KAIST Develops Analog Memristive Synapses for Neur..
(Professor Sung-Yool Choi from the School of Electrical Engineering) A KAIST research team developed a technology that makes a transition of the operation mode of flexible memristors to synaptic analog switching by reducing the size of the formed filament. Through this technology, memristors can extend their role to memristive synapses for neuromorphic chips, which will lead to developing soft neuromorphic intelligent systems. Brain-inspired neuromorphic chips have been gaining a great deal of attention for reducing the power consumption and integrating data processing, compared to conventional semiconductor chips. Similarly, memristors are known to be the most suitable candidate for making a crossbar array which is the most efficient architecture for realizing hardware-based artificial neural network (ANN) inside a neuromorphic chip. A hardware-based ANN consists of a neuron circuit and synapse elements, the connecting pieces. In the neuromorphic system, the synaptic weight, which represents the connection strength between neurons, should be stored and updated as the type of analog data at each synapse. However, most memristors have digital characteristics suitable for nonvolatile memory. These characteristics put a limitation on the analog operation of the memristors, which makes it difficult to apply them to synaptic devices. Professor Sung-Yool Choi from the School of Electrical Engineering and his team fabricated a flexible polymer memristor on a plastic substrate, and found that changing the size of the conductive metal filaments formed inside the device on the scale of metal atoms can make a transition of the memristor behavior from digital to analog. Using this phenomenon, the team developed flexible memristor-based electronic synapses, which can continuously and linearly update synaptic weight, and operate under mechanical deformations such as bending. The team confirmed that the ANN based on these memristor synapses can effectively classify person’s facial images even when they were damaged. This research demonstrated the possibility of a neuromorphic chip that can efficiently recognize faces, numbers, and objects. Professor Choi said, “We found the principles underlying the transition from digital to analog operation of the memristors. I believe that this research paves the way for applying various memristors to either digital memory or electronic synapses, and will accelerate the development of a high-performing neuromorphic chip.” In a joint research project with Professor Sung Gap Im (KAIST) and Professor V. P. Dravid (Northwestern University), this study was led by Dr. Byung Chul Jang (Samsung Electronics), Dr. Sungkyu Kim (Northwestern University) and Dr. Sang Yoon Yang (KAIST), and was published online in Nano Letters on January 4, 2019. Figure 1. a) Schematic illustration of a flexible pV3D3 memristor-based electronic synapse array. b) Cross-sectional TEM image of the flexible pV3D3 memristor
New LSB with Theoretical Capacity over 90％
(Professor Hee-Tak Kim and Hyunwon Chu) A KAIST research team has developed a lithium sulfur battery (LSB) that realizes 92％ of the theoretical capacity and an areal capacity of 4mAh/cm2. LSBs are gaining a great deal of attention as an alternative for lithium ion batteries (LIBs) because they have a theoretical energy density up to six to seven times higher than that of LIBs, and can be manufactured in a more cost-effective way. However, LSBs face the obstacle of having a capacity reaching its theoretical maximum because they are prone to uncontrolled growth of lithium sulfide on the electrodes, which leads to blocking electron transfer. To address the problem of electrode passivation, researchers introduced additional conductive agent into the electrode; however, it drastically lowered the energy density of LSBs, making it difficult to exceed 70％ of the theoretical capacity. Professor Hee-Tak Kim from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and his team replaced the lithium salt anions used in conventional LSB electrolytes with anions with a high donor number. The team successfully induced the three-dimensional growth of lithium sulfide on electrode surfaces and efficiently delayed the electrode passivation. Based on this electrolyte design, the research team achieved 92％ of the theoretical capacity with their high-capacity sulfur electrode (4mAh/cm2), which is equivalent to that of conventional LIB cathode. Furthermore, they were able to form a stable passivation film on the surface of the lithium anode and exhibited stable operation over 100 cycles. This technology, which can be flexibly used with various types of sulfur electrodes, can mark a new milestone in the battery industry. Professor Kim said, “We proposed a new physiochemical principle to overcome the limitations of conventional LSBs. I believe our achievement of obtaining 90％ of the LBSs’ theoretical capacity without any capacity loss after 100 cycles will become a new milestone.” This research, first-authored by Hyunwon Chu and Hyungjun Noh, was published in Nature Communications on January 14, 2019. It was also selected in the editor’s highlight for its outstanding achievements. Figure 1. Lithium sulfur growth and its deposition mechanism for different sulfide growth behaviors Figure 2. Capacity and cycle life characteristics of the LSBs
President Shin Speaks on Closing the Skills Gap at..
