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KAIST Research Team Breaks Down Musical Instincts with AI
Music, often referred to as the universal language, is known to be a common component in all cultures. Then, could ‘musical instinct’ be something that is shared to some degree despite the extensive environmental differences amongst cultures? On January 16, a KAIST research team led by Professor Hawoong Jung from the Department of Physics announced to have identified the principle by which musical instincts emerge from the human brain without special learning using an artificial neural network model. Previously, many researchers have attempted to identify the similarities and differences between the music that exist in various different cultures, and tried to understand the origin of the universality. A paper published in Science in 2019 had revealed that music is produced in all ethnographically distinct cultures, and that similar forms of beats and tunes are used. Neuroscientist have also previously found out that a specific part of the human brain, namely the auditory cortex, is responsible for processing musical information. Professor Jung’s team used an artificial neural network model to show that cognitive functions for music forms spontaneously as a result of processing auditory information received from nature, without being taught music. The research team utilized AudioSet, a large-scale collection of sound data provided by Google, and taught the artificial neural network to learn the various sounds. Interestingly, the research team discovered that certain neurons within the network model would respond selectively to music. In other words, they observed the spontaneous generation of neurons that reacted minimally to various other sounds like those of animals, nature, or machines, but showed high levels of response to various forms of music including both instrumental and vocal. The neurons in the artificial neural network model showed similar reactive behaviours to those in the auditory cortex of a real brain. For example, artificial neurons responded less to the sound of music that was cropped into short intervals and were rearranged. This indicates that the spontaneously-generated music-selective neurons encode the temporal structure of music. This property was not limited to a specific genre of music, but emerged across 25 different genres including classic, pop, rock, jazz, and electronic. < Figure 1. Illustration of the musicality of the brain and artificial neural network (created with DALL·E3 AI based on the paper content) > Furthermore, suppressing the activity of the music-selective neurons was found to greatly impede the cognitive accuracy for other natural sounds. That is to say, the neural function that processes musical information helps process other sounds, and that ‘musical ability’ may be an instinct formed as a result of an evolutionary adaptation acquired to better process sounds from nature. Professor Hawoong Jung, who advised the research, said, “The results of our study imply that evolutionary pressure has contributed to forming the universal basis for processing musical information in various cultures.” As for the significance of the research, he explained, “We look forward for this artificially built model with human-like musicality to become an original model for various applications including AI music generation, musical therapy, and for research in musical cognition.” He also commented on its limitations, adding, “This research however does not take into consideration the developmental process that follows the learning of music, and it must be noted that this is a study on the foundation of processing musical information in early development.” < Figure 2. The artificial neural network that learned to recognize non-musical natural sounds in the cyber space distinguishes between music and non-music. > This research, conducted by first author Dr. Gwangsu Kim of the KAIST Department of Physics (current affiliation: MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences) and Dr. Dong-Kyum Kim (current affiliation: IBS) was published in Nature Communications under the title, “Spontaneous emergence of rudimentary music detectors in deep neural networks”. This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea.
