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Quantum Technology: the Next Game Changer?
The 6th KAIST Global Strategy Institute Forum explores how quantum technology has evolved into a new growth engine for the future The participants of the 6th KAIST Global Strategy Institute (GSI) Forum on April 20 agreed that the emerging technology of quantum computing will be a game changer of the future. As KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee said in his opening remarks, the future is quantum and that future is rapidly approaching. Keynote speakers and panelists presented their insights on the disruptive innovations we are already experiencing. The three keynote speakers included Dr. Jerry M. Chow, IBM fellow and director of quantum infrastructure, Professor John Preskill from Caltech, and Professor Jungsang Kim from Duke University. They discussed the academic impact and industrial applications of quantum technology, and its prospects for the future. Dr. Chow leads IBM Quantum’s hardware system development efforts, focusing on research and system deployment. Professor Preskill is one of the leading quantum information science and quantum computation scholars. He coined the term “quantum supremacy.” Professor Kim is the co-founder and CTO of IonQ Inc., which develops general-purpose trapped ion quantum computers and software to generate, optimize, and execute quantum circuits. Two leading quantum scholars from KAIST, Professor June-Koo Kevin Rhee and Professor Youngik Sohn, and Professor Andreas Heinrich from the IBS Center for Quantum Nanoscience also participated in the forum as panelists. Professor Rhee is the founder of the nation’s first quantum computing software company and leads the AI Quantum Computing IT Research Center at KAIST. During the panel session, Professor Rhee said that although it is undeniable the quantum computing will be a game changer, there are several challenges. For instance, the first actual quantum computer is NISQ (Noisy intermediate-scale quantum era), which is still incomplete. However, it is expected to outperform a supercomputer. Until then, it is important to advance the accuracy of quantum computation in order to offer super computation speeds. Professor Sohn, who worked at PsiQuantum, detailed how quantum computers will affect our society. He said that PsiQuantum is developing silicon photonics that will control photons. We can’t begin to imagine how silicon photonics will transform our society. Things will change slowly but the scale would be massive. The keynote speakers presented how quantum cryptography communications and its sensing technology will serve as disruptive innovations. Dr. Chow stressed that to realize the potential growth and innovation, additional R&D is needed. More research groups and scholars should be nurtured. Only then will the rich R&D resources be able to create breakthroughs in quantum-related industries. Lastly, the commercialization of quantum computing must be advanced, which will enable the provision of diverse services. In addition, more technological and industrial infrastructure must be built to better accommodate quantum computing. Professor Preskill believes that quantum computing will benefit humanity. He cited two basic reasons for his optimistic prediction: quantum complexity and quantum error corrections. He explained why quantum computing is so powerful: quantum computer can easily solve the problems classically considered difficult, such as factorization. In addition, quantum computer has the potential to efficiently simulate all of the physical processes taking place in nature. Despite such dramatic advantages, why does it seem so difficult? Professor Preskill believes this is because we want qubits (quantum bits or ‘qubits’ are the basic unit of quantum information) to interact very strongly with each other. Because computations can fail, we don’t want qubits to interact with the environment unless we can control and predict them. As for quantum computing in the NISQ era, he said that NISQ will be an exciting tool for exploring physics. Professor Preskill does not believe that NISQ will change the world alone, rather it is a step forward toward more powerful quantum technologies in the future. He added that a potentially transformable, scalable quantum computer could still be decades away. Professor Preskill said that a large number of qubits, higher accuracy, and better quality will require a significant investment. He said if we expand with better ideas, we can make a better system. In the longer term, quantum technology will bring significant benefits to the technological sectors and society in the fields of materials, physics, chemistry, and energy production. Professor Kim from Duke University presented on the practical applications of quantum computing, especially in the startup environment. He said that although there is no right answer for the early applications of quantum computing, developing new approaches to solve difficult problems and raising the accessibility of the technology will be important for ensuring the growth of technology-based startups.