(President Shin poses (far right) with the National University of Singapore President Tan Eng Chye (center) along with Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee in Davos last week.) President Sung-Chul Shin shared his ideas on how reskilling is a critical element of growth, dynamism, and competitiveness for countries during a session titled “Closing the Skills Gap: Creating a Reskilling Revolution” at the World Economic Forum on January 24 in Davos. While discussing a reskilling imperative alongside French Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud, he presented how the Korean government and KAIST are responding to the socio-economic transformation of workforces in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. After their presentation, Minister of Economy and Enterprise of Spain Nadia Calvirno Santamaria, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Oman Ali bin Masoud bin Ali Al Sunaidy, and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Skill Development, and Entrepreneurship of India Dharmendra Pradhan shared their views on the course of decision making regarding the proactive practices and policies they have applied for closing the gaps from their countries’ perspectives. President Shin presented how to upskill and reskill SMEs and startups, the real players who will jumpstart the economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He explained that the government is striving to change the existing structure of the economy, which is dominated by a few giant conglomerates. He added that the Korean government is trying to support SMEs and startups in terms of both funding and technology reskilling in order to rejuvenate the economy. To better align itself with the government’s efforts, KAIST has introduced SME 4.0. SME 4.0 proposes to innovate the production process through the creation of a partnered platform between KAIST and SMEs across the country. With this platform, KAIST assists local SMEs for standardizing and systemizing all their processes of production, delivery, and management with enterprise resources planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES). In addition, SME 4.0 offers retraining and re-tooling programs by linking the data generated through this platform in real time to better facilitate SMEs’ smart business. (President Shin shakes hands with H.E.Mohammed Al-Tuwairi, Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia before holding a bilaterla meeting in Davos.) President Shin also explained about upskilling the leading corporations’ technological competitiveness, partnering with major leading corporations for upskilling their advanced technologies. He also held a series of bilateral meetings with dignitaries attending the WEF annual meeting to discuss partnerships and collaborations. He also attended the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), a community composed of 28 presidents from the world’s top universities on January 23. President Shin, who is on the advisory board of the Center for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), also participated in the board meeting and discussed the upcoming launching of the Korea C4IR, which will open at KAIST in March.
Hierarchical Porous Titanium Nitride Synthesized b..
(from left: Professor Jinwoo Lee and PhD candidate Won-Gwang Lim) A KAIST research team developed ultra-stable, high-rate lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) by using hierarchical porous titanium nitride as a sulfur host, and achieved superior cycle stability and high rate performance for LSBs. The control of large amounts of energy is required for use in an electric vehicle or smart grid system. In this sense, the development of next-generation secondary batteries is in high demand. Theoretically, LSBs have an energy density seven times higher than commercial lithium ion batteries (LIBs). Also, their production cost can be reduced dramatically since sulfur can be obtained at a low price. Despite these positive aspects, there have been several issues impeding the commercialization of LSBs, such as the low electric conductivity of sulfur, the dissolution of active materials during operation, and sluggish conversion reactions. These issues decrease the cycle stability and rate capability of batteries. To tackle those issues, Professor Jinwoo Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and his team synthesized a well-developed hierarchical macro/mesoporous titanium nitride as a host material for sulfur. The titanium nitride has a high chemical affinity for sulfur and high electrical conductivity. As a result, it prevents the dissolution of active materials and facilitates the charge transfer. Moreover, the synergistic effect of macropore and mesopore structures allows the stable accommodation of large amounts of sulfur and facilitates the electrolyte penetration. Previously reported polar inorganic materials have a high affinity for sulfur, but it was challenging to control the porous architecture suitable to the sulfur host. This work breaks such limitations by developing a synthetic route to easily control the porous architecture of inorganic materials, which led to obtaining superior cycle stability and high rate capabilities. Professor Lee said, “Some problems still remain in commercializing LSBs as next-generation batteries. Hence, there should be a continued research on this matter to solve the issues. Through this research, we secured a key technology for ultrastable, high-rate LSBs.” This research was led by PhD candidate Won-Gwang Lim and collaborated on by Jeong Woo Han from POSTECH. It was chosen as the cover article of Advanced Materials on January 15, 2019. Figure 1. Schematic illustration for the synthetic route of co-continuous h-TiN Figure 2. The hierarchical multiscale porous structure is still retained without any collapse after the conversion to h-TiN. The good retention of the porous structure is attributed to the thick pore wall of the h-TiO₂derived from the block copolymer self-assembly Figure 3. The cover page of Advanced Materials
Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence in Robots
Research groups in KAIST, the University of Cambridge, Japan’s National Institute for Information and Communications Technology, and Google DeepMind argue that our understanding of how humans make intelligent decisions has now reached a critical point in which robot intelligence can be significantly enhanced by mimicking strategies that the human brain uses when we make decisions in our everyday lives. Despite the rapid progress being made in strengthening the physical capability of robots, their central control systems, which govern how robots decide what to do at any one time, are still inferior to those of humans. In particular, they often rely on pre-programmed instructions to direct their behavior, and lack the hallmark of human behavior, that is, the flexibility and capacity to quickly learn and adapt. The problem with importing human-like intelligence into robots has always been a difficult task without knowing the computational principles for how the human brain makes decisions –in other words, how to translate brain activity into computer code for the robots’ ‘brains’. The team argued that this inter-disciplinary approach will provide just as many benefits to neuroscience as to robotics. The recent explosion of interest in what lies behind psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and addiction has given rise to a set of sophisticated theories that are complex and difficult to test without some sort of advanced situation platform. how it interacts with the world in real-life to test whether and how different abnormalities in these models give rise to certain disorders. For instance, if we could reproduce anxiety behavior or obsessive-compulsive disorder in a robot, we could then predict what we need to do to treat it in humans.” Professor Seymour said, “We might think that having robots with the human traits of being a bit impulsive or overcautious would be a detriment, but these traits are an unavoidable by-product of human-like intelligence. And it turns out that this is helping us to understand human behavior as human.” <span style="font-family:;" times="" new="" roman";="" 9pt;"="" 12pt;"="">The framework for achieving this brain-inspired artificial intelligence was published in two journals, Science Robotics (10.1126/scirobotics.aav2975) on January 16 and Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences (10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.12.012) on February 6, 2019. Figure 1. Overview of neuroscience - robotics approach for decision-making. The figure details key areas for interdisciplinary study (Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences) Figure 2. Brain-inspired solutions to robot learning. Neuroscientific views on various aspects of learning and cognition converge and create a new idea called prefrontal metacontrol, which can inspire researchers to design learning agents that can address various key challenges in robotics such as performance-efficiency-speed, cooperation-competition, and exploration-exploitation trade-offs (Science Robotics)
First Korean Member of OceanObs’19 Organizing Comm..
Professor Sung Yong Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering became the first Korean to be elected as an organizing committee member of the international conference OceanObs’19’, specializing in the ocean observing field. Professor Kim has been actively engaged in advisory panels, technical committees, and working groups for the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). Through numerous activities, he was recognized for his professionalism and academic achievements, which led him to be appointed as a member of the organizing committee. The organizing committee is comprised of leading scholars and researchers from 20 countries, and Professor Kim will be the first Korean scientist to participate on the committee. Since 1999, the conference has been held every decade. Global experts specializing in oceanic observation gather to discuss research directions for the next ten years by monitoring physical, biological, and chemical variables in regional, national, and global oceans and applying marine engineering. This year, approximately 20 institutes including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the European Space Agency will support funds as well as high-tech equipment to the conference. This year’s conference theme is the governance of global ocean observing systems such as underwater gliders, unmanned vehicles, remote sensing, and observatories. The conference will hold discussions on monitoring technology and information systems to ensure human safety as well as to develop and preserve food resources. Additionally, participants will explore ways to expand observational infrastructures and carry out multidisciplinary approaches. There will also be collaborations with the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) to organize ocean observing programs and discuss priorities. Finally, they will set a long-term plan for solving major scientific issues, such as climate change, ocean acidification, energy, and marine pollution. Professor Kim said, “Based on the outcomes drawn from the conference, I will carry out research on natural disasters and climate change monitoring by using unmanned observing systems. I will also encourage more multidisciplinary research in this field.”
KAIST Develops Core Technology for Ultra-small 3D ..