KAIST builds a high-resolution 3D holographic sensor using a single mask
Holographic cameras can provide more realistic images than ordinary cameras thanks to their ability to acquire 3D information about objects. However, existing holographic cameras use interferometers that measure the wavelength and refraction of light through the interference of light waves, which makes them complex and sensitive to their surrounding environment. On August 23, a KAIST research team led by Professor YongKeun Park from the Department of Physics announced a new leap forward in 3D holographic imaging sensor technology. The team proposed an innovative holographic camera technology that does not use complex interferometry. Instead, it uses a mask to precisely measure the phase information of light and reconstruct the 3D information of an object with higher accuracy. < Figure 1. Structure and principle of the proposed holographic camera. The amplitude and phase information of light scattered from a holographic camera can be measured. > The team used a mask that fulfills certain mathematical conditions and incorporated it into an ordinary camera, and the light scattered from a laser is measured through the mask and analyzed using a computer. This does not require a complex interferometer and allows the phase information of light to be collected through a simplified optical system. With this technique, the mask that is placed between the two lenses and behind an object plays an important role. The mask selectively filters specific parts of light,, and the intensity of the light passing through the lens can be measured using an ordinary commercial camera. This technique combines the image data received from the camera with the unique pattern received from the mask and reconstructs an object’s precise 3D information using an algorithm. This method allows a high-resolution 3D image of an object to be captured in any position. In practical situations, one can construct a laser-based holographic 3D image sensor by adding a mask with a simple design to a general image sensor. This makes the design and construction of the optical system much easier. In particular, this novel technology can capture high-resolution holographic images of objects moving at high speeds, which widens its potential field of application. < Figure 2. A moving doll captured by a conventional camera and the proposed holographic camera. When taking a picture without focusing on the object, only a blurred image of the doll can be obtained from a general camera, but the proposed holographic camera can restore the blurred image of the doll into a clear image. > The results of this study, conducted by Dr. Jeonghun Oh from the KAIST Department of Physics as the first author, were published in Nature Communications on August 12 under the title, "Non-interferometric stand-alone single-shot holographic camera using reciprocal diffractive imaging". Dr. Oh said, “The holographic camera module we are suggesting can be built by adding a filter to an ordinary camera, which would allow even non-experts to handle it easily in everyday life if it were to be commercialized.” He added, “In particular, it is a promising candidate with the potential to replace existing remote sensing technologies.” This research was supported by the National Research Foundation’s Leader Research Project, the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT’s Core Hologram Technology Support Project, and the Nano and Material Technology Development Project.
KAIST researchers find the key to overcome the limits in X-ray microscopy
X-ray microscopes have the advantage of penetrating most substances, so internal organs and skeletons can be observed non-invasively through chest X-rays or CT scans. Recently, studies to increase the resolution of X-ray imaging technology are being actively conducted in order to precisely observe the internal structure of semiconductors and batteries at the nanoscale. KAIST (President Kwang Hyung Lee) announced on April 12th that a joint research team led by Professor YongKeun Park of the Department of Physics and Dr. Jun Lim of the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory has succeeded in developing a core technology that can overcome the resolution limitations of existing X-ray microscopes. d This study, in which Dr. KyeoReh Lee participated as the first author, was published on 6th of April in “Light: Science and Application”, a world-renowned academic journal in optics and photonics. (Paper title: Direct high-resolution X-ray imaging exploiting pseudorandomness). X-ray nanomicroscopes do not have refractive lenses. In an X-ray microscope, a circular grating called a concentric zone plate is used instead of a lens. The resolution of an image obtained using the zone plate is determined by the quality of the nanostructure that comprises the plate. There are several difficulties in fabricating and maintaining these nanostructures, which set the limit to the level of resolution for X-ray microscopy. The research team developed a new X-ray nanomicroscopy technology to overcome this problem. The X-ray lens proposed by the research team is in the form of numerous holes punched in a thin tungsten film, and generates random diffraction patterns by diffracting incident X-rays. The research team mathematically identified that, paradoxically, the high-resolution information of the sample was fully contained in these random diffraction patterns, and actually succeeded in extracting the information and imaging the internal states of the samples. The imaging method using the mathematical properties of random diffraction was proposed and implemented in the visible light band for the first time by Dr. KyeoReh Lee and Professor YongKeun Park in 2016*. This study uses the results of previous studies to solve the difficult, lingering problem in the field of the X-ray imaging. ※ "Exploiting the speckle-correlation scattering