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Lead-free, Efficient Perovskite for Photovoltaic Cells
(Clockwise from left: Post-doc Researcher Lamjed Debbichi, Master’s Candidate Songju Lee, Professor Min Seok Jang and Professor Hyungjun Kim) A KAIST research team has proposed a perovskite material, Cs2Au2I6 that serves as a potential active material for highly efficient lead-free thin-film photovoltaic devices. This material is expected to lay the foundation to overcome previously known limitations of perovskite including its stability and toxicity issues. As strong candidates for next-generation high-efficiency photovoltaic cells, perovskite photovoltaic cells have a maximum photoconversion efficiency of 22%, comparable to high-performance crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells. In addition, perovskite-based cells can be fabricated at low temperatures, thereby bringing about dramatic cost reductions. However, it has been noted that conventional organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite materials exhibit low stability, eventually degrading their performance and making them unfit for continued use. Moreover, their inclusion of lead has undermined their environmental friendliness. In light of this, a joint team led by Professor Hyungjun Kim from the KAIST Department of Chemistry and Professor Min Seok Jang from the School of Electrical Engineering has analyzed a previously discovered perovskite material, Cs2Au2I6, consisting of only inorganic substances and investigated its suitability for application in thin-film photovoltaic devices. Theoretical investigations suggests that this new perovskite material is not only as efficient but also more stable and environment friendly compared to the conventional perovskite materials. For this analysis, the team developed multiscale multiphysics simulation frameworks. Atomic-scale first-principle quantum calculations were carried out to study the optical properties of the proposed material, and device-scale electromagnetic simulations were conducted to suggest that the material could indeed serve as a promising photovoltaic substance at the device level. From this point onward, the research team plans to extend the study in two directions: an empirical study to apply the perovskite material in real-world photovoltaic cells and a theoretical analysis to find the optimal and highly stable material for photovoltaic cells. The team said, “Perovskite materials are highly efficient, but in order to completely replace the conventional solar cells, their stability and toxicity issues must first be resolved.” They added that this research is expected to accelerate related studies in pursuit of high-efficiency, environment-friendly perovskite materials. This research, led by post-doc researcher Lamjed Debbichi and master’s candidate Songju Lee, was selected as the front cover article of Advanced Materials on March 22. Figure 1. Cover of Advanced Materials Figure 2. Schematic of full solar cell device structure
Scholarship in Memory of Professor Shin Endowed by His Family
Professor Joong-Hoon Shin of the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology was touted as a genius young scientist who would take the lead in nanoscience technology. After earning degrees from Harvard and the Caltech, he was appointed at KAIST at age 27. He was the youngest professor ever appointed in Korea. Professor Shin’s outstanding research in the field of semiconductor nano-optics led him to be named as the ‘Scientist of the Year’ for three consecutive years from 2004 by the most prestigious scientist and technology organizations including the Korean Academy Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Korean government. However, a fatal car accident last September on the way home from a seminar in Gangwon Province took his life and a promising scholar’s research was left unfinished. He was 47 years old. Mrs. Young-Eun Hong, the widow of the late Professor Shin, made a 100 million KRW gift to KAIST to establish the ‘Joong-Hoon Shin Scholarship’ on April 7. The scholarship will provide financial assistance to outstanding students of physics and nanoscience. At the donation ceremony attended by President Sung-Chul Shin, Professor Shin’s colleagues and students, and family members, Mrs. Hong said, “My family would like to help young students achieve their dreams on behalf of my husband. I hope students will remember my husband’s passion and dedication toward his studies for a long time. He was a very hard worker.” Working at KAIST, Professor Shin made significant achievements in field of semiconductor nano-optics, specializing in silicon photonics and silicon nanocrystal structures. In particular, his research team gained attention reproducing the structure of ‘Morpho butterfly’ wings, which produce the same colors from various angles, using external light as a light source without extra power. Their research led to the creation of original technology dubbed the biomimetics reflective display and was published in Nature in 2012. Professor Shin’s legacy still endures. In February, a research team under Professor Shin-Hyun Kim of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering includingthe late Professor Shin’s doctoral student Seung Yeol Lee, posthumously dedicated their research published on Advanced Materials to Professor Shin. ( click ) KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin, who is also a physicist, said “His passing is a great loss to the whole scientific and technology community, at home and abroad. But Joong-Hoon Shin scholarship will enable the growth and ensure the strength of nanoscience and its education at KAIST. We will uphold Professor Shin’s legacy by doing our best to make KAIST a world-leading university which can create global value.” Mrs. Hong said she will continue her husband’s academic legacy at his alma maters, Harvard and the Caltech, where he earned his BS in physics and his Ph.D. in applied physics respectively. She said she will start fundraising to establish the Joong-Hoon Shin Scholarship at Harvard and Caltech from July. (Mrs. Hong poses with President Sung-Chul Shin after donating 100 million KRW for establishing 'Joong-Hoon Shin Scholarship' in memory of her husband on April 7.)