(from left: Dr. Jong-Bum Yo, PhD candidate Seong-Hwan Kimand Professor Hyo-Hoon Park) A KAIST research team developed a silicon optical phased array (OPA) chip, which can be a core component for three-dimensional image sensors. This research was co-led by PhD candidate Seong-Hwan Kim and Dr. Jong-Bum You from the National Nanofab Center (NNFC). A 3D image sensor adds distance information to a two-dimensional image, such as a photo, to recognize it as a 3D image. It plays a vital role in various electronics including autonomous vehicles, drones, robots, and facial recognition systems, which require accurate measurement of the distance from objects. Many automobile and drone companies are focusing on developing 3D image sensor systems, based on mechanical light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems. However, it can only get as small as the size of a fist and has a high possibility of malfunctioning because it employs a mechanical method for laser beam-steering. OPAs have gained a great attention as a key component to implement solid-state LiDAR because it can control the light direction electronically without moving parts. Silicon-based OPAs are small, durable, and can be mass-produced through conventional Si-CMOS processes. However, in the development of OPAs, a big issue has been raised about how to achieve wide beam-steering in transversal and longitudinal directions. In the transversal direction, a wide beam-steering has been implemented, relatively easily, through a thermo-optic or electro-optic control of the phase shifters integrated with a 1D array. But the longitudinal beam-steering has been remaining as a technical challenge since only a narrow steering was possible with the same 1D array by changing the wavelengths of light, which is hard to implement in semiconductor processes. If a light wavelength is changed, characteristics of element devices consisting the OPA can vary, which makes it difficult to control the light direction with reliability as well as to integrate a wavelength-tunable laser on a silicon-based chip. Therefore, it is essential to devise a new structure that can easily adjust the radiated light in both transversal and longitudinal directions. By integrating tunable radiator, instead of tunable laser in a conventional OPA, Professor Hyo-Hoon Park from the School of Electrical Engineering and his team developed an ultra-small, low-power OPA chip that facilitates a wide 2D beam-steering with a monochromatic light source. This OPA structure allows the minimizing of the 3D image sensors, as small as a dragonfly’s eye. According to the team, the OPA can function as a 3D image sensor and also as a wireless transmitter sending the image data to a desired direction, enabling high-quality image data to be freely communicated between electronic devices. Kim said, “It’s not an easy task to integrate a tunable light source in the OPA structures of previous works. We hope our research proposing a tunable radiator makes a big step towards commercializing OPAs.” Dr. You added, “We will be able to support application researches of 3D image sensors, especially for facial recognition with smartphones and augmented reality services. We will try to prepare a processing platform in NNFC that provides core technologies of the 3D image sensor fabrication.” This research was published in Optics Letters on January 15. Figure 1.The manufactured OPA chip Figure 2. Schematic feature showing an application of the OPA to a 3D image sensor
A Comprehensive Metabolic Map for Production of Bi..
A KAIST research team completed a metabolic map that charts all available strategies and pathways of chemical reactions that lead to the production of various industrial bio-based chemicals. The team was led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee, who has produced high-quality metabolic engineering and systems engineering research for decades, and made the hallmark chemicals map after seven years of studies. The team presented a very detailed analysis on metabolic engineering for the production of a wide range of industrial chemicals, fuels, and materials. Surveying the current trends in the bio-based production of chemicals in industrial biotechnology, the team thoroughly examined the current status of industrial chemicals produced using biological and/or chemical reactions. This comprehensive map is expected to serve as a blueprint for the visual and intuitive inspection of biological and/or chemical reactions for the production of interest from renewable resources. The team also compiled an accompanying poster to visually present the synthetic pathways of chemicals in the context of their microbial metabolism. As metabolic engineering has become increasing powerful in addressing limited fossil resources, climate change, and other environmental issues, the number of microbially produced chemicals using biomass as a carbon source has increased substantially. The sustainable production of industrial chemicals and materials has been explored with micro-organisms as cell factories and renewable nonfood biomass as raw materials for alternative petroleum. The engineering of these micro-organism has increasingly become more efficient and effective with the help of metabolic engineering – a practice of engineering using the metabolism of living organisms to produce a desired metabolite. With the establishment of systems metabolic engineering – the integration of metabolic engineering with tools and strategies from systems biology, synthetic biology and evolutionary engineering – the speed at which micro-organisms are being engineered has reached an unparalleled pace. In order to evaluate the current state at which metabolically engineered micro-organisms can produce a large portfolio of industrial chemicals, the team conducted an extensive review of the literature and mapped them out on a poster. This resulting poster, termed the bio-based chemicals map, presents synthetic pathways for industrial chemicals, which consist of biological and/or chemical reactions. Industrial chemicals and their production routes are presented in the context of central carbon metabolic pathways as these key metabolites serve as precursors for the chemicals to be produced. The resulting biochemical map allows the detection and analysis of optimal synthetic pathways for a given industrial chemical. In addition to the poster, the