matrix for a compact reference-free holographic image sensor." Nature communications 7.1 (2016): 13359. The resolution of the image of the constructed sample has no direct correlation with the size of the pattern etched on the random lens used. Based on this idea, the research team succeeded in acquiring images with 14 nm resolution (approximately 1/7 the size of the coronavirus) by using random lenses made in a circular pattern with a diameter of 300 nm. The imaging technology developed by this research team is a key fundamental technology that can enhance the resolution of X-ray nanomicroscopy, which has been blocked by limitations of the production of existing zone plates. The first author and one of the co-corresponding author, Dr. KyeoReh Lee of KAIST Department of Physics, said, “In this study, the resolution was limited to 14 nm, but if the next-generation X-ray light source and high-performance X-ray detector are used, the resolution would exceed that of the conventional X-ray nano-imaging and approach the resolution of an electron microscope.” and added, “Unlike an electron microscope, X-rays can observe the internal structure without damaging the sample, so it will be able to present a new standard for non-invasive nanostructure observation processes such as quality inspections for semiconductors.”. The co-corresponding author, Dr. Jun Lim of the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory, said, “In the same context, the developed image technology is expected to greatly increase the performance in the 4th generation multipurpose radiation accelerator which is set to be established in Ochang of the Northern Chungcheong Province.” This research was conducted with the support through the Research Leader Program and the Sejong Science Fellowship of the National Research Foundation of Korea. Fig. 1. Designed diffuser as X-ray imaging lens. a, Schematic of full-field transmission X-ray microscopy. The attenuation (amplitude) map of a sample is measured. The image resolution (dx) is limited by the outermost zone width of the zone plate (D). b, Schematic of the proposed method. A designed diffuser is used instead of a zone plate. The image resolution is finer than the hole size of the diffuser (dx << D). Fig. 2. The left panel is a surface electron microscopy (SEM) image of the X-ray diffuser used in the experiment. The middle panel shows the design of the X-ray diffuser, and there is an inset in the middle of the panel that shows a corresponding part of the SEM image. The right panel shows an experimental random X-ray diffraction pattern, also known as a speckle pattern, obtained from the X-ray diffuser. Fig. 3. Images taken from the proposed randomness-based X-ray imaging (bottom) and the corresponding surface electron microscope (SEM) images (top).
Using light to throw and catch atoms to open up a new chapter for quantum computing
The technology to move and arrange atoms, the most basic component of a quantum computer, is very important to Rydberg quantum computing research. However, to place the atoms at the desired location, the atoms must be captured and transported one by one using a highly focused laser beam, commonly referred to as an optical tweezer. and, the quantum information of the atoms is likely to change midway. KAIST (President Kwang Hyung Lee) announced on the 27th that a research team led by Professor Jaewook Ahn of the Department of Physics developed a technology to throw and receive rubidium atoms one by one using a laser beam. The research team developed a method to throw and receive atoms which would minimize the time the optical tweezers are in contact with the atoms in which the quantum information the atoms carry may change. The research team used the characteristic that the rubidium atoms, which are kept at a very low temperature of 40μK below absolute zero, move very sensitively to the electromagnetic force applied by light along the focal point of the light tweezers. The research team accelerated the laser of an optical tweezer to give an optical kick to an atom to send it to a target, then caught the flying atom with another optical tweezer to stop it. The atom flew at a speed of 65 cm/s, and traveled up to 4.2 μm. Compared to the existing technique of guiding the atoms with the optical tweezers, the technique of throwing and receiving atoms eliminates the need to calculate the transporting path for the tweezers, and makes it easier to fix the defects in the atomic arrangement. As a result, it is effective in generating and maintaining a large number of atomic arrangements, and when the technology is used to throw and receive flying atom qubits, it will be used in studying new and more powerful quantum computing methods that presupposes the structural changes in quantum arrangements. "This technology will be used to develop larger and more powerful Rydberg quantum computers," says Professor Jaewook Ahn. “In a Rydberg quantum computer,” he continues, “atoms are arranged to store quantum information and interact with neighboring atoms through electromagnetic forces to perform quantum computing. The method of throwing an atom away for quick reconstruction the quantum array can be an effective way to fix an error in a quantum computer that requires a removal or replacement of an atom.” The research, which was conducted by doctoral students Hansub Hwang and Andrew Byun of the Department of Physics at KAIST and Sylvain de Léséleuc, a researcher at the National Institute of Natural Sciences in Japan, was published in the international journal, Optica, 0n March 9th. (Paper title: Optical tweezers throw and catch single atoms). This research was carried out with the support of the Samsung Science & Technology Foundation. <Figure 1> A schematic diagram of the atom catching and throwing technique. The optical tweezer on the left kicks the atom to throw it into a trajectory to have the tweezer on the right catch it to stop it.