Deep Learning Framework to Enable Material Design in Unseen Domain
Researchers propose a deep neural network-based forward design space exploration using active transfer learning and data augmentation A new study proposed a deep neural network-based forward design approach that enables an efficient search for superior materials far beyond the domain of the initial training set. This approach compensates for the weak predictive power of neural networks on an unseen domain through gradual updates of the neural network with active transfer learning and data augmentation methods. Professor Seungwha Ryu believes that this study will help address a variety of optimization problems that have an astronomical number of possible design configurations. For the grid composite optimization problem, the proposed framework was able to provide excellent designs close to the global optima, even with the addition of a very small dataset corresponding to less than 0.5% of the initial training data-set size. This study was reported in npj Computational Materials last month. “We wanted to mitigate the limitation of the neural network, weak predictive power beyond the training set domain for the material or structure design,” said Professor Ryu from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Neural network-based generative models have been actively investigated as an inverse design method for finding novel materials in a vast design space. However, the applicability of conventional generative models is limited because they cannot access data outside the range of training sets. Advanced generative models that were devised to overcome this limitation also suffer from weak predictive power for the unseen domain. Professor Ryu’s team, in collaboration with researchers from Professor Grace Gu’s group at UC Berkeley, devised a design method that simultaneously expands the domain using the strong predictive power of a deep neural network and searches for the optimal design by repetitively performing three key steps. First, it searches for few candidates with improved properties located close to the training set via genetic algorithms, by mixing superior designs within the training set. Then, it checks to see if the candidates really have improved properties, and expands the training set by duplicating the validated designs via a data augmentation method. Finally, they can expand the reliable prediction domain by updating the neural network with the new superior designs via transfer learning. Because the expansion proceeds along relatively narrow but correct routes toward the optimal design (depicted in the schematic of Fig. 1), the framework enables an efficient search. As a data-hungry method, a deep neural network model tends to have reliable predictive power only within and near the domain of the training set. When the optimal configuration of materials and structures lies far beyond the initial training set, which frequently is the case, neural network-based design methods suffer from weak predictive power and become inefficient. Researchers expect that the framework will be applicable for a wide range of optimization problems in other science and engineering disciplines with astronomically large design space, because it provides an efficient way of gradually expanding the reliable prediction domain toward the target design while avoiding the risk of being stuck in local minima. Especially, being a less-data-hungry method, design problems in which data generation is time-consuming and expensive will benefit most from this new framework. The research team is currently applying the optimization framework for the design task of metamaterial structures, segmented thermoelectric generators, and optimal sensor distributions. “From these sets of on-going studies, we expect to better recognize the pros and cons, and the potential of the suggested algorithm. Ultimately, we want to devise more efficient machine learning-based design approaches,” explained Professor Ryu.This study was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea and the KAIST Global Singularity Research Project. -Publication Yongtae Kim, Youngsoo, Charles Yang, Kundo Park, Grace X. Gu, and Seunghwa Ryu, “Deep learning framework for material design space exploration using active transfer learning and data augmentation,” npj Computational Materials (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41524-021-00609-2) -Profile Professor Seunghwa Ryu Mechanics & Materials Modeling Lab Department of Mechanical Engineering KAIST
Professor Il-Doo Kim Named Scientist of the Year by the Journalists
Professor Il-Doo Kim from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering was named the 2019 Scientist of the Year by Korean science journalists. The award was conferred at the 2019 Science Press Night ceremony of the Korea Science Journalists Association (KSJA) on November 29. Professor Kim focuses on developing nanofiber gas sensors for diagnosing diseases in advance by analyzing exhaled biomarkers with electrospinning technology. His outstanding research was praised and selected as one of the top 10 nanotechnology of 2019 by the Korea Nano Technology Research Society (KoNTRS), the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). Professor Kim was honored with the QIAN Baojun Fiber Award, which is awarded every two years by Donghua University in Shanghai, China to recognize outstanding contributions in fiber science and technology. Professor Kim was also elected as an academician of the Asia Pacific Academy of Materials (APAM) on November 21 in Guangzhou, China. In May, Professor Kim was appointed as an associate editor of ACS Nano, a leading international research journal in the field of nanoscience. In his editorial published in the May issue of ACS Nano, Professor Kim introduced and shared the history of KAIST and its vision for the future with other members of the journal. He hopes this will help with promoting a closer relationship between the members of the journal and KAIST moving forward. “Above all,” he said in his acceptance speech, “the greatest news for me as an educator is that the first PhD graduate from our lab, Dr. Seonjin Choi, was appointed as the youngest professor in the Division of Materials Science and Engineering at Hanyang University on September 1.”
