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Flexible Drug Delivery Microdevice to Advance Precision Medicine
(Schematic view of flexible microdevice: The flexible drug delivery device for controlled release fabricated via inorganic laser lift off.) A KAIST research team has developed a flexible drug delivery device with controlled release for personalized medicine, blazing the path toward theragnosis. Theragnosis, an emerging medical technology, is gaining attention as key factor to advance precision medicine for its featuring simultaneous diagnosis and therapeutics. Theragnosis devices including smart contact lenses and microneedle patches integrate physiological data sensors and drug delivery devices. The controlled drug delivery boasts fewer side-effects, uniform therapeutic results, and minimal dosages compared to oral ingestion. Recently, some research groups conducted in-human applications of controlled-release bulky microchips for osteoporosis treatment. However they failed to demonstrate successful human-friendly flexible drug delivery systems for controlled release. For this microdevice, the team under Professor Daesoo Kim from the Department of Biological Science and Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, fabricated a device on a rigid substrate and transferred a 50 µm-thick active drug delivery layer to the flexible substrate via inorganic laser lift off. The fabricated device shows mechanical flexibility while maintaining the capability of precise administration of exact dosages at desired times. The core technology is to produce a freestanding gold capping layer directly on top of the microreservoir with the drugs inside, which had been regarded as impossible in conventional microfabrication. The developed flexible drug delivery system can be applied to smart contact lenses or the brain disease treatments by implanting them into cramped and corrugated organs. In addition, when powered wirelessly, it will represent a novel platform for personalized medicine. The team already proved through animal experimentation that treatment for brain epilepsy made progress by releasing anti-epileptic medication through the device. Professor Lee believes the flexible microdevice will further expand the applications of smart contact lenses, therapeutic treatments for brain disease, and subcutaneous implantations for daily healthcare system. This study “Flexible Wireless Powered Drug Delivery System for Targeted Administration on Cerebral Cortex” was described in the June online issue of Nano Energy. (Photo: The flexible drug delivery device for contolled relase attached on a glass rod.)
Fast-Charging Lithium-Oxygen Batteries
(Professor Hye Ryung Byon) KAIST researchers have paved the way for fast-charging lithium-oxygen batteries. Professor Hye Ryung Byon from the Department of Chemistry and Professor Yousung Jung from the Graduate School of EEWS led a joint research team to develop lithium-oxygen batteries exhibiting 80% round-trip efficiency even at high charging rates, solving the problem of existing lithium-oxygen batteries which generally showed drastically lower efficiencies when the charge current rate was increased. This study exploits the size and shape lithium peroxide, a discharge product, which is known to cause the very problems mentioned above. In doing so, the researchers have lowered the overpotential, which is the difference between the thermodynamic reversible potential and the measured potential, and simultaneously improved battery efficiency. Of particular interest is the fact that these high-performance lithium-oxygen batteries can be realized without costly catalysts. One remarkable property of lithium-oxygen batteries is that they can accommodate three to five times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries commonly used today. Therefore, lithium-oxygen batteries would render longer driving distance to electric vehicles or drones, which operate on the continued use of electrical power. However, their weakness lies in that, during charge, the lithium peroxide remains undecomposed at low overpotential, resulting in eventually compromising the battery’s overall performance. This is due to the poor ionic and electrical conductivity of lithium peroxide. To tackle this issue, the researchers could form one-dimensional amorphous lithium peroxide nanostructures through the use of a mesoporous carbon electrode, CMK-3. When compared against non-mesoporous electrodes, CMK-3 showed exceptionally lower overpotential, thereby enhancing the round-trip efficiency of lithium-oxygen batteries. The amorphous lithium peroxide produced along the electrode has a small volume and a large surface area contacting electrolyte solution, which is presumably endowed with high conductivity to speed up the charging of the lithium-oxygen batteries. This research underpins the feasibility of overcoming the fundamental limitations of lithium-oxygen batteries even without the addition of expensive catalytic materials, but rather by the re-configuration of the size and shape of the lithium peroxide. The findings of this research were published in Nature Communications on February 14. Figure 1. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images Figure 2. Galvanostatic rate capability Figure 3. Density functional calculation and Bader charge analysis
Newdin Contents Donates 'Strikezon'
Newdin Contents, an online and mobile game maker, made a gift of ‘Strikezon' to KAIST on April 19. The screen game valued at 100 million KRW will be placed in the lobby of the School of Computing, enriching the diverse physical activity options for the KAIST community. The donation was made at a ceremony attended by KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin, the CEO of the Newdin, Hyo-Kyum Kim, and Head of the School of Computing Professor Myoung Ho Kim. At the Strikezon, students can enjoy mini baseball games indoors including a batting challenge and a pitching mode indoors for free. President Shin thanked Mr. Kim of Newdin Contents, saying the donation will be a stepping stone for possible mutual collaborations which will play a synergistic role for technological development. Mr. Kim noted, “We are very pleased to donate the program to KAIST, which is the alma mater of Joon-Mo Hwang, the developer of Strikezon.” He added that Newdin Contents will make every effort to produce advanced game products with state of the art technology. (Photo caption:President Sung-Chul Shin hits the ball at the Strikezon on April 19.)