KAIST researchers develops a tech to enable production of ultrahigh-resolution LED with sub-micrometer scale pixels
Ultrahigh-resolution displays are an essential element for developing next-generation electronic products such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and smart watches, and can be applied not only to head-mounted displays, but also to smart glasses and smart lenses. The technology developed through this research is expected to be used to make such next-generation ultrahigh-resolution displays and other various sub-micro optoelectronic devices. KAIST (President Kwang Hyung Lee) announced on the 22nd that Professor Yong-Hoon Cho's research team of KAIST Department of Physics developed the core technology for an ultrahigh resolution light-emitting diode (LED) display that can realize 0.5 micron-scale pixels smaller than 1/100 of the average hair thickness (about 100 microns) using focused ion beams. Commonly, pixelation of ultrahigh-resolution LED displays usually relies on the etching method that physically cuts the area around the pixel, but as the pixel becomes smaller due to the occurrence of various defects around it, leading to side-effects of having leakage of current increased and light-emission efficiency decreased. In addition, various complex processes such as patterning for pixelation and post-processing for prevention of leakage current are required. Professor Yong-Hoon Cho's research team developed a technology that can create pixels down to the size of a microscale without the complicated pre- and post-processing using a focused ion beam. This method has the advantage of being able to freely set the shape of the emitting pixel without causing any structural deformation on the material surface by controlling the intensity of the focused ion beam. The focused ion beam technology has been widely used for ultrahigh-magnification imaging and nanostructure fabrication in fields such as materials engineering and biology. However, when a focused ion beam is used on a light emitting body such as an LED, light emission of a portion hit by the beam and a surrounding area rapidly decreases, which has been a barrier to fabricating a nano-scale light emitting structure. Upon facing this issue, Professor Cho's research team began the research on the idea that if they turned things around to use these problematic phenomena, they can be used in ultra-fine pixelation method on a sub-micron scale. The research team used a focused ion beam whose intensity was softened to the extent that the surface was not shaved, and found that not only the light-emission rapidly decreased in the area hit by the focused ion beam, but also the local resistance greatly increased. As a result, while the surface of the LED is kept flat, the portion hit by the focused ion beam is optically and electrically isolated, enabling pixelation for independent operation. Professor Yong-Hoon Cho, who led the research, said, “We have newly developed a technology that can create sub-micron-scale pixels without complicated processes using a focused ion beam, which will be a base technology that can be applied to next-generation ultrahigh-resolution displays and nano-photoelectronic devices.” This research in which the Master's student Ji-Hwan Moon and the Ph.D. student Baul Kim of KAIST Department of Physics participated as co-first authors, was carried out with the support of the National Research Foundation of Korea's Support Program for Mid-Career Researchers and the Institute of Information and Communications Technology Planning and Evaluation. It was published online in 'Advanced Materials' on February 13, and was also selected as the internal cover of the next offline edition. (Title: Electrically Driven Sub-Micron Light-Emitting Diode Arrays Using Maskless and Etching-Free Pixelation) Figure 1. Schematic diagram of the technology for ultrahigh density sub-micron-sized pixels through He focused ion beam (FIB) irradiation on an LED device Figure 2. Ultra-high-density pixelation technology of micro light-emitting diodes (μLED) through He focused ion beam (FIB) irradiation Figure 3. Rectangular pixels of different sizes (surface structure picture and luminescence picture) realized by a focused ion beam. Luminescence pictures of pixel arrays ranging in size from 20 µm x 20 µm to 0.5 µm x 0.5 µm, with surface flatness maintained.