Ultrafast Quantum Motion in a Nanoscale Trap Detected
< Professor Heung-Sun Sim (left) and Co-author Dr. Sungguen Ryu (right) > KAIST researchers have reported the detection of a picosecond electron motion in a silicon transistor. This study has presented a new protocol for measuring ultrafast electronic dynamics in an effective time-resolved fashion of picosecond resolution. The detection was made in collaboration with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) in Japan and National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK and is the first report to the best of our knowledge. When an electron is captured in a nanoscale trap in solids, its quantum mechanical wave function can exhibit spatial oscillation at sub-terahertz frequencies. Time-resolved detection of such picosecond dynamics of quantum waves is important, as the detection provides a way of understanding the quantum behavior of electrons in nano-electronics. It also applies to quantum information technologies such as the ultrafast quantum-bit operation of quantum computing and high-sensitivity electromagnetic-field sensing. However, detecting picosecond dynamics has been a challenge since the sub-terahertz scale is far beyond the latest bandwidth measurement tools. A KAIST team led by Professor Heung-Sun Sim developed a theory of ultrafast electron dynamics in a nanoscale trap, and proposed a scheme for detecting the dynamics, which utilizes a quantum-mechanical resonant state formed beside the trap. The coupling between the electron dynamics and the resonant state is switched on and off at a picosecond so that information on the dynamics is read out on the electric current being generated when the coupling is switched on. NTT realized, together with NPL, the detection scheme and applied it to electron motions in a nanoscale trap formed in a silicon transistor. A single electron was captured in the trap by controlling electrostatic gates, and a resonant state was formed in the potential barrier of the trap. The switching on and off of the coupling between the electron and the resonant state was achieved by aligning the resonance energy with the energy of the electron within a picosecond. An electric current from the trap through the resonant state to an electrode was measured at only a few Kelvin degrees, unveiling the spatial quantum-coherent oscillation of the electron with 250 GHz frequency inside the trap. Professor Sim said, “This work suggests a scheme of detecting picosecond electron motions in submicron scales by utilizing quantum resonance. It will be useful in dynamical control of quantum mechanical electron waves for various purposes in nano-electronics, quantum sensing, and quantum information”. This work was published online at Nature Nanotechnology on November 4. It was partly supported by the Korea National Research Foundation through the SRC Center for Quantum Coherence in Condensed Matter. For more on the NTT news release this article, please visit https://www.ntt.co.jp/news2019/1911e/191105a.html -ProfileProfessor Heung-Sun Sim Department of PhysicsDirector, SRC Center for Quantum Coherence in Condensed Matterhttps://qet.kaist.ac.kr KAIST -Publication:Gento Yamahata, Sungguen Ryu, Nathan Johnson, H.-S. Sim, Akira Fujiwara, and Masaya Kataoka. 2019. Picosecond coherent electron motion in a silicon single-electron source. Nature Nanotechnology (Online Publication). 6 pages. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-019-0563-2
Enhanced Natural Gas Storage to Help Reduce Global Warming
< Professor Atilhan (left) and Professor Yavuz (right) > Researchers have designed plastic-based materials that can store natural gas more effectively. These new materials can not only make large-scale, cost-effective, and safe natural gas storage possible, but further hold a strong promise for combating global warming. Natural gas (predominantly methane) is a clean energy alternative. It is stored by compression, liquefaction, or adsorption. Among these, adsorbed natural gas (ANG) storage is a more efficient, cheaper, and safer alternative to conventional compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage approaches that have drawbacks such as low storage efficiency, high costs, and safety concerns. However, developing adsorptive materials that can more fully exploit the advantages of ANG storage has remained a challenging task. A KAIST research team led by Professor Cafer T. Yavuz from the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability (EEWS), in collaboration with Professor Mert Atilhan’s group from Texas A&M University, synthesized 29 unique porous polymeric structures with inherent flexibility, and tested their methane gas uptake capacity at high pressures. These porous polymers had varying synthetic complexities, porosities, and morphologies, and the researchers subjected each porous polymer to pure methane gas under various conditions to study the ANG performances. Of these 29 distinct chemical structures, COP-150 was particularly noteworthy as it achieved a high deliverable gravimetric methane working capacity when cycled between 5 and 100 bar at 273 K, which is 98% of the total uptake capacity. This result surpassed the target set by the United States Department of Energy (US DOE). COP-150 is the first ever structure