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Short Wavelength, Ultra-High Speed Quantum Light Source based on Quantum Dot Developed
Professor Yong Hoon, Cho (Department of Physics) and his research team synthesized an obelisk nanostructure and successfully formed a single semiconductor quantum exhibiting high reliability to realize an ultra-high speed, highly efficient, release of quantum dots. The result of the research effort was published in the July 5th online edition of Scientific Reports published by Nature. Semiconductor Quantum Dots restrict electrons within a cubic boundary of few nanometers thereby exhibiting similar properties to an atom with discontinuous energy levels. Exploitation of this characteristic makes possible the development of quantum light source, critical for next generation quantum information communication and quantum encryption. High operational temperatures, stability, rapid photon release, electric current capability, and other advantages are reasons why semiconductor quantum dots are regarded as next generation core technology. However conventional, spontaneously formed quantum dots are densely packed in a planar structure rendering the analysis of a single quantum dot difficult and result in the poor efficiency of photon release. In addition, the internal electromagnetic effect which is caused by inter-planar stress results in low internal quantum efficiency due to the difficulty in electron-hole recombination. Professor Cho’s research team synthesized an obelisk shaped nanostructure using nitrides that emit short wavelengths of light. The activation layer was grown on the tip of the nanostructure and the team succeeded in placing a single quantum dot on the nano-tip. The team was therefore able to confirm the ultra-high speed single photon characteristics which occur at low energy levels. Use of unique nanostructures makes synthesis of single atomic structures without processes like patterning while enabling the release of light emitted by the quantum dot. Using this unique method the team showed the increase in internal quantum efficiency. The electromagnetic forces apparent in thin films no longer affects the quantum dot greatly due to the obelisk structure’s reduced inter planar stress. The newly developed quantum light source emits visible light (400nm range) and not the conventional infrared light. This characteristic makes possible it use in communication in free space and enables use of highly efficient, visible range photon detector. Professor Cho commented that “the developed method makes quantum dot growth much easier making single photon synthesis much faster to contribute to the development of practical quantum light source.” And that “the characteristics of the obelisk nanostructure enable the easy detachment from and attachment to other substrates enabling its use in producing single chip quantum light source.” The research was conducted under the supervision of Professor Cho. The researchers werey Jae Hyung, Kim (first author) and Yong Ho, Ko (second author), both Ph.D. candidates at KAIST. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the National Research Foundation, and WCU Program provided support to the research effort.
Technology Developed to Control Light Scattering Using Holography
Published on May 29th Nature Scientific Reports online Recently, a popular article demonstrated that an opaque glass becomes transparent as transparent tape is applied to the glass. The scientific principle is that light is less scattered as the rough surface of the opaque glass is filled by transparent tape, thereby making things behind the opaque glass look clearer. Professor Yong-Keun Park from KAIST’s Department of Physics, in a joint research with MIT Spectroscopy Lab, has developed a technology to easily control light scattering using holography. Their results are published on Nature’s Scientific Reports May 29th online edition. This technology allows us to see things behind visual obstructions such as cloud and smoke, or even human skin that is highly scattering, optically thick materials. The research team applied the holography technology that records both the direction and intensity of light, and controlled light scattering of obstacles lied between an observer and a target image. The team was able to retrieve the original image by recording the information of scattered light and reflecting the light precisely to the other side.This phenomenon is known as “phase conjugation” in physics. Professor Park’s team applied phase conjugation and digital holography to observe two-dimensional image behind a highly scattering wall. “This technology will be utilized in many fields of physics, optics, nanotechnology, medical science, and even military science,” said Professor Park. “This is different from what is commonly known as penetrating camera or invisible clothes.” He nevertheless drew the line at over-interpreting the technology, “Currently, the significance is on the development of the technology itself that allows us to accurately control the scattering of light." Figure I. Observed Images Figure II. Light Scattering Control
Technology for Non-Breaking Smartphone Display Developed
