area was somewhat challenging, Mr. Hussain very well adapted to the IQ’s research environment. 

New Materials for Practical Applications 

During his research years, Mr. Hussain has developed a great interest in environmentally safe technologies. Indeed, his work ranges from the conception of eco-friendly fire-retardant coating materials to magnetocaloric materials with practical applications in magnetic refrigeration. 

“The refrigerators that we currently use aren’t very cost and environment efficient and emit gases like hydrofluorocarbonschlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are very hazardous for the environment. That’s why we are working on magneto-caloric materials for magnetic refrigeration.” Magnetic refrigeration technologies are safe, energy efficient, and do not produce any hazardous gases. They use solid materials, like metals or metal oxide. “All of my work is targeting environment-safe technologies. I previously worked on a project for the removal of led contaminants in water,” he adds. 

Human health and wellbeing are also part of Mr. Hussain’s many interests: We are currently working on a project due for submission this summer, and it’s really interesting. We are going to manipulate magnetic materials in the form of nanoparticles by using the principles of magnetism and magnetic heating in order to gain deeper insights into the essential elements required to design more efficient magnetic particles for magnetic fluid hypothermia therapy, which is in fact a treatment option for cancer!” 

Indeed, the research group will design and test metal oxide-based nanoparticles in the first part of the project, which should raise the temperature of the cancerous tissue between 40oC and 44oC, which should be sufficient to identify defective tissues. “A breakthrough is very likely in this project and will probably pave the way for our future work,” he adds. 

The Next Steps for Mr. Hussain 

“I’m optimistically looking forward to getting extraordinary results from our projects here. I think it’s important for us as a team, as well as for me, to reach our goals. I see myself securing a position as a university professor, which I think is a very prestigious position. I want to enjoy life in a social and academic environment, be it anywhere in the world,” confirms Mr. Hussain.  

His fourth patent has recently been accepted in South Korea, and he is planning on continuing his many publications in reputable journals. 

It is a pleasure to have you aboard the IQ team, Mr. Hussain!  

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