to fulfil both the gravimetric and volumetric requirements of the US DOE for successful vehicular use, and the total cost to produce the COP-150 adsorbent was only 1 USD per kilogram. COP-150 can be produced using freely available and easily accessible plastic materials, and moreover, its synthesis takes place at room temperature, open to the air, and no previous purification of the chemicals is required. The pressure-triggered flexible structure of COP-150 is also advantageous in terms of the total working capacity of deliverable methane for real applications. The research team believed that the increased pressure flexes the network structure of COP-150 showing “swelling” behavior, and suggested that the flexibility provides rapid desorption and thermal management, while the hydrophobicity and the nature of the covalently bonded framework allow these promising materials to tolerate harsh conditions. This swelling mechanism of expansion-contraction solves two other major issues, the team noted. Firstly, when using adsorbents based on such a mechanism, unsafe pressure spikes that may occur due to temperature swings can be eliminated. In addition, contamination can also be minimized, since the adsorbent remains contracted when no gas is stored. Professor Yavuz said, “We envision a whole host of new designs and mechanisms to be developed based on our concept. Since natural gas is a much cleaner fuel than coal and petroleum, new developments in this realm will help switching to the use of less polluting fuels.” Professor Atilhan agreed the most important impact of their research is on the environment. “Using natural gas more than coal and petroleum will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We believe, one day, we might see vehicles equipped with our materials that are run by a cleaner natural gas fuel,” he added. This study, reported in Nature Energy on July 8, was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants ( NRF-2016R1A2B4011027, NRF-2017M3A7B4042140, and NRF-2017M3A7B4042235). < Suggested chemical structure of COP-150 > < Initial ingredients (left) and final product (right) of COP-150 synthesis > < Comparison of highest reported volumetric working capacities > (END)
Undergrad's Paper Chosen as the Cover Article in Soft Matter
(from left: Research Professor KyuHan Kim and Undergrad Student Subeen Kim) A KAIST undergraduate student, Subeen Kim, had his paper chosen as the cover article in an international journal during his senior year. There have been an increasing number of undergraduate students who were published as the first author because the KAIST Undergraduate Research Participation program allows more active research participation by undergraduate students. Through URP, Kim successfully published his paper in the internationally-renowned journal, Soft Matter, which is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and it was chosen as the cover article of that journal in February 2018. This publication means a lot to him because he designed the cover image himself, based on his imagination and observations. His research is about controllable one-step double emulsion formation. Double emulsion is a system in which dispersed droplets contain additional immiscible liquid droplets. Having great retention ability, double emulsion has been used in various applications in the food industry, in cosmetics, and for drug delivery. Nevertheless, two-step emulsification is a conventional approach to produce double emulsions that typically leads to partial destabilization of the emulsion formed during the initial stage. Hence, it does not ensure the stability of a double emulsion. On the other hand, a microfluidic approach with various flow-focusing techniques has been developed, but it has low production efficiency and thus limited industrial applications. Kim’s results came from the process of phase inversion to solve this problem. He identified the instant formation of double emulsions during the process of phase inversion. Based on this finding, he proposed criteria to achieve high stability of double emulsion. Through constant research, he developed a quite general method using a combination of an oil soluble poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) and hydrophobic silica nanoparticle (HDK H18). This new method enables one-step and stable production of double emersions in a stable manner. It also allows control of the number and the volume of inner oil droplets inside the outer water droplets by adjusting PMMA and HDK H18. Kim enrolled at KAIST as a KAIST Presidential Fellowship and Presidential Science Scholarship in 2014. While studying both chemical and biomolecular engineering and chemistry he has been developing his hypothesis and conducting research. He was able to begin conducting research because he has taken part in URP projects twice. In his sophomore year, he studied the formation of high internal phase double emulsions. After one year, he conducted research to produce superabsorbent resins, which are the base material for diapers, by using colloid particles. Using partial research outcomes, he published his paper in Nature Communications as a second author. Kim said, “Double majoring the chemical and biomolecular engineering and chemistry has helped me producing this outcome. I hope that this research contributes to commercializing double emulsions. I will continue to identify accurate principles to produce chemicals that can be controlled exquisitely.” Figure 1. The cover article of Soft Matter