Improving Silver Nanowires for FTCEs with Flash Light Interactions
Flexible transparent conducting electrodes (FTCEs) are an essential element of flexible optoelectronics for next-generation wearable displays, augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoTs). Silver nanowires (Ag NWs) have received a great deal of attention as future FTCEs due to their great flexibility, material stability, and large-scale productivity. Despite these advantages, Ag NWs have drawbacks such as high wire-to-wire contact resistance and poor adhesion to substrates, resulting in severe power consumption and the delamination of FTCEs. A research team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at KAIST and Dr. Hong-Jin Park from BSP Inc., has developed high-performance Ag NWs (sheet resistance ~ 5 Ω/sq, transmittance 90 % at λ = 550 nm) with strong adhesion on plastic (interfacial energy of 30.7 J∙m-2) using flash light-material interactions. The broad ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of a flash light enables the localized heating at the junctions of nanowires (NWs), which results in the fast and complete welding of Ag NWs. Consequently, the Ag NWs demonstrate six times higher conductivity than that of the pristine NWs. In addition, the near-infrared (NIR) of the flash lamp melted the interface between the Ag NWs and a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate, dramatically enhancing the adhesion force of the Ag NWs to the PET by 310 %. Professor Lee said, “Light interaction with nanomaterials is an important field for future flexible electronics since it can overcome thermal limit of plastics, and we are currently expanding our research into light-inorganic interactions.” Meanwhile, BSP Inc., a laser manufacturing company and a collaborator of this work, has launched new flash lamp equipment for flexible applications based on the Professor Lee’s research. The results of this work entitled “Flash-Induced Self-Limited Plasmonic Welding of Ag NW Network for Transparent Flexible Energy Harvester (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201603473)” were published in the February 2, 2017 issue of Advanced Materials as the cover article. Professor Lee also contributed an invited review in the same journal of the April 3, 2017 online issue, “Laser-Material Interactions for Flexible Applications (DOI:10.1002/adma.201606586),” overviewing the recent advances in light interactions with flexible nanomaterials. References  Advanced Materials, February 2, 2017, Flash-Induced Self-Limited Plasmonic Welding of Ag NW network for Transparent Flexible Energy Harvester http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201603473/epdf  Advanced Materials, April 3, 2017, Laser-Material Interactions for Flexible Applications http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201606586/abstract For further inquiries on research: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keon Jae Lee), email@example.com (Hong-Jin Park) Picture 1: Artistic Rendtition of Light Interaction with Nanomaterials (This image shows flash-induced plasmonic interactions with nanowires to improve silver nanowires (Ag NWs).) Picture 2: Ag NW/PET Film (This picture shows the Ag NWs on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film after the flash-induced plasmonic thermal process.)
