Group name Organic semiconductor process laboratory (OSPL)

Group leader Soo Young Kim

Location Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering, Korea University

Further information

Professor Soo Young Kim.
Professor Soo Young Kim.
Soo Young Kim’s group.
Soo Young Kim’s group.
Figure 1 Main topics of Soo Young Kim's research: field-effect transistors [2]; photocatalysts [5]; displays [4]; chemical sensors [J. Mater. Chem. A 4 (2016) 6070].
Figure 1 Main topics of Soo Young Kim's research: field-effect transistors [2]; photocatalysts [5]; displays [4]; chemical sensors [J. Mater. Chem. A 4 (2016) 6070].
Figure 2 Main topics of Soo Young Kim's research: two-dimensional materials; OLEDs and perovskite OLEDs; solar cells, photodetectors and electrochromic materials; gas sensors and water splitting.
Figure 2 Main topics of Soo Young Kim's research: two-dimensional materials; OLEDs and perovskite OLEDs; solar cells, photodetectors and electrochromic materials; gas sensors and water splitting.

Organic semiconductors, perovskites, and two-dimensional materials herald a new generation of light-emitting devices, solar cells, hydrogen production, CO2 reduction, electrochromic cells, and other technologies that could significantly benefit society.

Soo Young Kim has always been interested in complex problems that are challenging but important to tackle. He currently leads a research group at Korea University that simultaneously focuses on organic semiconductor/perovskite devices and two-dimensional materials such as graphene, graphene oxide, and transition metal dichalcogenides.

Before his position at Korea University, which he tool up in 2019, Soo Young Kim assistant professor in Chung-Ang University, Seoul, and undertook a sabbatical at the University of Chicago. He received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in materials science from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea and pursued postdoctoral work at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Soo Young Kim talked to Materials Today about his current research and future plans.

How long has your group been running?

Our group has been running about 10 years since March 2009. Our group worked for 10 years at Chung-Ang University and moved to Korea University in September 2019.

How many staff currently makes up your group?

The group is currently composted of seven PhD students and three Masters students. The number of members is evolving according to research contracts. We also sometimes host foreign researchers during their sabbaticals from other research institutes and universities.

What are the major themes of research in your group?

Organic Semiconductor Process Laboratory (OSPL) is composed of two groups.

One group focuses on organic-based semiconductors such as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), perovskite light emitting diodes (LEDs), perovskite solar cells, and perovskite memories. The other group focuses on the synthesis of two-dimensional materials and their application to hydrogen evolution reaction, CO2 reduction, electrochromic cells, and drilling mud.

We study the modulation of the properties of two-dimensional materials such as graphene, graphene oxide, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), and their applications. We combine our experience of optoelectronic devices with two-dimensional materials so that our research is focused on the optimization of two-dimensional materials’ properties and their application to energy devices, such as OLEDs, organic photovoltaics, perovskite solar cells, LEDs, gas sensors, hydrogen evolution reaction, and CO2 reduction.

How and why did you come to work in these areas?

We are working in these areas because we want to make a difference! We are creating nanomaterials and devices that have the potential to be translated into real technologies and commercialized to improve the quality of people’s lives. We are focused on complex problems that are very challenging but important to tackle. These fields have critical applications in electronic and energy devices.

What facilities and equipment does your lab have?

We are fully equipped with facilities for organic and inorganic synthesis. We have many analytical instruments for the characterization of our materials and devices. In our lab, we have facilities for physical vapor deposition (PVD), nanofabrication, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), hydrothermal reactor, spin coating, glove box, furnace, solar simulator, OLED test systems, and electrochemical measurements. Our laboratory benefits from excellent shared facilities at Korea and Chung-Ang Universities. We routinely use advanced characterization tools including spectroscopy and electron microscopy to understand the features of our materials and their impact on electronic and energy devices.

Do you have a favorite piece of kit or equipment?

I do not have a particular favorite instrument, but I consider all of the equipment our daily ‘friends’, fundamental to the progress of our research.

What do you think has been your most influential work to date?

I have no doubt that my most influential work was the invention of a new method to synthesize helide perovskite and apply it in memories, transistors, and artificial synapses. This was a pioneering discovery that opened the way to the exploration of perovskite materials. In addition, we have developed a novel method to synthesize two-dimensional TMDs and apply them in different applications such as photoelectrochemical water splitting, OLEDs, and gas sensors. These technologies will really impact electronic devices and energy conversion.