Scientist of November, Professor Hyung Jin Sung
Professor Hyung Jin Sung from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST received a ‘Science and Technology Award of the Month’ given by the Ministry of ICT and Science and the National Research Foundation of Korea for November 2017. He developed technology that can exquisitely control a micrometer-scaled liquid drop on a dime-sized lab-on-a-chip. With his work, he was recognized for reinforcing research capability on microfluidics. Lab-on-a-chip is an emerging experiment and diagnostic technology in the form of a bio-microchip that facilitates complex and various experiments with only a minimal sample size required. This technology draws a lot of attention not only from medical and pharmaceutical areas, but also the health and environmental field. The biggest problem was that technology for the temperature control of a fluid sample, which is one of the core technologies in microfluidics, has low accuracy. This limit had to be overcome in order to use the lab-on-a-chip more widely. Professor Sung developed an acoustic and thermal method which controls the temperature of a droplet quickly and meticulously by using sound and energy. This is a thermal method that uses heat generated during the absorption of an acoustic wave into viscoelastic substances. It facilitates a rapid heating rate and spatial-temporal temperature control, allowing heating in desired areas. In addition, Professor Sung applied his technology to polymerase chain reactions, which are used to amplify DNA. Through this experiment, he successfully shortened the reaction time from 1-2 hours to only three minutes, making this a groundbreaking achievement. Professor Sung said, “My research is significant for enhancing the applicability of microfluidics. I expect that it will lead to technological innovations in healthcare fields including biochemistry, medical checkups, and new medicine development.”
EEWS Graduate School Team Receives the S-Oil Best Paper Award
Professor Hyungjun Kim and Dr. He-Young Shin from the EEWS (Energy, Environment, Water and Sustainability) Graduate School at KAIST received the Best Paper Award in Chemistry from S-Oil, a Korean petroleum and refinery company, on November 29, 2016. Established in 2011, the S-Oil Best Paper Awards are bestowed annually upon ten young scientists in the fields of five basic sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science. The scientists are selected at the recommendation of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology and the Association of Korean Universities. The awards grant a total of USD 230,000 for research funding. Dr. Shin, the lead author of the awarded research paper, said, “My research interest has been catalyst studies based on theoretical chemistry. I am pleased to accept this award that will support my studies, and will continue to research catalyst design that can predict parameters and integrate them into catalytic systems.” Professor Hyungjun Kim (left) and Dr. He-Young Shin (right)
KAIST's Doctoral Student Receives a Hoffman Scholarship Award
Hyo-Sun Lee, a doctoral student at the Graduate School of EEWS (Environment, Energy, Water and Sustainability), KAIST, is a recipient of the 2016 Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Scholarships presented by the American Vacuum Society (AVS). The award ceremony took place during the Society’s 63rd International Symposium and Exhibition on November 6-11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Lee is the first Korean and foreign student to receive this scholarship. The Hoffman Scholarships were established in 2002 to recognize and encourage excellence in graduate studies in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. The scholarships are funded by a bequest from Dorothy M. Hoffman, who was a pioneering member of the Society of Women Engineers and served as the president of AVS in 1974. Lee received the scholarship for her research that detects hot electrons from chemical reactions on catalytic surface using nanodevices. Nano Letters, an academic journal published by the American Chemical Society, described her work in its February 2016 issue as a technology that allows quantitative analysis of hot electrons by employing a new nanodevice and therefore helps researchers understand better the mechanism of chemical reactions on nanocatalytic surface. She also published her work to detect the flow of hot electrons that occur on metal nanocatalytic surface during hydrogen oxidation reactions in Angewandte Chemie. Lee said, “I am pleased to receive this honor from such a world-renowned academic society. Certainly, this will be a great support for my future study and research.” Founded in 1953, AVS is an interdisciplinary, professional society composed of approximately 4,500 members worldwide. It supports networking among academic, industrial, government, and consulting professionals involved in a range of established and emerging science and technology areas such as chemistry, physics, engineering, business, and technology development.