KAIST Develops Transparent Oxide Thin-Film Transistors
With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) era, strong demand has grown for wearable and transparent displays that can be applied to various fields such as augmented reality (AR) and skin-like thin flexible devices. However, previous flexible transparent displays have posed real challenges to overcome, which are, among others, poor transparency and low electrical performance. To improve the transparency and performance, past research efforts have tried to use inorganic-based electronics, but the fundamental thermal instabilities of plastic substrates have hampered the high temperature process, an essential step necessary for the fabrication of high performance electronic devices. As a solution to this problem, a research team led by Professors Keon Jae Lee and Sang-Hee Ko Park of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the KAIST has developed ultrathin and transparent oxide thin-film transistors (TFT) for an active-matrix backplane of a flexible display by using the inorganic-based laser lift-off (ILLO) method. Professor Lee’s team previously demonstrated the ILLO technology for energy-harvesting (Advanced Materials, February 12, 2014) and flexible memory (Advanced Materials, September 8, 2014) devices. The research team fabricated a high-performance oxide TFT array on top of a sacrificial laser-reactive substrate. After laser irradiation from the backside of the substrate, only the oxide TFT arrays were separated from the sacrificial substrate as a result of reaction between laser and laser-reactive layer, and then subsequently transferred onto ultrathin plastics ( thickness). Finally, the transferred ultrathin-oxide driving circuit for the flexible display was attached conformally to the surface of human skin to demonstrate the possibility of the wearable application. The attached oxide TFTs showed high optical transparency of 83% and mobility of even under several cycles of severe bending tests. Professor Lee said, “By using our ILLO process, the technological barriers for high performance transparent flexible displays have been overcome at a relatively low cost by removing expensive polyimide substrates. Moreover, the high-quality oxide semiconductor can be easily transferred onto skin-like or any flexible substrate for wearable application.” These research results, entitled “Skin-Like Oxide Thin-Film Transistors for Transparent Displays,” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adfm.201601296/abstract) were the lead article published in the July 2016 online issue of Wiley’s Advanced Functional Materials. ### References  Advanced Materials, February 12, 2014, Highly-efficient, Flexible Piezoelectric PZT Thin Film Nanogenerator on Plastic Substrates (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201305659/abstract)  Advanced Materials, September 8, 2014, Flexible Crossbar-structured Resistive Memory Arrays on Plastic Substartes via Inorganic-based Laser Lift-off (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201402472/abstract) Picture 1: A Schamatic Image of Ultrathin, Flexible, and Transparent Oxide Thin-film Transistors This image shows ultrathin, flexible, and transparent oxide thin-film transistors produced via the ILLO process. Picture 2: Application of Uultrathin, Flexible, and Transparent Oxide Thin-film Transistors This picture shows ultrathin, flexible, and transparent oxide thin-film transistors attached to a jumper sleeve and human skin.
Breakthrough in Flexible Electronics Enabled by Inorganic-based Laser Lift-off
Flexible electronics have been touted as the next generation in electronics in various areas, ranging from consumer electronics to bio-integrated medical devices. In spite of their merits, insufficient performance of organic materials arising from inherent material properties and processing limitations in scalability have posed big challenges to developing all-in-one flexible electronics systems in which display, processor, memory, and energy devices are integrated. The high temperature processes, essential for high performance electronic devices, have severely restricted the development of flexible electronics because of the fundamental thermal instabilities of polymer materials. A research team headed by Professor Keon Jae Lee of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST provides an easier methodology to realize high performance flexible electronics by using the Inorganic-based Laser Lift-off (ILLO). The ILLO process involves depositing a laser-reactive exfoliation layer on rigid substrates, and then fabricating ultrathin inorganic electronic devices, e.g., high density crossbar memristive memory on top of the exfoliation layer. By laser irradiation through the back of the substrate, only the ultrathin inorganic device layers are exfoliated from the substrate as a result of the reaction between laser and exfoliation layer, and then subsequently transferred onto any kind of receiver substrate such as plastic, paper, and even fabric. This ILLO process can enable not only nanoscale processes for high density flexible devices but also the high temperature process that was previously difficult to achieve on plastic substrates. The transferred device successfully demonstrates fully-functional random access memory operation on flexible substrates even under severe bending. Professor Lee said, “By selecting an optimized set of inorganic exfoliation layer and substrate, a nanoscale process at a high temperature of over 1000 °C can be utilized for high performance flexible electronics. The ILLO process can be applied to diverse flexible electronics, such as driving circuits for displays and inorganic-based energy devices such as battery, solar cell, and self-powered devices that require high temperature processes.” The team’s results were published in the November issue of Wiley’s journal, ‘ Advanced Materials, ’ as a cover article entitled “ Flexible Crossbar-Structured Resistive Memory Arrays on Plastic Substrates via Inorganic-Based Laser Lift-Off.” ( http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201402472/abstract ) This schematic picture shows the flexible crossbar memory developed via the ILLO process. This photo shows the flexible RRAM device on a plastic substrate.