High-strength plastic display has been developed by applying a glass-fiber fabric. “Will bring about innovation to the field by replacing glass substrates” It is now possible to manufacture non-breaking smartphone display. Heavy glass substrates of large-screen televisions will be replaced with light plastic films. Professor Choon Sup Yoon from KAIST’s Department of Physics and KAIST Institute for Information Technology Convergence has developed the technology for high-strength plastic substrates to replace glass displays. The plastic substrate created by Professor Yoon and his research team have greatly enhanced needed properties of heat resistance, transparency, flexibility, inner chemical capability, and tensile strength. Although the material retains flexibility as a native advantage of plastic film, its tensile strength is three times greater than that of normal glass, which is a degree similar to tempered glass. In addition, Professor Yoon’s substrate is as colorless and transparent as glass and resists heat up to 450℃, while its thermal expansivity is only 10% to 20% of existing plastics. Glass substrates are currently used in practically every display such as mobile phone screens, televisions, and computer monitors for having smooth surface and satisfying basic conditions for display substrates. However, as glass substrates are heavy and easily broken, researchers studied colorless and transparent plastic polyimide films to replace glass substrates for their excellent thermal and chemical stability. Nonetheless, colorless and transparent polyimide films do not have sufficient heat resistance and mechanical solidity. To resolve this problem, polyimide films are impregnated with glass-fiber fabrics, but it was far from commercialization as the impregnation exacerbates the roughness of surface and light transmittance. The roughness of the surface increases as the solvent evaporates in the impregnation process, resulting in surface roughness of around 0.4μm. The downturn in light transmittance is due to light scattering effect by the discording refractive index of polyimide film and glass-fiber fabric. Professor Yoon’s research team resolved these issues by tuning the refractive indices of transparent polyimide film and glass-fiber fabric up to four decimal places, and by developing the technology of flattening the film’s surface roughness to a few nanometers. As a result, the research team achieved heat expansivity of 11ppm/℃, surface roughness of 0.9nm, tensile strength of 250MPa, bending curvature radius of 2mm, and light transmittance at 90% with a 110μm-thick glass-fiber fabric impregnated transparent polyimide film substrate. “The developed substrate can not only replace the traditional glass substrate but also be applied as flexible display substrate,” said Professor Yoon in prospect, “it will bring about technological innovation in display industry as it can fundamentally resolve the issue of shattering mobile phone displays, reduce the weight and thickness of large-area televisions, and apply Roll to Roll process in display manufacture.” Supported by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy for five years, the technology has applied for 3 patents and is in discussion for technology transfer with related business. Figure 1. The according (left) and discording (right) refractive indices of glass-fiber fabric and polyimide film. The characters on the left are sharp and clear, but the characters on the right appear foggy. Figure 2. Picture of the developed glass-fiber fabric
Neurotransmitter protein structure and operation principle identified
Professor Tae-Young Yoon - Real-time measurement of structural change of bio-membrane fusion protein - A new clue to degenerative brain diseases research KAIST Physics Department’s Professor Tae-Young Yoon has successfully identified the hidden structure and operation mechanism of the SNARE protein, which has a central role in transporting neurotransmitters between neurons, using magnetic nanotweezers. SNARE protein’s cell membrane fusion function is closely related to degenerative brain diseases or neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Hence, this research may provide a clue to the disease’s prevention and treatment. Neurotransmission occurs when vesicles containing neurotransmitters fuse with cell membranes in neuron synapses. The SNARE protein is a cell-membrane fusion protein with a core role of releasing neurotransmitters. The academia speculated the SNARE protein would regulate the exchange of neurotransmitters, but its precise function and structure has been unknown. Professor Yoon’s research team developed an experimental technique using nanotweezers to measure physical changes to nanometer level by pulling and releasing each protein with force of 1 pN (piconewton). The research identified the existence of hidden SNARE protein"s intermediate structure. The process of withstanding and maintaining repulsive forces between bio-membranes in the hidden intermediate structure of SNARE to regulate the exchange of neurotransmitters has also been identified. Professor Yoon’s research team developed an experimental technique using magnetic nanotweezers to measure physical changes of proteins to nanometer level by pulling and releasing each protein with force of 1 pN. The research identified the existence of hidden SNARE protein"s intermediate structure and its formation. The process of withstanding and maintaining