Can you compare studying at the university here and back home?
In fact, for me, the difference is not very big for studying. The difference is mainly in life. For example, in my country, most universities' teaching buildings, laboratories, and dormitories are in the same area, very close to each other. Many canteens in the universities provide a variety of food at very favorable prices, and the service time is relatively long. In the Czech Republic, public transportation is usually required to get from the dormitory to the laboratory, and most of the time, I need to cook for myself.
Have you tried our university canteen for students?
Yes, I used to have lunch in the university canteen, and the food provided in the canteen was good. But, the number of times I go to the canteen has decreased since the price increase. Now I basically bring the food I prepared in advance for lunch.
Can you write a little comparison about studies? Do you teach something here in Brno?
As for research or studies, according to my experience, research tends to be more individual-led in my country, while in the Czech Republic, the emphasis is on cooperation. For example, in my country, most of the experimental measurements are done by myself. However, I need our colleagues to help me with some experimental measurements in here.
I participated in some teaching assistance, mainly in some experimental courses and lectures. This is one of my favorite activities, it allows me to meet more younger people and exchange ideas with them.
Why did you choose to study for your Ph.D. in Brno?
The Department of Physics Electronics has a long history of research in low-temperature plasma physics. Researchers here have rich experience in low-temperature plasmas and have reported many meaningful results. I have studied their research literature many times before. When I decided to pursue my Ph.D. study, I emailed Prof. Černák expressing my desire to finish my Ph.D. study in Brno. To my surprise, I quickly received a positive reply from Prof. Černák. So, I have come to Brno for my Ph.D. study.
What type of research do you focus on, and why did you choose it?
In my Ph.D. studies, I focus on developing new plasma sources and surface modification of rough, structured, and curved materials by low-temperature plasma. In modern society, environmental problems are prominent, and energy is in short supply, which puts forward higher requirements for being environmentally friendly and efficient. Low-temperature plasma has many advantages, such as a simple controlled process, convenient operation, environmentally friendly, energy and cost-saving, fast, efficient, and so on. It can generate a wide variety of active particles through a simple device. It is precisely because of its advantages that it is widely used in the industrial field.
Different plasma sources have distinct advantages. We aim to design a plasma device to create a temperature-friendly remote atmospheric pressure plasma. It has tremendous application potential, especially in three-dimensional material surface modification and biomedicine.
What about your internship?
I started my internship in Bratislava in May 2023. My stay was planned for two months. In Bratislava, my main work was to use an ion mobility spectrum (IMS) and mass spectrum (MS) to diagnose different plasma sources and to study the products of those various plasma sources.
In Brno, I mainly focus on developing new plasma sources and the surface modification of materials with different plasma sources. I know IMS and MS are effective methods for plasma diagnosis, but this was the first time I justifyused it. I have also learned a new skill through this internship.
Can you share with us details about your work?
I have been focusing on the development of new plasma sources for some time in the past. We have designed a plasma source capable of generating temperature-friendly and effective long-distance plasma, which will have great potential in biomedicine or complex surface modification of materials. So, we are very curious about what reactive ions plasma will produce. The IMS and MS diagnoses are practical tools for studying low-temperature plasma. The Ion mobility spectrometry lab in the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics, Comenius University in Bratislava, has extensive experience and made many remarkable achievements in ion mass spectrum and mass spectrum diagnostics. So, this was the best opportunity for me to learn about this technology in Bratislava.
Was your internship a positive experience?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Bratislava. I worked with Dr. Ladislav Moravský. He is very friendly and patiently taught me about the IMS and MS, how to operate the device, and helped me solve problems. If I had a problem, all the colleagues I met there offered to provide me with enthusiastic help. Czech and Slovak similar languages and cultures make me integrate there very quickly. However, their differences also gave me a lot of different surprises.
I am curious. What are those differences that were surprising?
It is hard to say clearly, this is probably a feeling. For example, some places in Czechia or Slovakia that I have been to have completely different scenery. For me, the scenery in Czechia is somewhat more refined, while the scenery in Slovakia is more rugged. They make me feel completely different. I hope to have the opportunity to discover more differences between Czechia and Slovakia in the future.
What did you know about Czechia and Czech culture before coming here? Do we live up to your expectations?
Due to the vast distance between the two countries, I did not know much about Czech culture before I came here. But I knew Prague and Český Krumlov. When I came here, I found that I had been exposed to Czech culture as a child through the Mole cartoon (Krtek).
Yes, I really enjoy my time in the Czech Republic: pleasant climate, rich culture, beautiful castles, friendly people, and delicious beer.
Do you like Chinese food made in Czechia? How do you judge the Czech cuisine?
The Chinese food made in Czechia is fine. They have been modified to suit Czech tastes. For me, some dishes are generally sweeter than traditional Chinese recipes. I usually make a reservation with the restaurant owner, and the owner will do it in an original way, especially for spicy food. As far as I know, most Czechs do not like spicy food.
I think Czech food is delicious, like goulash or roast pork knee. These are my top picks for gatherings with friends. I like Kofola and, of course, a variety of beers.
Do you have any trouble with communication? Are you learning the Czech or Slovak language? Or do you know any Czech/Slovak words or phrases?
There are some communication issues, but they do not affect me much. I can solve it with google translate or body language. Most of the people around me can speak fluent English. And my Czech or Slovakian colleagues are willing to help me with the translation.
I have yet to learn the Czech language systematically. Still, I can speak some simple Czech words (I think the Czech language is very difficult 😂). I know: dobrý den, na shledanou, děkuji, prosím, velký, malý, celý and few others.
What are your plans? Mainly after finishing your PhD studies?
After finishing my Ph.D., I will look for a suitable postdoctoral position or research position to continue the research on low-temperature plasma. I enjoy facing problems and solving them.
Thank you very much for this interview and your time. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.