What is the key to running a successful group?

I believe that there are several important keys that help support success in research. I try to communicate my own strong personal motivation and commitment to my students and collaborators. The most important key is to have a great team to support all the activities in the lab and the center. I am very proud of my students, too. They are bright, independent, and hard-working individuals. That makes my job a lot easier and fun! I am fortunate to be surrounded by such outstanding team players.

How do you plan to develop your group in the future?

The current size of my group – ten individuals – is easy to handle. I think it is also the optimum size to create good synergy between all group members. However, the core lab needs to be complemented by strong and fruitful collaborations. I believe it is also necessary to guarantee the appropriate space and facilities for students to carry out their projects to the best of their abilities. I would be happy to increase my group, in the future, but this expansion would have to come with more lab space and, above all, a guarantee of the necessary funding. With my current human capacity and financial support, I plan to continue to explore two-dimensional materials in the electronic and energy devices field and I am trying to expand some of the studies to include other new nanomaterials.

Key publications

  1. J. Choi, J. S. Han, K. Hong, S. Y. Kim, H. W. Jang. Organic–inorganic hybrid halide perovskites for memories, transistors, and artificial synapses. Advanced Materials, 30 (2018) 1704002.
  2. M. Choi, Y. J. Park, B. K. Sharma, S.-R. Bae, S. Y. Kim, J.-H. Ahn. Flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display enabled by MoS2 thin-film transistor. Science Advances, 4 (2018) eaas8721.
  3. J. S. Han, Q. V. Le, J. Choi, K. Hong, C. W. Moon, T. L. Kim, H. Kim, S. Y. Kim, H. W. Jang. Air-stable cesium lead iodide perovskite for ultra-low operating voltage resistive switching. Advanced Functional Materials 28 (2018) 1705783.
  4. G. J. Choi, Q. V. Le, K. S. Choi, K. C. Kwon, H. W. Jang, J. S. Gwag, S. Y. Kim. Polarized light-emitting diodes based on patterned MoS2 nanosheet hole transport layer. Advanced Materials 29 (2017) 1702598.
  5. K. C. Kwon, S. Choi, K. Hong, C. W. Moon, Y.-S. Shim, D. H. Kim, T. Kim, W. Sohn, J.-M. Jeon, C.-H. Lee, K. T. Nam, S. Han, S. Y. Kim, H. W. Jang. Wafer-scale transferable molybdenum disulfide thin-film catalysts for photoelectrochemical hydrogen production. Energy and Environmental Science 9 (2016) 2240-2248.
  6. K. C. Kwon, K. Hong, Q. V. Le, S. Y. Lee, J. Choi, K.-B. Kim, S. Y. Kim, H. W. Jang. Inhibition of ion migration for reliable operation of organolead halide perovskite-based metal/semiconductor/metal broadband photodetectors. Advanced Functional Materials 26 (2016) 4213-4222.
  7. C. Kim, T. P. Nguyen, Q. V. Le, J.-M. Jeon, H. W. Jang, S. Y. Kim. Performances of liquid-exfoliated transition metal dichalcogenides as hole injection layers in organic light-emitting diodes. Advanced Functional Materials 25 (2015) 4512-4519.
  8. K. C. Kwon, C. Kim, Q. V. Le, S. Gim, J.-M. Jeon, J. Y. Ham, J.-L. Lee, H. W. Jang, S. Y. Kim. Synthesis of atomically thin transition metal disulfides for charge transport layers in optoelectronic devices. ACS Nano 9 (2015) 4146-4155.
  9. K. C. Kwon, K. S. Choi, S. Y. Kim. Increased work function in few-layer graphene sheets via metal chloride doping. Advanced Functional Materials 22 (2012) 4724-4731.
  10. Z. Wei, D. Wang, S. Kim, S.-Y. Kim, Y. Hu, M. K. Yakes, A. R. Laracuente, Z. Dai, S. R. Marder, C. Berger, W. P. King, W. A. de Heer, P. E. Sheehan, E. Riedo. Nanoscale tunable reduction of graphene oxide for graphene electronics.  Science 328 (2010) 1373-1376.