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Professor Seong-Ihl Woo Develops New High-Speed Research Method​
View : 10903 Date : 2007-02-02 Writer : ed_news

Professor Seong-Ihl Woo Develops New High-Speed Research Method

Reduce research periods and expenses for thin film materials several ten times

Posted on the online version of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on January 9

A team led by Seong-Ihl Woo, a professor of KAIST Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the director of the Center for Ultramicrochemical Process Systems, has developed a high-speed research method that can maximize research performances and posted the relevant contents on the online version of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), a distinguished scientific journal, on January 9, 2007.

Professor Woo’s team has developed a high-speed research method that can fabricate several tens or several thousands of thin films with different compositions (mixing ratio) at the same time and carry out structural analysis and performance evaluation more than ten times faster and accurately, which leads to the shortening of the research processes of thin film materials. This is an epoch-making method that can reduce research periods and expenses several ten times or more, compared to the previous methods.

The qualities of final products of electronic materials, displays, and semi-conductors depend on the features of thin film materials. Averagely, it takes about two weeks or longer to fabricate a functional thin film and analyze and evaluate its performances. In order to fabricate thin film materials in need successfully, more than several thousand times of tests are required.

The existing thin film-fabricating equipment is expensive one demanding high-degree vacuum, such as chemical vapor deposition, sputtering, physical vapor deposition, laser evaporation, and so on. In order to fabricate thin films of various compositions with this equipment, a several million won-worth target (solid-state raw material) and precursors (volatile organic metal compound) pricing several hundreds won per gram are required. Therefore, huge amount of experiment expense is demanded for fabrication of several ten thousands of thin films with various compositions.

Professor Woo’s team has developed ‘combinatorial droplet chemical deposition’ equipment, which does not demand high-degree vacuum and is automated by computers and robots, by using a new high-speed research measure. The equipment is priced at about 1/5 of the existing equipment and easy for maintenance.

This equipment uses cheap reagents, instead of expensive raw materials. Reagents necessary to form required compositions are dissolved in water or proper solvents, and then applied by high frequencies to make several micrometer-scaled droplets (fine liquid droplet). Theses droplets are moved by nitrogen and dropped onto a substrate, which is to be fabricated into a thin film, and then subsequent thermal treatment is applied to the substrate to fabricate a thin film of required composition. At this moment, several tens or several hundreds of thin films with various compositions can be fabricated at the same time by reducing the size of thin film specimens into millimeter scale with the use of shade mask and adjusting vaporization time with masks, the moving speed of which can be adjusted. The expenses for materials necessary for the fabrication of thin films with this equipment amount to several ten thousands won per 100 grams, which is in the range of 1/100 and 1/10 of the previous methods, and the research period can be shortened into one of several tenth.

“If this new method is applied to the development of elements in the fields of core energy, material and health, which have not been discovered by the existing research methods so far, as well as researches in thin film material field, substantial effects will be brought,” said Professor Woo.

‘Combinatorial droplet chemical vaporization’ equipment is pending a domestic patent application and international patent applications at Japan and Germany. This equipment will be produced by order and provided to general researchers.

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