Tomographic Measurement of Dielectric Tensors
Dielectric tensor tomography allows the direct measurement of the 3D dielectric tensors of optically anisotropic structures A research team reported the direct measurement of dielectric tensors of anisotropic structures including the spatial variations of principal refractive indices and directors. The group also demonstrated quantitative tomographic measurements of various nematic liquid-crystal structures and their fast 3D nonequilibrium dynamics using a 3D label-free tomographic method. The method was described in Nature Materials. Light-matter interactions are described by the dielectric tensor. Despite their importance in basic science and applications, it has not been possible to measure 3D dielectric tensors directly. The main challenge was due to the vectorial nature of light scattering from a 3D anisotropic structure. Previous approaches only addressed 3D anisotropic information indirectly and were limited to two-dimensional, qualitative, strict sample conditions or assumptions. The research team developed a method enabling the tomographic reconstruction of 3D dielectric tensors without any preparation or assumptions. A sample is illuminated with a laser beam with various angles and circularly polarization states. Then, the light fields scattered from a sample are holographically measured and converted into vectorial diffraction components. Finally, by inversely solving a vectorial wave equation, the 3D dielectric tensor is reconstructed. Professor YongKeun Park said, “There were a greater number of unknowns in direct measuring than with the conventional approach. We applied our approach to measure additional holographic images by slightly tilting the incident angle.” He said that the slightly tilted illumination provides an additional orthogonal polarization, which makes the underdetermined problem become the determined problem. “Although scattered fields are dependent on the illumination angle, the Fourier differentiation theorem enables the extraction of the same dielectric tensor for the slightly tilted illumination,” Professor Park added. His team’s method was validated by reconstructing well-known liquid crystal (LC) structures, including the twisted nematic, hybrid aligned nematic, radial, and bipolar configurations. Furthermore, the research team demonstrated the experimental measurements of the non-equilibrium dynamics of annihilating, nucleating, and merging LC droplets, and the LC polymer network with repeating 3D topological defects. “This is the first experimental measurement of non-equilibrium dynamics and 3D topological defects in LC structures in a label-free manner. Our method enables the exploration of inaccessible nematic structures and interactions in non-equilibrium dynamics,” first author Dr. Seungwoo Shin explained. -PublicationSeungwoo Shin, Jonghee Eun, Sang Seok Lee, Changjae Lee, Herve Hugonnet, Dong Ki Yoon, Shin-Hyun Kim, Jongwoo Jeong, YongKeun Park, “Tomographic Measurement ofDielectric Tensors at Optical Frequency,” Nature Materials March 02, 2022 (https://doi.org/10/1038/s41563-022-01202-8) -ProfileProfessor YongKeun ParkBiomedical Optics Laboratory (http://bmol.kaist.ac.kr)Department of PhysicsCollege of Natural SciencesKAIST
Label-Free Multiplexed Microtomography of Endogenous Subcellular Dynamics Using Deep Learning
AI-based holographic microscopy allows molecular imaging without introducing exogenous labeling agents A research team upgraded the 3D microtomography observing dynamics of label-free live cells in multiplexed fluorescence imaging. The AI-powered 3D holotomographic microscopy extracts various molecular information from live unlabeled biological cells in real time without exogenous labeling or staining agents. Professor YongKeum Park’s team and the startup Tomocube encoded 3D refractive index tomograms using the refractive index as a means of measurement. Then they decoded the information with a deep learning-based model that infers multiple 3D fluorescence tomograms from the refractive index measurements of the corresponding subcellular targets, thereby achieving multiplexed micro tomography. This study was reported in Nature Cell Biology online on December 7, 2021. Fluorescence microscopy is the most widely used optical microscopy technique due to its high biochemical specificity. However, it needs to genetically manipulate or to stain cells with fluorescent labels in order to express fluorescent proteins. These labeling processes inevitably affect the intrinsic physiology of cells. It also has challenges in long-term measuring due to photobleaching and phototoxicity. The overlapped spectra of multiplexed fluorescence signals also hinder the viewing of various structures at the same time. More critically, it took several hours to observe the cells after preparing them. 3D holographic microscopy, also known as holotomography, is providing new ways to quantitatively image live cells without pretreatments such as staining. Holotomography can accurately and quickly measure the morphological and structural information of cells, but only provides limited biochemical and molecular information. The 'AI microscope' created in this process takes advantage of the features of both holographic microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. That is, a specific image from a fluorescence microscope can be obtained without a fluorescent label. Therefore, the microscope can observe many types of cellular structures in their natural state in 3D and at the same time as fast as one millisecond, and long-term measurements over several days are also possible. The Tomocube-KAIST team showed that fluorescence images can be directly and precisely predicted from holotomographic images in various cells and conditions. Using the quantitative relationship between the spatial distribution of the refractive index found by AI and the major structures in cells, it was possible to decipher the spatial distribution of the refractive index. And surprisingly, it confirmed that this relationship is constant