Continuous Roll-Process Technology for Transferring and Packaging Flexible Large-Scale Integrated Circuits
A research team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from KAIST and by Dr. Jae-Hyun Kim from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) has jointly developed a continuous roll-processing technology that transfers and packages flexible large-scale integrated circuits (LSI), the key element in constructing the computer’s brain such as CPU, on plastics to realize flexible electronics. Professor Lee previously demonstrated the silicon-based flexible LSIs using 0.18 CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) process in 2013 (ACS Nano, “In Vivo Silicon-based Flexible Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Monolithically Encapsulated with Biocompatible Liquid Crystal Polymers”) and presented the work in an invited talk of 2015 International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM), the world’s premier semiconductor forum. Highly productive roll-processing is considered a core technology for accelerating the commercialization of wearable computers using flexible LSI. However, realizing it has been a difficult challenge not only from the roll-based manufacturing perspective but also for creating roll-based packaging for the interconnection of flexible LSI with flexible displays, batteries, and other peripheral devices. To overcome these challenges, the research team started fabricating NAND flash memories on a silicon wafer using conventional semiconductor processes, and then removed a sacrificial wafer leaving a top hundreds-nanometer-thick circuit layer. Next, they simultaneously transferred and interconnected the ultrathin device on a flexible substrate through the continuous roll-packaging technology using anisotropic conductive film (ACF). The final silicon-based flexible NAND memory successfully demonstrated stable memory operations and interconnections even under severe bending conditions. This roll-based flexible LSI technology can be potentially utilized to produce flexible application processors (AP), high-density memories, and high-speed communication devices for mass manufacture. Professor Lee said, “Highly productive roll-process was successfully applied to flexible LSIs to continuously transfer and interconnect them onto plastics. For example, we have confirmed the reliable operation of our flexible NAND memory at the circuit level by programming and reading letters in ASCII codes. Out results may open up new opportunities to integrate silicon-based flexible LSIs on plastics with the ACF packing for roll-based manufacturing.” Dr. Kim added, “We employed the roll-to-plate ACF packaging, which showed outstanding bonding capability for continuous roll-based transfer and excellent flexibility of interconnecting core and peripheral devices. This can be a key process to the new era of flexible computers combining the already developed flexible displays and batteries.” The team’s results will be published on the front cover of Advanced Materials (August 31, 2016) in an article entitled “Simultaneous Roll Transfer and Interconnection of Silicon NAND Flash Memory.” (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201602339) YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OJjAEm27sw Picture 1: This schematic image shows the flexible silicon NAND flash memory produced by the simultaneous roll-transfer and interconnection process. Picture 2: The flexible silicon NAND flash memory is attached to a 7 mm diameter glass rod.