repulsive forces between bio-membranes in the hidden intermediate structure of SNARE to regulate the exchange of neurotransmitters has also been discovered. Professor Yoon said, “Ground breaking research results have been produced. A simple experimental technique of applying the smallest possible forces to proteins (with tweezers) to see their hidden structure and formation process can produce the same result as real observation has been developed.” He continued, “This technique will be very important in researching biological object with physical experimental technique. It will be a vital foundation to consilient research of different academia in the future.” This research was a joint project of Physics Department’s Professor Tae-Young Yoon, KAIST, and Biomedical Engineering Institute’s Professor Yeon-Kyun Shin at KIST. KAIST Physics Department’s Professor Yong-Hoon Cho, Ph.D. candidate Do-Yong Lee and KIAS Computational Sciences Department’s Professor Chang-Bong Hyun participated. The research was published on Nature Communications on April 16th. a) Neurotransmission occurs when vesicles containing neurotransmitters fuse with cell membranes in neuron synapses. A SNARE protein is a cell-membrane fusion protein with a core role of releasing neurotransmitters. b) A schematic diagram using magnetic nanotweezers to measure protein structure changes on molecular level. The nanotweezers exert an exquisite pull and release of each protein with a force of 1 pN to measure physical changes to nanometer level in real-time to observe the hidden intermediate structure and operation principles of bio-membrane fusion protein.
The new era of personalized cancer diagnosis and treatment
Professor Tae-Young Yoon - Succeeded in observing carcinogenic protein at the molecular level - “Paved the way to customized cancer treatment through accurate analysis of carcinogenic protein” The joint KAIST research team of Professor Tae Young Yoon of the Department of Physics and Professor Won Do Huh of the Department of Biological Sciences have developed the technology to monitor characteristics of carcinogenic protein in cancer tissue – for the first time in the world. The technology makes it possible to analyse the mechanism of cancer development through a small amount of carcinogenic protein from a cancer patient. Therefore, a personalised approach to diagnosis and treatment using the knowledge of the specific mechanism of cancer development in the patient may be possible in the future. Until recently, modern medicine could only speculate on the cause of cancer through statistics. Although developed countries, such as the United States, are known to use a large sequencing technology that analyses the patient’s DNA, identification of the interactions between proteins responsible for causing cancer remained an unanswered question for a long time in medicine. Firstly, Professor Yoon’s research team has developed a fluorescent microscope that can observe even a single molecule. Then, the “Immunoprecipitation method”, a technology to extract a specific protein exploiting the high affinity between antigens and antibodies was developed. Using this technology and the microscope, “Real-Time Single Molecule co-Immunoprecipitation Method” was created. In this way, the team succeeded in observing the interactions between carcinogenic and other proteins at a molecular level, in real time. To validate the developed technology, the team investigated Ras, a carcinogenic protein; its mutation statistically is known to cause around 30% of cancers. The experimental results confirmed that 30-50% of Ras protein was expressed in mouse tumour and human cancer cells. In normal cells, less than 5% of Ras protein was expressed. Thus, the experiment showed that unusual increase in activation of Ras protein induces cancer. The increase in the ratio of active Ras protein can be inferred from existing research data but the measurement of specific numerical data has never been done before. The team suggested a new molecular level diagnosis technique of identifying the progress of cancer in patients through measuring the percentage of activated carcinogenic protein in cancer tissue. Professor Yoon Tae-young said, “This newly developed technology does not require a separate procedure of protein expression or refining, hence the existing proteins in real biological tissues or cancer cells can be observed directly.” He also said, “Since carcinogenic protein can be analyzed accurately, it has opened up the path to customized cancer treatment in the future.” “Since the observation is possible on a molecular level, the technology confers the advantage that researchers can carry out various examinations on a small sample of the cancer patient.” He added, “The clinical trial will start in December 2012 and in a few years customized cancer diagnosis and treatment will be possible.” Meanwhile, the research has been published in Nature Communications (February 19). Many researchers from various fields have participated, regardless of the differences in their speciality, and successfully produced interdisciplinary research. Professor Tae Young Yoon of the Department of Physics and Professors Dae Sik Lim and Won Do Huh of Biological Sciences at KAIST, and Professor Chang Bong Hyun of Computational Science of KIAS contributed to