The First Demonstration of a Self-powered Cardiac Pacemaker
As the number of pacemakers implanted each year reaches into the millions worldwide, improving the lifespan of pacemaker batteries has been of great concern for developers and manufacturers. Currently, pacemaker batteries last seven years on average, requiring frequent replacements, which may pose patients to a potential risk involved in medical procedures. A research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), headed by Professor Keon Jae Lee of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST and Professor Boyoung Joung, M.D. of the Division of Cardiology at Severance Hospital of Yonsei University, has developed a self-powered artificial cardiac pacemaker that is operated semi-permanently by a flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator. The artificial cardiac pacemaker is widely acknowledged as medical equipment that is integrated into the human body to regulate the heartbeats through electrical stimulation to contract the cardiac muscles of people who suffer from arrhythmia. However, repeated surgeries to replace pacemaker batteries have exposed elderly patients to health risks such as infections or severe bleeding during operations. The team’s newly designed flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator directly stimulated a living rat’s heart using electrical energy converted from the small body movements of the rat. This technology could facilitate the use of self-powered flexible energy harvesters, not only prolonging the lifetime of cardiac pacemakers but also realizing real-time heart monitoring. The research team fabricated high-performance flexible nanogenerators utilizing a bulk single-crystal PMN-PT thin film (iBULe Photonics). The harvested energy reached up to 8.2 V and 0.22 mA by bending and pushing motions, which were high enough values to directly stimulate the rat’s heart. Professor Keon Jae Lee said: “For clinical purposes, the current achievement will benefit the development of self-powered cardiac pacemakers as well as prevent heart attacks via the real-time diagnosis of heart arrhythmia. In addition, the flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator could also be utilized as an electrical source for various implantable medical devices.” This research result was described in the April online issue of Advanced Materials (“Self-Powered Cardiac Pacemaker Enabled by Flexible Single Crystalline PMN-PT Piezoelectric Energy Harvester”: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201400562/abstract). Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWYT2cU_Mog&feature=youtu.be Picture Caption: A self-powered cardiac pacemaker is enabled by a flexible piezoelectric energy harvester.
Professor Sang Ouk Kim Receives the "Scientist of the Month Award" from the Korean Government
Professor Sang Ouk Kim of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, KAIST, received the Scientist of the Month Award in June 2014 for his development of a fundamental technology that allows free control of the properties of carbon-based materials. Since June 1997, the Korean government has awarded monthly one scientist working in industry, universities, or research institutions to recognize his or her research achievements, as well as to promote science and technology. Professor Kim implemented a technique known as doping, which has been used in ordinary semiconductor processes, to demonstrate the physical properties of carbon-based materials. Carbon nanotubes, graphene, and other carbon materials have superior mechanical and electrical properties and are regarded as next-generation materials. However, difficulty in controlling their qualities has made applications in various devices unfavorable. The doping technique in semiconductor production is to artificially introduce impurities into an extremely pure semiconductor for the purpose of modulating its electrical properties. Profess Kim doped elements like nitrogen and boron to enable minute control of the physical properties of carbon-based materials and applied the technique to development of organic solar cells, organic light-emitting devices, and flexible memory. He also increased the application range by using a self-assembly method to change freely the structure of carbon-based materials. Professor Kim has published 53 papers in renowned journals such as Advanced Materials and Nanoletters. He was rewarded further by being invited to write a review paper for the 25th anniversary special edition for Advanced Materials.
KAIST Made Great Improvements of Nanogenerator Power Efficiency
The energy efficiency of a piezoelectric nanogenerator developed by KAIST has increased by almost 40 times, one step closer toward the commercialization of flexible energy harvesters that can supply power infinitely to wearable, implantable electronic devices. NANOGENERATORS are innovative self-powered energy harvesters that convert kinetic energy created from vibrational and mechanical sources into electrical power, removing the need of external circuits or batteries for electronic devices. This innovation is vital in realizing sustainable energy generation in isolated, inaccessible, or indoor environments and even in the human body. Nanogenerators, a flexible and lightweight energy harvester on a plastic substrate, can scavenge energy from the extremely tiny movements of natural resources and human body such as wind, water flow, heartbeats, and diaphragm and respiration activities to generate electrical signals. The generators are not only self-powered, flexible devices but also can provide permanent power sources to implantable biomedical devices, including cardiac pacemakers and deep brain stimulators. However, poor energy efficiency and a complex fabrication process have posed challenges to the commercialization of nanogenerators. Keon Jae Lee, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST, and his colleagues have recently proposed a solution by developing a robust technique to transfer a high-quality piezoelectric thin film from bulk sapphire substrates to plastic substrates using laser lift-off (LLO). Applying the inorganic-based laser lift-off (LLO) process, the research team produced a large-area PZT thin film nanogenerators on flexible substrates (2cm x 2cm). “We were able to convert a high-output performance of ~250 V from the slight mechanical deformation of a single thin plastic substrate. Such output power is just enough to turn on 100 LED lights,” Keon Jae Lee explained. The self-powered nanogenerators can also work with finger and foot motions. For example, under the irregular and slight bending motions of a human finger, the measured current signals had a high electric power of ~8.7 μA. In addition, the piezoelectric nanogenerator has world-record power conversion efficiency, almost 40 times higher than previously reported similar research results, solving the drawbacks related to the fabrication complexity and low energy efficiency. Lee further commented, “Building on this concept, it is highly expected that tiny mechanical motions, including human body movements of muscle contraction and relaxation, can be readily converted into electrical energy and, furthermore, acted as eternal power sources.” The research team is currently studying a method to build three-dimensional stacking of flexible piezoelectric thin films to enhance output power, as well as conducting a clinical experiment with a flexible nanogenerator. This research result, entitled “Highly-efficient, Flexible Piezoelectric PZT Thin Film Nanogenerator on Plastic Substrates,” was published as the cover article of the April issue of Advanced Materials. