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Professor Sang Ouk Kim Receives the POSCO Academic Award
Professor Sang Ouk Kim of KAIST’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering received the 2015 POSCO Academic Award. The award ceremony took place at the annual conference of the Korean Institute of Metals and Materials on April 23, 2015. The POSCO Academic Award has been presented to the Institute's researchers and academics in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of metals and materials engineering in Korea. Professor Kim is known for his pioneering work in manipulating the properties (work function, conductivity, surface energy, chemo-responsiveness, etc.) of carbon-based materials using double-element doping. Through his research, Professor Kim showed that carbon materials could be extremely useful in various areas including solar batteries and flexible devices. His work has been recognized and published in such journals as Advanced Materials, which invited him to write a review paper on his research in its 25th anniversary issue in 2014, along with world-renowned scholars including the Nobel laureate Alan Heeger. Professor Kim has published a total of 143 Science Citation Index papers in journals like Nature, Science, Nature Materials, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, and Physical Review Letters. According to Scopus, a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles, he has been cited 6,456 times and has the h-index of 44, an index describing the scientific productivity and impact of a researcher.
Polymers with Highly Improved Light-transformation Efficiency
A joint Korean research team, led by Professor Bum-Joon Kim of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST and Professor Young-Woo Han of the Department of Nanofusion Engineering at Pusan National University, has developed a new type of electrically-conductive polymer for solar batteries with an improved light-transformation efficiency of up to 5%. The team considers it a viable replacement for existing plastic batteries for solar power which is viewed as the energy source of the future. Polymer solar cells have greater structural stability and heat resistance compared to fullerene organic solar cells. However, they have lower light-transformation efficiency—below 4%—compared to 10% of the latter. The low efficiency is due to the failure of blending among the polymers that compose the active layer of the cell. This phenomenon deters the formation and movement of electrons and thus lowers light-transformation efficiency. By manipulating the structure and concentration of conductive polymers, the team was able to effectively increase the polymer blending and increase light-transformation efficiency. The team was able to maximize the efficiency up to 6% which is the highest reported ratio. Professor Kim said, “This research demonstrates that conductive polymer plastics can be used widely for solar cells and batteries for mobile devices.” The research findings were published in the February 18th issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). Picture: Flexible Solar Cell Polymer Developed by the Research Team
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