by Nicole Capozziello
Published February 18, 2019
Jung-Hun Seo, an assistant professor in the Department of Material Design and Innovation, received a Young Investigator Award from the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA). The award will help to support his research on tuning the material properties of diamonds for use in novel electronics and optoelectronics applications.
The KSEA Young Investigator Grant is the KSEA’s highest recognition, and is given to young professionals who earned a doctoral degree in science or engineering, and have been working in academia, industry, or government for no more than six years after earning a degree. Established in 1971, the award fosters international cooperation and aims to help Korean-American scientists develop their careers in the U.S. It is accompanied by a $10,000 grant.
“Although diamond has great potential in various applications, such as power electronics, communication devices, and optical and bio-sensors, its extremely stable electrical and mechanical properties have been a big hurdle to utilizing it,” says Seo.
The proposed research employs a novel surface engineering technique that uses plasma treatment to modify the challenging properties of diamond, such as its densely packed crystal structure and large intrinsic resistance, to allow electric current flow.
“Being able to tune diamond properties – from insulator to semiconductor to conductor – will enable us to open up a new avenue for harnessing it as a key material in electronics,” said Seo.
“Jung-Hun's work is a great example of how harnessing fundamentals in materials behavior can promote accelerated innovation in materials design,” said Krishna Rajan, Empire Innovation Professor and Erich Bloch Endowed Chair of the Department of Materials Design and Innovation.
Seo has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles with more than 2,000 citations, and holds 14 patents. He is the associate editor of MDPI’s Electronics and Micromachines journals, and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), IEEE Electron Device Society, IEEE Photonics Society, and the Optical Society of America.
In the past year, Seo has received over $1M in funding to support his diamond research, primarily from the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Seo received the award at the US-Korea Conference on Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship, which was held at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. on August 1-4, 2018.