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201305659/abstract) YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Fny7Xb9ig Over 100 LEDs operated by self-powered flexible piezoelectric thin film nanogenerator Flexible PZT thin film nanogenerator using inorganic-based laser lift-off process Photograph of large-area PZT thin film nanogenerator (3.5cm × 3.5cm) on a curved glass tube and 105 commercial LEDs operated by self-powered flexible piezoelectric energy harvester
Clear Display Technology Under Sunlight Developed
The late Professor Seung-Man Yang The last paper of the late Professor Seung-Man Yang, who was a past master of colloids and fluid mechanics Practical patterning technology of the next generation optical materials, photonic crystals The mineral opal does not possess any pigments, but it appears colorful to our eyes. This is because only a particular wavelength is reflected due to the regular nano-structure of its surface. The material that causes selective reflection of the light is called photonic crystals. The deceased Professor Seung-Man Yang and his research team from KAIST’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department ha ve developed micro-pattern technology using photolithographic process. This can accelerate the commercialization of photonic crystals, which is hailed as the next generation optics material. The research results were published in the April 16th edition of Advanced Materials, known as the most prestigious world-renowned journal in the field of materials science. The newly developed photonic crystal micro-pattern could be used as a core material for the next generation reflective display that is clearly visible even under sunlight. Since it does not require a separate light source, a single charge is enough to last for several days. Until now, many scientists have endeavored to make photonic crystals artificially, however, most were produced in a lump and therefore lacked efficiency. Also, the low mechanical stability of the formed structure prevented from commercialization. In order to solve these problems, the research team has copied the nano-structure of opals. Glass beads were arranged in the same nano-structure as the opal on top of the photoresist material undergoing photocuring by ultraviolet light. The glass beads were installed in the photoresist materials, and UV light was selectively exposed on micro regions. The remaining region was developed by photolithographic process to successfully produce photonic crystals in micro-patterns. The co-author of the research, KAIST Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department’s Professor Sin-Hyeon Kim, said, “Combining the semiconductor process technology with photonic crystal pattern technology can secure the practical applications for photonic crystals.”He also predicted “This technology can be used as the key optical material that configures the next generation reflective color display device with very low power consumption.” The late Professor Seung-Man Yang was a world-renowned expert in the field of colloids and fluid mechanics. Professor Yang published over 193 papers in international journals and continued his research until his passing in last September. He received Du Pont Science and Technology Award in 2007, KAIST Person of the Year 2008, Gyeong-Am Academy Award in 2009, as well as the President’s Award of the Republic of Korea in March 2014. The researchers devoted the achievement of this year’s research to Professor Yang in his honor. Research was conducted by KAIST Photonic-fluidic Integrated Devices Research Team, as a part of the Creative Research Program funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea. Figure 1. Opal [left] and the nano glass bead arrangement structure within the opal [right] Figure 2. Process chart of the photonic crystal micro-pattern formation based on photolithography Figure 3. Opal structure [left] and inverted structure of the opal [right] Figure 4. Photonic crystal micro-pattern in solid colors Figure 5. Photonic crystal micro-pattern that reflects two different crystals (Red, Green) [left] and pixelated pattern of photonic crystal in three primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) [right] that is applicable to reflective displays
Rechargeable Lithium Sulfur Battery for Greater Battery Capacity
Professor Do Kyung Kim from the Department of Material Science and Engineering and Professor Jang Wook Choi from the Graduate School of EEWS have been featured in the lead story of the renowned nanoscience journal Advanced Materials for their research on the lithium sulfur battery. This new type of battery developed by Professor Kim is expected to have a longer life battery life and [higher] energy density than currently commercial batteries. With ample energy density up to 2100Wh/kg—almost 5.4 times that of lithium ion batteries—lithium sulfur batteries can withstand the sharp decrease in energy capacity resulting from charging and discharging—which has been considered the inherent limitation of the conventional batteries. Professor Kim and his research team used one-dimensional, vertical alignment of 75nm tick, 15μm long sulfur nanowires to maximize electric conductivity. Then, to prevent loss of battery life, they carbon-coated each nanowire and prohibited direct contact between the sulfur and electrolyte. The result was one of the most powerful batteries in terms of both energy performance and density. Compared to conventional batteries which suffer from continuous decrease in energy capacity after being discharged, the lithium sulfur battery maintained 99.2% of its initial capacity after being charged and discharged 300 times and up to 70% even after 1000 times. Professor Kim claims that his new battery is an important step forward towards a high-performance rechargeable battery which is a vital technology for unmanned vehicles, electric automobiles and energy storage. He hopes that his research can solve the problems of battery-capacity loss and contribute to South Korea’s leading position in battery technology. Professor Kim’s research team has filed applications for one domestic and international patent for their research.