regardless of cell type. Professor Park said, “We were able to develop a new concept microscope that combines the advantages of several microscopes with the multidisciplinary research of AI, optics, and biology. It will be immediately applicable for new types of cells not included in the existing data and is expected to be widely applicable for various biological and medical research.” When comparing the molecular image information extracted by AI with the molecular image information physically obtained by fluorescence staining in 3D space, it showed a 97% or more conformity, which is a level that is difficult to distinguish with the naked eye. “Compared to the sub-60% accuracy of the fluorescence information extracted from the model developed by the Google AI team, it showed significantly higher performance,” Professor Park added. This work was supported by the KAIST Up program, the BK21+ program, Tomocube, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Ministry of Health & Welfare. -Publication Hyun-seok Min, Won-Do Heo, YongKeun Park, et al. “Label-free multiplexed microtomography of endogenous subcellular dynamics using generalizable deep learning,” Nature Cell Biology (doi.org/10.1038/s41556-021-00802-x) published online December 07 2021. -Profile Professor YongKeun Park Biomedical Optics Laboratory Department of Physics KAIST
Quantum Emitters: Beyond Crystal Clear to Single-Photon Pure
‘Nanoscale Focus Pinspot’ can quench only the background noise without changing the optical properties of the quantum emitter and the built-in photonic structure Photons, fundamental particles of light, are carrying these words to your eyes via the light from your computer screen or phone. Photons play a key role in the next-generation quantum information technology, such as quantum computing and communications. A quantum emitter, capable of producing a single, pure photon, is the crux of such technology but has many issues that have yet to be solved, according to KAIST researchers. A research team under Professor Yong-Hoon Cho has developed a technique that can isolate the desired quality emitter by reducing the noise surrounding the target with what they have dubbed a ‘nanoscale focus pinspot.’ They published their results on June 24 in ACS Nano. “The nanoscale focus pinspot is a structurally nondestructive technique under an extremely low dose ion beam and is generally applicable for various platforms to improve their single-photon purity while retaining the integrated photonic structures,” said lead author Yong-Hoon Cho from the Department of Physics at KAIST. To produce single photons from solid state materials, the researchers used wide-bandgap semiconductor quantum dots — fabricated nanoparticles with specialized potential properties, such as the ability to directly inject current into a small chip and to operate at room temperature for practical applications. By making a quantum dot in a photonic structure that propagates light, and then irradiating it with helium ions, researchers theorized that they could develop a quantum emitter that could reduce the unwanted noisy background and produce a single, pure photon on demand. Professor Cho explained, “Despite its high resolution and versatility, a focused ion beam typically suppresses the optical properties around the bombarded area due to the accelerated ion beam’s high momentum. We focused on the fact that, if the focused ion beam is well controlled, only the background noise can be selectively quenched with high spatial resolution without destroying the structure.” In other words, the researchers focused the ion beam on a mere pin prick, effectively cutting off the interactions around the quantum dot and removing the physical properties that could negatively interact with and degrade the photon purity emitted from the quantum dot. “It is the first developed technique that can quench the background noise without changing the optical properties of the quantum emitter and the built-in photonic structure,” Professor Cho asserted. Professor Cho compared it to stimulated emission depletion microscopy, a technique used to decrease the light around the area of focus, but leaving the focal point illuminated. The result is increased resolution of the desired visual target. “By adjusting the focused ion beam-irradiated region, we can select the target emitter with nanoscale resolution by quenching the surrounding emitter,” Professor Cho said. “This nanoscale selective-quenching technique can be applied to various material and structural platforms and further extended for applications such as optical memory and high-resolution micro displays.” Korea’s National Research Foundation and the Samsung Science and Technology Foundation supported this work. -PublicationMinho Choi, Seongmoon Jun, and Yong-Hoon Cho et al. ACS Nano‘Nanoscale Focus Pinspot for High-Purity Quantum Emitters via Focused-Ion-Beam-Induced Luminescence Quenching,’(https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.1c00587) -ProfileProfessor Yong-Hoon ChoQuantum & Nanobio Photonics Laboratoryhttp://qnp.kaist.ac.kr/ Department of PhysicsKAIST
Professor Heung-Sun Sim the MSIT Scientist of July
Professor Heung-Sun Sim from the Department of Physics was selected as the Scientist of July by the Ministry of Science and ICT. Professor Sim was recognized for his research of the Kondo effect, which opened a novel way to engineer spin screening and entanglement by directly observing a quantum phenomenon known as a Kondo screening cloud. His research revealed that the cloud can mediate interactions between distant spins confined in quantum dots, which is a necessary protocol for semiconductor spin-based quantum information processing. This phenomenon is essentially a cloud that masks magnetic impurities in a material. It was known to exist but its spatial extension had never been observed, creating controversy over whether such an extension actually existed. The research was reported in Nature in March 2020. With this award, Professor Sim received 10 million KRW in prize money.