developing the technique. Figure 1: Schematic diagram of observed interactions at the molecular level in real time using fluorescent microscope. The carcinogenic protein from a mouse tumour is fixed on the microchip, and its molecular characteristics are observed live. Figure 2: Molecular interaction data using a molecular level fluorescent microscope. A signal in the form of spike is shown when two proteins combine. This is monitored live using an Electron Multiplying Charge Coupled Device (EMCCD). It shows signal results in bright dots. An organism has an immune system as a defence mechanism to foreign intruders. The immune system is activated when unwanted pathogens or foreign protein are in the body. Antibodies form in recognition of the specific antigen to protect itself. Organisms evolved to form antibodies with high specificity to a certain antigen. Antibodies only react to its complementary antigens. The field of molecular biology uses the affinity between antigens and antibodies to extract specific proteins; a technology called immunoprecipitation. Even in a mixture of many proteins, the protein sought can be extracted using antibodies. Thus immunoprecipitation is widely used to detect pathogens or to extract specific proteins. Technology co-IP is a well-known example that uses immunoprecipitation. The research on interactions between proteins uses co-IP in general. The basis of fixing the antigen on the antibody to extract antigen protein is the same as immunoprecipitation. Then, researchers inject and observe its reaction with the partner protein to observe the interactions and precipitate the antibodies. If the reaction occurs, the partner protein will be found with the antibodies in the precipitations. If not, then the partner protein will not be found. This shows that the two proteins interact. However, the traditional co-IP can be used to infer the interactions between the two proteins although the information of the dynamics on how the reaction occurs is lost. To overcome these shortcomings, the Real-Time Single Molecule co-IP Method enables observation on individual protein level in real time. Therefore, the significance of the new technique is in making observation of interactions more direct and quantitative. Additional Figure 1: Comparison between Conventional co-IP and Real-Time Single Molecule co-IP
Dopant properties of silicon nanowires investigated
Professor Chang Kee Joo Professor Kee Joo Chang’s research team from the Department of Physics at KAIST has successfully unearthed the properties of boron and phosphorous dopants in silicon nanowires, a material expected to be used in next generation semiconductors. The research team was the first in the world to investigate the movement of boron and phosphorous (impurities or ‘dopants’ added for electrical flow) in oxidized silicon nanowires and study the mechanism behind its deactivation. It is nearly impossible to develop a silicon based semiconductor thinner than 10nm, even using the most advanced modern technology. However, the thickness of silicon nanowires are within the nano level and hence, allows a higher degree of integration in semiconductors. For silicon nanowires to carry electricity, small amounts of boron and phosphorous need to be added (‘doping’ process). Compared to silicon, nanowires are harder to create due to the difficulties in the doping process as well as the control of electrical conduction properties. Professor Chang’s research team improved upon the existing simple model by applying revolutionary quantum simulation theory to create a realistic core-shell atomic model. This research successfully investigated the cause of the escape of boron dopants from the silicon core during oxidation. It was also found that although phosphorous dopants do not escape as oxides, they form electrically deactivated pairs which decreases the efficiency. These phenomena were attributed to the film shape of the nano-wires, which increases the relative surface area compared to a same volume of silicon. The research results were published in the online September edition of the world renowned Nano Letters. Figure: The longitudinal section diagram of the Silicon/oxide core-shell model
Biomimetic reflective display technology developed
Professor Shin Jung Hoon The bright colors of a rainbow or a peacock are produced by the reflection and interference of light in transparent periodic structures, producing what is called a structural color. These colors are very bright and change according to the viewing angle. On the other hand, the wings of a morpho-butterfly also have structural colors but are predominantly blue over a wide range of angles. This is because the unique structure of the morpho-butterfly’s wings contains both order and chaos. Professor Shin Jung Hoon’s team from the Department of Physics and the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology at KAIST produced a display that mimics the structure of the morpho-butterfly’s wings using glass beads. This research successfully produced a reflective display (one that reflects external light to project images), which could be used to make very bright displays with low energy consumption. This technology can also be used to make anti-counterfeit bills, as well as coating materials for mobile phones and wallets. The structure of the