authors have compiled a list of chemicals that have successfully been produced using micro-organisms and a list of the corresponding companies producing them commercially. This thorough review of the literature and the accompanying analytical summary will be an important resource for researchers interested in the production of chemicals from renewable biomass sources. Metabolically engineered micro-organisms have already made a huge contribution toward the sustainable production of chemicals using renewable resources. Professor Lee said he wanted a detailed survey of the current state and capacity of bio-based chemicals production. “We are so excited that this review and poster will expand further discussion on the production of important chemicals through engineered micro-organisms and also combined biological and chemical means in a more sustainable manner,” he explained. This work was supported by the Technology Development Program to Solve Climate Changes on Systems Metabolic Engineering for Biofineries from the Ministry of Science and ICT through the National Research Foundation of Korea. For further information, Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST ( leesy＠kaist.ac.kr , Tel: ＋82-42-350-3930) Figure: Bio-based chemicals production through biological and chemical routes. This metabolic map describes representative chemicals that can be produced either by biological and/or chemical means. Red arrows represent chemical routes and blue arrows represent biological routes. Intermediate metabolites in the metabolism of a living organism can serve as a platform toward the production of industrially relevant chemicals. A more comprehensive map presented by the team can be found as a poster in the review.
Fabrication of Shape-conformable Batteries Based o..
(from left: Dr. Bok Yeop Ahn, Dr. Chanhoon Kim, Professor Il-Doo Kim and Professor Jennifer A. Lewis) Flexible, wireless electronic devices are rapidly emerging and have reached the level of commercialization; nevertheless, most of battery shapes are limited to either spherical and/or rectangular structures, which results in inefficient space use. Professor Il-Doo Kim’s team from the Department of Materials Science at KAIST has successfully developed technology to significantly enhance the variability of battery design through collaboration research with Professor Jennifer A. Lewis and her team from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Most of the battery shapes today are optimized for coin cell and/or pouch cells. Since the battery as an energy storage device occupies most of the space in microelectronic devices with different designs, new technology to freely change the shape of the battery is required. The KAIST-Harvard research collaboration team has successfully manufactured various kinds of battery shapes, such as ring-type, H, and U shape, using 3D printing technology. And through the research collaboration with Dr. Youngmin Choi at the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), 3D-printed batteries were applied to small-scale wearable electronic devices (wearable light sensor rings). The research group has adopted environmentally friendly aqueous Zn-ion batteries to make customized battery packs. This system, which uses Zn2＋ instead of Li＋ as charge carriers, is much safer compared with the conventional lithium rechargeable batteries that use highly inflammable organic electrolytes. Moreover, the processing conditions of lithium-ion batteries are very complicated because organic solvents can ignite upon exposure to moisture and oxygen. As the aqueous Zn-ion batteries adopted by the research team are stable upon contact with atmospheric moisture and oxygen, they can be fabricated in the ambient air condition, and have advantages in packaging since packaged plastic does not dissolve in water even when plastic packaging is applied using a 3D printer. To fabricate a stable cathode that can be modulated in various forms and allows high charge-discharge, the research team fabricated a carbon fiber current collector using electrospinning process and uniformly coated electrochemically active polyaniline conductive polymer on the surface of carbon fiber for a current collector-active layer integrated cathode. The cathode, based on conductive polyaniline consisting of a 3D structure, exhibits very fast charging speeds (50％ of the charge in two minutes) and can be fabricated without the detachment of active cathode materials, so various battery forms with high mechanical stability can be manufactured. Prof. Kim said, “Zn-ion batteries employing aqueous electrolytes have the advantage of fabrication under ambient conditions, so it is easy to fabricate the customized battery packs using 3D printing.” “3D-printed batteries can be easily applied for niche applications such as wearable, personalized, miniaturized micro-robots, and implantable medical devices or microelectronic storage devices with unique designs,” added Professor Lewis. With Dr. Chanhoon Kim in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST and Dr. Bok Yeop Ahn School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University participating as equally contributing first authors, this work was published in the December issue of ACS Nano. This work was financially supported by the Global Research Laboratory (NRF-2015K1A1A2029679) and Wearable Platform Materials Technology Center (2016R1A5A1009926). Figure 1.Fabrication of shape-conformable batteries based on 3D-printing technology and the application of polyaniline carbon nanofiber cathodes and wearable electronic devices Figure 2.Fabricated shape-conformable batteries based on a 3D-printing method Meanwhile, Professor Il-Doo Kim was recently appointed as an Associate Editor of ACS Nano, a highly renowned journal in the field of nanoscience. Professor Kim said, “It is my great honor to be an Associate Editor of the highly renowned journal ACS Nano, which has an impact factor reaching 13.709 with 134,596 citations as of 2017. Through the editorial activities in the fields of energy, I will dedicate myself to improving the prominence of KAIST and expanding the scope of Korea’s science and technology. I will also contribute to carrying out more international collaborations with world-leading research groups.” (Associate Editor of ACS Nano Professor Il-Doo Kim)
Sound-based Touch Input Technology for Smart Table..