Professor Shin Honored Posthumously for Iridescent Microparticles
(The Late Professor Joong-Hoon Shin (left) and Professor Shin-Hyun Kim) A research team co-led by Professor Shin-Hyun Kim from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Professor Jong-Ryul Jeong from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Chungnam National University developed iridescent microparticles with a structural color gradient. The research team posthumously dedicated their research to a renowned professor in the field of nanophotonics, the late Professor Joong-Hoon Shin of the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology at KAIST. He passed away suddenly in a car accident last September. The iridescent microparticles, which allow on-demand control over structural color, will be key components for next-generation reflection-mode displays with clear color realization even in direct sunlight. Materials such as opals, Morpho butterfly wings, and peacock feathers all display beautiful colors without pigment, using regularly-spaced nanostructures. Regularly-spaced nanostructures render color, by selectively reflecting the light of a particular wave through light interference. As such, materials that possess periodic modulation of refractive index at subwavelength scale are referred to as photonic crystals. In general, photonic crystals are only able to display a single color, so limitations exist when attempting to apply them to reflection-mode displays which call for multiple structural colors. The research team addressed the issue using inspiration from snowflakes stacking in the winter. When snow falls on the surface of a round-shaped structure, the thickness of the snow stacking differs depending on the orientation. Based on this observation, the research team created photonic microparticles with a structural color gradient by depositing two different materials on spherical microparticles. When some material is deposited on the surface of a sphere, the material on the top is thickest and becomes thinner on the sides. The team alternately deposited titania and silica on the spherical microparticles to form periodic modulation of the refractive index. The thickness of the alternating photonic layers is reduced along the angle from the top, which yields a structural color gradient. Consequently, the microparticles reflect long-wavelength red light from the top of the sphere and short-wavelength blue light from the side of the sphere. Any color of the visible spectrum can be selected in between the top and side depending on the orientation of the microparticles. The research team used an external magnetic field as a way to control the orientation of the photonic microparticles and the structural colors. As magnetic iron layer was deposited underneath the alternating photonic layer, it was possible to freely control the orientation of the microparticles using a magnet, thereby allowing control of the color seen by the users. KAIST doctoral candidate Seung Yeol Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is the first author of this research, with support from the Midcareer Researcher Program of the National Research Foundation and funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (MSIP). This research was published in the online edition of Advanced Materials on February 6, 2017. Figure1: Sets of an OM image of photonic Janus microspheres and an SEM image showing a cross-section of the photonic layers. Figure 2: A series of schematics and OM images showing the color change depending on the orientation angle of the photonic Janus microsphere.
New Building Endowed in Bio and Brain Engineering Department
An endowment from the former Chairman of Mirae Industries, Moon Soul Chung, was used to establish the Yang Bun Soon Building in the Bio and Brain Engineering Department at KAIST. The opening ceremony for the building took place on February 8 and was attended by President Sung-Mo Kang, KAIST administrators, faculty, and students. The Yang Bun Soon Building, named after the wife of Chairman Chung, is a new addition to the Bio and Brain Engineering Department complex. The five-story building was erected next to the 11-story Chung Moon Soul Building, which was completed in 2003 using a portion of his first endowment to KAIST. Chairman Chung donated approximately 30 billion KRW for funding a convergence research for IT and BT in 2001. The new building was completed with financing from Chung’s second endowment of 21.5 billion KRW in support of the fields of brain and cognitive sciences in 2014. The building will accommodate both lab facilities and lecture halls. At the ceremony, President Kang thanked the Chungs for their continuing generosity to KAIST. He commended Chung for showing how entrepreneurs can fulfill their social responsibility by supporting Korea’s future through donations and support. (Photo caption: Chung Moon Soul Building (left) and Yang Bun Soon Building(right))
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