Technology Developed for Flexible, Foldable & Rechargeable Battery
Flexible, Foldable & Rechargeable Battery The research group of professors Jang-Wook Choi & Jung-Yong Lee from the Graduate School of EEWS and Taek-Soo Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST has developed technology for flexible and foldable batteries which are rechargeable using solar energy. The research result was published in the online issue of Nano Letters on November 5. Trial versions of flexible and wearable electronics are being developed and introduced in the market such as Galaxy Gear, Apple’s i-Watch, and Google Glass. Research is being conducted to make the batteries softer and more wearable and to compete in the fast-growing market for flexible electronics. This new technology is expected to be applied to the development of wearable computers as well as winter outdoor clothing since it is flexible and light. The research group expects that the new technology can be applied to current battery production lines without additional investment. Professor Choi said, “It can be used as a core-source technology in the rechargeable battery industry in the future. Various wearable mobile electronic products can be developed through cooperation and collaboration within the industry.”
Ultra-High Strength Metamaterial Developed Using Graphene
New metamaterial has been developed, exhibiting hundreds of times greater strength than pure metals. Professor Seung Min, Han and Yoo Sung, Jeong (Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability (EEWS)) and Professor Seok Woo, Jeon (Department of Material Science and Engineering) have developed a composite nanomaterial. The nanomaterial consists of graphene inserted in copper and nickel and exhibits strengths 500 times and 180 times, respectively, greater than that of pure metals. The result of the research was published on the July 2nd online edition in Nature Communications journal. Graphene displays strengths 200 times greater than that of steel, is stretchable, and is flexible. The U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center developed a graphene-metal nanomaterial but failed to drastically improve the strength of the material. To maximize the strength increased by the addition of graphene, the KAIST research team created a layered structure of metal and graphene. Using CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition), the team grew a single layer of graphene on a metal deposited substrate and then deposited another metal layer. They repeated this process to produce a metal-graphene multilayer composite material, utilizing a single layer of graphene. Micro-compression tests within Transmission Electronic Microscope and Molecular Dynamics simulations effectively showed the strength enhancing effect and the dislocation movement in grain boundaries of graphene on an atomic level. The mechanical characteristics of the graphene layer within the metal-graphene composite material successfully blocked the dislocations and cracks from external damage from traveling inwards. Therefore the composite material displayed strength beyond conventional metal-metal multilayer materials. The copper-graphene multilayer material with an interplanar distance of 70nm exhibited 500 times greater (1.5GPa) strength than pure copper. Nickel-graphene multilayer material with an interplanar distance of 100nm showed 180 times greater (4.0GPa) strength than pure nickel. It was found that there is a clear relationship between the interplanar distance and the strength of the multilayer material. A smaller interplanar distance made the dislocation movement more difficult and therefore increased the strength of the material. Professor Han, who led the research, commented, “the result is astounding as 0.00004% in weight of graphene increased the strength of the materials by hundreds of times” and “improvements based on this success, especially mass production with roll-to-roll process or metal sintering process in the production of ultra-high strength, lightweight parts for automobile and spacecraft, may become possible.” In addition, Professor Han mentioned that “the new material can be applied to coating materials for nuclear reactor construction or other structural materials requiring high reliability.” The research project received support from National Research Foundation, Global Frontier Program, KAIST EEWS-KINC Program and KISTI Supercomputer and was a collaborative effort with KISTI (Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information), KBSI (Korea Basic Science Institute), Stanford University, and Columbia University. A schematic diagram shows the structure of metal-graphene multi-layers. The metal-graphene multi-layered composite materials, containing a single-layered graphene, block the dislocation movement of graphene layers, resulting in a greater strength in the materials.
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