Development of a Photonic Diode with Light Speed, Single-Direction Transfer
A photonic diode using a nitride semiconductor rod can increase the possibility of developing all-optical integrated circuits, an alternative to conventional integrated circuits. Professor Yong-Hoon Cho's research team from the Department of Physics, KAIST, developed a photonic diode which can selectively transfer light in one way, using semiconductor rods. The photonic diode has a diameter of hundreds of nanometers (nm) and a length of few micrometers. This size enables its use in large-scale integration (LSI). The diode’s less sensitivity towards polarized light angle makes it more useful. In an integrated circuit, a diode controls the flow of electrons. If this diode controls light rather than electrons, data can be transferred at high speed, and its loss is minimized to a greater extent. Since these implementations conserve more energy, this is a very promising future technology. However, conventional electronic diodes, made up of asymmetric meta-materials or photonic crystalline structures, are large, which makes them difficult to be used in LSI. These diodes could only be implemented under limited conditions due to its sensitivity towards polarized light angle. The research team used nitride semiconductor rods to develop a highly efficient photonic diode with distinct light intensities from opposite ends. The semiconductor rod yields different amount of energy horizontally. According to the research team, this is because the width of the quantum well and its indium quantity is continuously controlled. Professor Cho said, "A large energy difference in a horizontal direction causes asymmetrical light propagation, enabling it to be operated as a photonic diode." He added that “If light, instead of electrons, were adopted in integrated circuits, the transfer speed would be expected as great as that of light.” The research findings were published in the September 10th issue of Nano Letters as the cover paper. Under the guidance of Professor Cho, two Ph.D. candidates, Suk-Min Ko and Su-Hyun Gong, conducted this research. This research project was sponsored by the National Research Foundation of Korea and KAIST’s EEWS (energy, environment, water, and sustainability) Research Center. Figure Description: Computer simulated image of photonic diode made of semiconductor rod implemented in an all-optical integrated circuit
An Electron Cloud Distribution Observed by the Scanning Seebeck Microscope
All matters are made of small particles, namely atoms. An atom is composed of a heavy nucleus and cloud-like, extremely light electrons. Korean researchers developed an electron microscopy technique that enables the accurate observation of an electron cloud distribution at room-temperature. The achievement is comparable to the invention of the quantum tunneling microscopy technique developed 33 years ago. Professor Yong-Hyun Kim of the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology at KAIST and Dr. Ho-Gi Yeo of the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) developed the Scanning Seebeck Microscope (SSM). The SSM renders clear images of atoms, as well as an electron cloud distribution. This was achieved by creating a voltage difference via a temperature gradient. The development was introduced in the online edition of Physical Review Letters (April 2014), a prestigious journal published by the American Institute of Physics. The SSM is expected to be economically competitive as it gives high resolution images at an atomic scale even for graphene and semiconductors, both at room temperature. In addition, if the SSM is applied to thermoelectric material research, it will contribute to the development of high-efficiency thermoelectric materials. Through numerous hypotheses and experiments, scientists now believe that there exists an electron cloud surrounding a nucleus. IBM's Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) was the first to observe the electron cloud and has remained as the only technique to this day. The developers of IBM microscope, Dr. Gerd Binnig and Dr. Heinrich Rohrer, were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics. There still remains a downside to the STM technique, however: it required high precision and extreme low temperature and vibration. The application of voltage also affects the electron cloud, resulting in a distorted image. The KAIST research team adopted a different approach by using the Seebeck effect which refers to the voltage generation due to a temperature gradient between two materials. The team placed an observation sample (graphene) at room temperature (37~57℃) and detected its voltage generation. This technique made it possible to observe an electron cloud at room temperature. Furthermore, the research team investigated the theoretical quantum mechanics behind the electron cloud using the observation gained through the Seebeck effect and also obtained by simulation capability to analyze the experimental results. The research was a joint research project between KAIST Professor Yong-Hyun Kim and KRISS researcher Dr. Ho-Gi Yeo. Eui-Seop Lee, a Ph.D. candidate of KAIST, and KRISS researcher Dr. Sang-Hui Cho also participated. The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the Global Frontier Initiative, and the Disruptive Convergent Technology Development Initiative funded the project in Korea. Picture 1: Schematic Diagram of the Scanning Seebeck Microscope (SSM) Picture 2: Electron cloud distribution observed by SSM at room temperature Picture 3: Professor Yong-Hyun Kim
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