Quantum Laser Turns Energy Loss into Gain
A new laser that generates quantum particles can recycle lost energy for highly efficient, low threshold laser applications Scientists at KAIST have fabricated a laser system that generates highly interactive quantum particles at room temperature. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Photonics, could lead to a single microcavity laser system that requires lower threshold energy as its energy loss increases. The system, developed by KAIST physicist Yong-Hoon Cho and colleagues, involves shining light through a single hexagonal-shaped microcavity treated with a loss-modulated silicon nitride substrate. The system design leads to the generation of a polariton laser at room temperature, which is exciting because this usually requires cryogenic temperatures. The researchers found another unique and counter-intuitive feature of this design. Normally, energy is lost during laser operation. But in this system, as energy loss increased, the amount of energy needed to induce lasing decreased. Exploiting this phenomenon could lead to the development of high efficiency, low threshold lasers for future quantum optical devices. “This system applies a concept of quantum physics known as parity-time reversal symmetry,” explains Professor Cho. “This is an important platform that allows energy loss to be used as gain. It can be used to reduce laser threshold energy for classical optical devices and sensors, as well as quantum devices and controlling the direction of light.” The key is the design and materials. The hexagonal microcavity divides light particles into two different modes: one that passes through the upward-facing triangle of the hexagon and another that passes through its downward-facing triangle. Both modes of light particles have the same energy and path but don’t interact with each other. However, the light particles do interact with other particles called excitons, provided by the hexagonal microcavity, which is made of semiconductors. This interaction leads to the generation of new quantum particles called polaritons that then interact with each other to generate the polariton laser. By controlling the degree of loss between the microcavity and the semiconductor substrate, an intriguing phenomenon arises, with the threshold energy becoming smaller as energy loss increases. This research was supported by the Samsung Science and Technology Foundation and Korea’s National Research Foundation. -PublicationSong,H.G, Choi, M, Woo, K.Y. Yong-Hoon Cho Room-temperature polaritonic non-Hermitian system with single microcavityNature Photonics (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-021-00820-z) -ProfileProfessor Yong-Hoon ChoQuantum & Nanobio Photonics Laboratoryhttp://qnp.kaist.ac.kr/ Department of PhysicsKAIST
Defining the Hund Physics Landscape of Two-Orbital Systems
Researchers identify exotic metals in unexpected quantum systems Electrons are ubiquitous among atoms, subatomic tokens of energy that can independently change how a system behaves—but they also can change each other. An international research collaboration found that collectively measuring electrons revealed unique and unanticipated findings. The researchers published their results on May 17 in Physical Review Letters. “It is not feasible to obtain the solution just by tracing the behavior of each individual electron,” said paper author Myung Joon Han, professor of physics at KAIST. “Instead, one should describe or track all the entangled electrons at once. This requires a clever way of treating this entanglement.” Professor Han and the researchers used a recently developed “many-particle” theory to account for the entangled nature of electrons in solids, which approximates how electrons locally interact with one another to predict their global activity. Through this approach, the researchers examined systems with two orbitals — the space in which electrons can inhabit. They found that the electrons locked into parallel arrangements within atom sites in solids. This phenomenon, known as Hund’s coupling, results in a Hund’s metal. This metallic phase, which can give rise to such properties as superconductivity, was thought only to exist in three-orbital systems. “Our finding overturns a conventional viewpoint that at least three orbitals are needed for Hund’s metallicity to emerge,” Professor Han said, noting that two-orbital systems have not been a focus of attention for many physicists. “In addition to this finding of a Hund’s metal, we identified various metallic regimes that can naturally occur in generic, correlated electron materials.” The researchers found four different correlated metals. One stems from the proximity to a Mott insulator, a state of a solid material that should be conductive but actually prevents conduction due to how the electrons interact. The other three metals form as electrons align their magnetic moments — or phases of producing a magnetic field — at various distances from the Mott insulator. Beyond identifying the metal phases, the researchers also suggested classification criteria to define each metal phase in other systems. “This research will help scientists better characterize and