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NO.452 12.10.2018

“I Would Like To Guide and Help Other Researchers with My Research”

On November 12, the ten recipients of the Young Researcher Award 2018 were jointly announced by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of open access journals.  

This award is presented to selected researchers who are Korean nationals under the age of 40, helping them to elevate their stature on the world stage. Professors Jae Woong Jung of the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering for Information & Electronics and Youjin Je of the Department of Food and Nutrition of Kyung Hee University were among the honored. The two professors were interviewed twice, first on their personal feelings and performance records and then on their research plans going forward. In this first part of the series, I met with Professor Jae Woong Jung.


A researcher esteemed and recognized by peers.
Q: You have been selected for the Young Researcher Award 2018; I would like to hear your feelings on this.

A: As much as an honor the Award is, I’m trying not to get my head wrapped around it. I still feel trepidation when I hear about becoming a world-leading researcher. What I would rather like to take away from this is the utility of my research in that it has caught researchers’ attention and has been cited often. I believe the number of citations means recognition from other researchers.

Q: Your research on next-generation solar cell materials had a major effect on your selection. What kind of research is this?

A: I have been studying the development and synthesis of materials for solar cells. My work has been on developing next-generation solar cell materials called organometal halide perovskite (perovskite solar cells or PVSCs for short), an area yet to be commercialized. These materials are not new. The same materials that have already been studied for the use in semiconductors and transistors are now being used in a new application such as solar cells, and their properties have been discovered to perform even better in this area. Solar cells must absorb light with long wavelengths in order to convert it into electricity most efficiently.          


The previous generation solar cell materials have shown a limited capability to absorb light. The organic solar cells I have been working on absorb invisible near infrared light, in addition to ultraviolet light, infrared light, and visible light. 

Perovskite has outstanding properties for solar cell applications. It absorbs light well and generates electricity well. Taking it a step further, perovskite has created an interface material that attracts surrounding electrons better and converts them into electricity faster. With the use of perovskite interface materials have become transparent and easier to manufacture, so that light transmission rate has significantly improved. Absorption volume and electrical output have also increase as a result. 

Sustained focus on materials research without giving up.
Q: What has been driving you to achieve results in your research areas?

A: Sufficient “background knowledge” is an important part of research. To acquire such knowledge, I have sought out and read academic articles covering diverse areas. Blindingly following the trends in the solar cell field will inevitably hit an obstacle. To overcome this problem, one must pick up information from different fields to get new ideas. 

Being persistent and tenacious is important, too. While conducting research, one sometimes does not obtain the same results that others did for the same experiment. When time-consuming experiments fail, frustration sets in, but this is when one must persevere. Resolving problems takes time. If the desired results are not obtained the first time, one must repeat the process several times to get the results.     



Q: What are your future goals as a researcher?

A: I have considered research to be a vocation, and I have approached my research until now as a job. At the award ceremony, however, I met other researchers and it made me think. The proudest thing that has happened since my winning the prize is learning that other researchers have examined my work and taken interest. Now I want to become a researcher whose work can serve as a guide for other researchers.  

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