morpho-butterfly’s wings seems to be in periodic order at the 1-micrometer level, but contains disorder at the 100-nanometer level. So far, no one had succeeded in reproducing a structure with both order and disorder at the nanometer level. Professor Shin’s team randomly aligned differently sized glass beads of a few hundred nanometers to create chaos and placed a thin periodic film on top of it using the semiconductor deposition method, thereby creating the morpho-butterfly-like structure over a large area. This new development produced better color and brightness than the morpho-butterfly wing and even exhibited less color change according to angle. The team sealed the film in thin plastic, which helped to maintain the superior properties whilst making it more firm and paper-like. Professor Shin emphasized that the results were an exemplary success in the field of biomimetics and that structural colors could have other applications in sensors and fashion, for example. The results were first introduced on May 3rd in Nature as one of the Research Highlights and will be published in the online version of the material science magazine, Advanced Materials. This research was jointly conducted by Professor Shin Jung Hoon (Department of Physics / Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology at KAIST), Professor Park NamKyoo (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seoul National University), and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. The funding was provided by the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as part of the World Class University (WCU) project. Figure 2. The biomimetic film can express many different colors Figure 3. The biomimetic diplay and a morpho-butterfly
New Era for Measuring Ultra Fast Phenomena: Atto Science Era
Domestic researchers successfully measured the exact status of the rapidly changing Helium atom using an atto second pulse. Thanks to this discovery, many ultrafast phenomena in nature can now be precisely measured. This will lead to an opening of a new "Atto Science" era. Prof. Nam Chang Hee led this research team and Ph.d Kim Kyung Taek and Prof. Choi Nak Ryul also participated in this research. They have conducted the research under the support of the Researcher Support Program initiated by The Ministry of Education and Science and Korea Research Foundation. The research result was published in the prestigious journal "Physical Review Letters" on March 2nd. (Title: Amplitude and Phase Reconstruction of Electron Wave Packets for Probing Ultrafast Photoionization Dynamics) Prof. Nam Chang Hee"s research team used atto second pulse to measure the ultrafast photoionization. His team used atto second X-ray pulse and femto second laser pulse to photoionize Helium atoms, and measure the wave speed of the produced electron to closely investigate the ultrafast photoionization process. Atom"s photoionization measurement using an atto second pulse was possible using the research team"s high-energy femto second laser and high-performance photo ion measurement device. This research team succeeded in producing the shortest 60 atto second pulse in the world using high-harmonic waves. The research team used high-power femto second laser to produce atto second high-harmonic pulse from argon gas, used this to photoionize Helium atoms, and measured the ultrafast photoionization of the atoms. Prof. Nam Chang Hee said, "This research precisely measured the exact status of rapidly changing Helium atoms. I am planning to research on measuring the ultrafast phenomena inside atoms and molecules and controlling the status of the atoms and molecules based on the research result."
New LEDs: Large Spectrum of Colors
Professor Yonghun Cho has discovered that LEDs with hexagonal pyramid structures can emit various colors of light. LEDs, which have been leading the light revolution is a light emitting element that uses the characteristics of semiconductors to emit light upon passing a current, and is being used for lighting, TV, and various signaling devices. In general, the white LED used for lighting has to be constructed by spraying yellow fluorescent material on a blue LED or by creating a complicated circuit where various LED chips function together. Prof.Cho’s research team discovered the fact that when a small hexagonal pyramid structure is formed on the semiconductor composing the LED and a current is passed through this, then each side, edge, and point on the pyramid assumes different energies. Due to the energy differences, lights of bluegreen, yellow, and orange were emitted from the side, edge, and points of the pyramid, respectively. This shows the prospect of displaying white light as well as that of many other colors. Thus, applying the nanopyramidal structure to LEDs will allow the emission of light with a large spectrum with just the flow of the current, enabling a new type of LED light emitting particles that would display various colors from a single LED chip without the use of a fluorescent material. Also, originally, LEDs have had limitations to its efficiency because of its structural characteristics where fluorescent materials had to be sprayed on, but the nanopyramidal structures will overcome this structural barrier to create brighter light
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