understand the deeper nature of so-called ‘strongly correlated materials,’ in which the standard theory of solids breaks down due to the presence of strong Coulomb interactions between electrons,” Professor Han said, referring to the force with which the electrons attract or repel each other. These interactions are not typically present in solid materials but appear in materials with metallic phases. The revelation of metals in two-orbital systems and the ability to determine whole system electron behavior could lead to even more discoveries, according to Professor Han. “This will ultimately enable us to manipulate and control a variety of electron correlation phenomena,” Professor Han said. Co-authors include Siheon Ryee from KAIST and Sangkook Choi from the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States. Korea’s National Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, supported this work. -PublicationSiheon Ryee, Myung Joon Han, and SangKook Choi, 2021.Hund Physics Landscape of Two-Orbital Systems, Physical Review Letters, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.206401 -ProfileProfessor Myung Joon HanDepartment of PhysicsCollege of Natural ScienceKAIST
Observing Individual Atoms in 3D Nanomaterials and Their Surfaces
Atoms are the basic building blocks for all materials. To tailor functional properties, it is essential to accurately determine their atomic structures. KAIST researchers observed the 3D atomic structure of a nanoparticle at the atom level via neural network-assisted atomic electron tomography. Using a platinum nanoparticle as a model system, a research team led by Professor Yongsoo Yang demonstrated that an atomicity-based deep learning approach can reliably identify the 3D surface atomic structure with a precision of 15 picometers (only about 1/3 of a hydrogen atom’s radius). The atomic displacement, strain, and facet analysis revealed that the surface atomic structure and strain are related to both the shape of the nanoparticle and the particle-substrate interface. Combined with quantum mechanical calculations such as density functional theory, the ability to precisely identify surface atomic structure will serve as a powerful key for understanding catalytic performance and oxidation effect. “We solved the problem of determining the 3D surface atomic structure of nanomaterials in a reliable manner. It has been difficult to accurately measure the surface atomic structures due to the ‘missing wedge problem’ in electron tomography, which arises from geometrical limitations, allowing only part of a full tomographic angular range to be measured. We resolved the problem using a deep learning-based approach,” explained Professor Yang. The missing wedge problem results in elongation and ringing artifacts, negatively affecting the accuracy of the atomic structure determined from the tomogram, especially for identifying the surface structures. The missing wedge problem has been the main roadblock for the precise determination of the 3D surface atomic structures of nanomaterials. The team used atomic electron tomography (AET), which is basically a very high-resolution CT scan for nanomaterials using transmission electron microscopes. AET allows individual atom level 3D atomic structural determination. “The main idea behind this deep learning-based approach is atomicity—the fact that all matter is composed of atoms. This means that true atomic resolution electron tomogram should only contain sharp 3D atomic potentials convolved with the electron beam profile,” said Professor Yang. “A deep neural network can be trained using simulated tomograms that suffer from missing wedges as inputs, and the ground truth 3D atomic volumes as targets. The trained deep learning network effectively augments the imperfect tomograms and removes the artifacts resulting from the missing wedge problem.” The precision of 3D atomic structure can be enhanced by nearly 70% by applying the deep learning-based augmentation. The accuracy of surface atom identification was also significantly improved. Structure-property relationships of functional nanomaterials, especially the ones that strongly depend on the surface structures, such as catalytic properties for fuel-cell applications, can now be revealed at one of the most fundamental scales: the atomic scale. Professor Yang concluded, “We would like to fully map out the 3D atomic structure with higher precision and better elemental specificity. And not being limited to atomic structures, we aim to measure the physical, chemical, and functional properties of nanomaterials at the 3D atomic scale by further advancing electron tomography techniques.” This research, reported at Nature Communications, was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea and the KAIST Global Singularity Research M3I3 Project. -Publication Juhyeok Lee, Chaehwa Jeong & Yongsoo Yang “Single-atom level determination of 3-dimensional surface atomic structure via neural network-assisted atomic electron tomography” Nature Communications -Profile Professor Yongsoo Yang Department of Physics Multi-Dimensional Atomic Imaging Lab (MDAIL) http://mdail.kaist.ac.kr KAIST
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