(from left: MS candidate Anish Byanjankar, Research Assistant Professor Hyosu Kim and Professor Insik Shin) Time passes so quickly, especially in the morning. Your hands are so busy brushing your teeth and checking the weather on your smartphone. You might wish that your mirror could turn into a touch screen and free up your hands. That wish can be achieved very soon. A KAIST team has developed a smartphone-based touch sound localization technology to facilitate ubiquitous interactions, turning objects like furniture and mirrors into touch input tools. This technology analyzes touch sounds generated from a user’s touch on a surface and identifies the location of the touch input. For instance, users can turn surrounding tables or walls into virtual keyboards and write lengthy e-mails much more conveniently by using only the built-in microphone on their smartphones or tablets. Moreover, family members can enjoy a virtual chessboard or enjoy board games on their dining tables. Additionally, traditional smart devices such as smart TVs or mirrors, which only provide simple screen display functions, can play a smarter role by adding touch input function support (see the image below). Figure 1.Examples of using touch input technology: By using only smartphone, you can use surrounding objects as a touch screen anytime and anywhere. The most important aspect of enabling the sound-based touch input method is to identify the location of touch inputs in a precise manner (within about 1cm error). However, it is challenging to meet these requirements, mainly because this technology can be used in diverse and dynamically changing environments. Users may use objects like desks, walls, or mirrors as touch input tools and the surrounding environments (e.g. location of nearby objects or ambient noise level) can be varied. These environmental changes can affect the characteristics of touch sounds. To address this challenge, Professor Insik Shin from the School of Computing and his team focused on analyzing the fundamental properties of touch sounds, especially how they are transmitted through solid surfaces. On solid surfaces, sound experiences a dispersion phenomenon that makes different frequency components travel at different speeds. Based on this phenomenon, the team observed that the arrival time difference (TDoA) between frequency components increases in proportion to the sound transmission distance, and this linear relationship is not affected by the variations of surround environments. Based on these observations, Research Assistant Professor Hyosu Kim proposed a novel sound-based touch input technology that records touch sounds transmitted through solid surfaces, then conducts a simple calibration process to identify the relationship between TDoA and the sound transmission distance, finally achieving accurate touch input localization. The accuracy of the proposed system was then measured. The average localization error was lower than about 0.4 cm on a 17-inch touch screen. Particularly, it provided a measurement error of less than 1cm, even with a variety of objects such as wooden desks, glass mirrors, and acrylic boards and when the position of nearby objects and noise levels changed dynamically. Experiments with practical users have also shown positive responses to all measurement factors, including user experience and accuracy. Professor Shin said, “This is novel touch interface technology that allows a touch input system just by installing three to four microphones, so it can easily turn nearby objects into touch screens.” The proposed system was presented at ACM SenSys, a top-tier conference in the field of mobile computing and sensing, and was selected as a best paper runner-up in November 2018. (The demonstration video of the sound-based touch input technology)
Crystal size of organic semiconductors can be cont..
