Togetherness We Have Built, Encouraging Growth in Our Research

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Togetherness We Have Built, Encouraging Growth in Our Research

Professor Song Yong-won (UST-KIST Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) School, Nano-Information Convergence Major)
Siam Uddin (PhD Program at UST-KIST Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) School, Nano-Information Convergence Major)
Ryu Bo-won (PhD Program at UST-KIST Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) School, Nano-Information Convergence Major)

“I feel proud when I see my students growing. Students who didn’t know much grow and ask me highly advanced questions. They even want to have a profound discussion on their idea. I’m always proud of my students who get better and better every day,” says Professor Song Yong-won.

We recently heard exciting news from UST-KIST School. A paper that the students, Siam Uddin and Ryu Bo-won, in Professor Song Yong-won’s research team has produced was recently reported in international journals, Advanced Optical Materials as well as Carbon. Furthermore, their paper has been adopted to be on the front cover of the journals. The news is all the more special because both students have shown incredible growth while proactively conducting research. We met with Professor Song and two students in his team to hear more about it.

Two Students’ Paper in the World’s Renowned Journals

Two ideas captivated Professor Song since his college years: first, the boundaries of the world we’re living in will become culturally and physically more blurred and be more connected. Second, that is the reason why Korea has to focus on strengthening competitiveness in communications. Many years later, his ideas turned out to be valid and our lives are exactly as he envisioned. From high-speed computers, autonomous vehicles, high-performance mobile phones and high-resolution TVs to telemedicine, there was no slowing down in innovative technology where data communication has been the core foundation.

Professor Song is still dreaming of exponential growth in data communications. He is working on research that aims to apply nanotechnology to ultra-high-speed data control. Ultra-high-speed optical communication is necessary to overcome the limitations of the existing electronic communication. To effectively achieve this goal, he tries to find and introduce nanomaterials that are small in size and have outstanding material properties.

“On my journey to get here, I’ve learned so much that I didn’t want to keep it to myself. So I wanted to share it with students as a teacher at UST. To more resourcefully introduce the concepts of my research I give lectures on semiconductor theory, synthesis and properties of nanomaterials, understanding of optoelectronic devices, optical communication theory, and high-speed data measurement and analysis.”

Siam Uddin and Ryu Bo-won also had passion in the same field and started their degree program in Professor Song’s research team. Siam Uddin’s paper was reported on Advanced Optical Materials.

“My paper includes the research that synthesized graphene―a type of carbon nanomaterial―that was conventionally used in 2D in a 3D form, which is applied to a high-speed optical data device. The existing graphene process could not be applied to the surface of a fine three-dimensional device. So basically by allowing this, the interaction between laser and nanomaterial is maximized. I started my research with a simple plan, but I was deeply impressed with the surprising results.” Uddin added.

Professor Song said, “He’s been working on producing the paper for over a year. Probably for that reason, both Sian Uddin and I are quite attached to this particular paper. What’s even more special about this massive scale of a paper is that only the student, Siam Uddin, is the lead author without me. This is the result of his strenuous work trying to solve the problems presented to him without relying on other research groups.”

Ryu Bo-won’s paper was also featured in the international scientific journal Carbon. Professor Song highlighted that this particular paper initiated the critical work that his research group has to carry out.

Ryu said, “Most of the existing optical elements are silicon-based which are highly efficient yet quite expensive to use. My paper shows a study that maximizes the interaction between laser and graphene by dispersing grephene particles in a waveguide―the path that laser light passes through in optical communication―made with polymer material. This study is meaningful because it showed a significantly excellent optical property even though a much smaller amount of graphene was used than in other researches.”

“Polymer-based optical elements will be vital in some particular fields. Our research group will apply nanomaterials to this optical element, so we can upgrade the function to another level. Ryu independently solved the problems and showed me how much she has learned. There’s a lot to learn from her, especially how she takes care of herself,” added Professor Song.

Passing Persistent and Vibrant Experience and Knowledge to Students

Professor Song resigned from his adjunct professor position at another school and decided to teach at UST-KIST School. UST students were the determining factor in his decision. That’s how much he cares about UST students.

“I was quite lucky that all the team members are UST students. I’m grateful that I can work with wonderful students. Siam Uddin and Ryu Bo-won particularly had strong motivations since the beginning. As it has always been, I hope we continue to keep our spirit.”

Siam Uddin has a goal to work for his country and community as a researcher and Ryu Bo-won wants to earn her fame as she develops polymer-based optical devices. We felt their tight companionship even from a short conversation, achieved by their countless days together while working on their research. As they made an incredible accomplishment, we will also support them until they get to their final destination in life.