(from left: MS cadidate Jeong-Chan Lee, Professor Steve Park and PhD candidate Jin-Oh Kim) A KAIST research team led by Professor Steve Park from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering Recently, solution-processable organic semiconductors are being highlighted for their potential application in printed electronics, becoming a feasible technique to fabricate large-area flexible thin film at a low cost. The field-effect mobility of small-molecule organic semiconductors is dependent on the crystallinity, crystal orientation, and crystal size. A variety of solution-based coating techniques, such as ink-jet printing, dip-coating, and solution shearing have been developed to control the crystallinity and crystal orientation, but a method for developing techniques to increase the crystal size of organic semiconductors is still needed. To overcome this issue, the research team developed an inorganic polymer micropillar-based solution shearing system to increase the crystal size of an organic semiconductor with pillar size. Using this technique, the crystallization process of organic semiconductors can be controlled precisely, and therefore large-area organic semiconductor thin film with controlled crystallinity can be fabricated. A variety of solution-based coating techniques cannot control the fluid-flow of solutions appropriately, so the solvent evaporates randomly onto the substrate, which has difficulty in the fabrication of organic semiconductor thin film with a large crystal size. The research team integrated inorganic polymer microstructures into the solution shearing blade to solve this issue. The inorganic polymer can easily be microstructured via conventional molding techniques, has high mechanical durability, and organic solvent resistance. Using the inorganic polymer-based microstructure blade, the research team controlled the size of small molecule organic semiconductors by tuning the shape and dimensions of the microstructure. The microstructures in the blade induce the sharp curvature regions in the meniscus line that formed between the shearing blade and the substrate, and therefore nucleation and crystal growth can be regulated. Hence, the research team fabricated organic semiconductor thin-film with large crystals, which increases the field-effect mobility. The research team also demonstrated a solution shearing process on a curved surface by using a flexible inorganic polymer-based shearing blade, which expands the applicability of solution shearing. Professor Park said, “Our new solution shearing system can control the crystallization process precisely during solvent evaporation.” He added, “This technique adds another key parameter that can be utilized to tune the property of thin films and opens up a wide variety of new applications. The results of this work entitled “Inorganic Polymer Micropillar-Based Solution Shearing of Large-Area Organic Semiconductor Thin Films with Pillar-Size-Dependent Crystal Size” was published in the July 2018 issue of Advanced Materials as a cover article. Figure 1. Cover article of the July 2018 Issue of Advanced Materials Figure 2. Chemical structure of inorganic polymer (AHPCS) and the fabrication process of a microstructured AHPCS shearing blade. Figure 3.The increasing trend of organic semiconductor crystal size with increasing the microstructure dimension.
Ultrathin Digital Camera Inspired by Xenos Peckii ..
(Professor Ki-Hun Jeong from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering) The visual system of Xenos peckii, an endoparasite of paper wasps, demonstrates distinct benefits for high sensitivity and high resolution, differing from the compound eyes of most insects. Taking their unique features, a KAIST team developed an ultrathin digital camera that emulates the unique eyes of Xenos peckii. The ultrathin digital camera offers a wide field of view and high resolution in a slimmer body compared to existing imaging systems. It is expected to support various applications, such as monitoring equipment, medical imaging devices, and mobile imaging systems. Professor Ki-Hun Jeong from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering and his team are known for mimicking biological visual organs. The team’s past research includes an LED lens based on the abdominal segments of fireflies and biologically inspired anti-reflective structures. Recently, the demand for ultrathin digital cameras has increased, due to the miniaturization of electronic and optical devices. However, most camera modules use multiple lenses along the optical axis to compensate for optical aberrations, resulting in a larger volume as well as a thicker total track length of digital cameras. Resolution and sensitivity would be compromised if these modules were to be simply reduced in size and thickness. To address this issue, the team have developed micro-optical components, inspired from the visual system of Xenos peckii, and combined them with a CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensor to achieve an ultrathin digital camera. This new camera, measuring less than 2mm in thickness, emulates the eyes of Xenos peckii by using dozens of microprism arrays and microlens arrays. A microprism and microlens pair form a channel and the light-absorbing medium between the channels reduces optical crosstalk. Each channel captures the partial image at slightly different orientation, and the retrieved partial images are combined into a single image, thereby ensuring a wide field of view and high resolution. Professor Jeong said, “We have proposed a novel method of fabricating an ultrathin camera. As the first insect-inspired, ultrathin camera that integrates a microcamera on a conventional CMOS image sensor array, our study will have a significant impact in optics and related fields.” This research, led by PhD candidates Dongmin Keum and Kyung-Won Jang, was published in Light: Science & Applications on October 24, 2018. Figure 1. Natural Xenos peckii eye and the biological inspiration for the ultrathin digital camera (Light: Science & Applications 2018) Figure 2. Optical images captured by the bioinspired ultrathin digital camera (Light: Science & Applications 2018)