CULLEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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Materials Engineering Student Wins Best Dissertation Award for Soft and Curvilinear Wearable Electronics

By: 

Rashda Khan
Kyoseung Sim works on wearable HMI devices as a post doc researcher at the UH Cullen College of Engineering
Kyoseung Sim works on wearable HMI devices as a post doc researcher at the UH Cullen College of Engineering

Kyoseung Sim, who finished his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering under the guidance of mechanical engineering professor Cunjiang Yu this summer, won the Cullen College of Engineering’s Best Dissertation Award for his doctoral dissertation, titled “Materials and Manufacture of Soft and Curvilinear Electronics.”

The award committee considered seven highly-competitive dissertations submitted from the various engineering departs for the summer-fall 2018 competition period. As the overall winner, Sim will be recognized at the Cullen College’s commencement on Dec. 13 at NRG Arena. The award comes with $1,000 and a plaque.

Sim’s dissertation included a comprehensive set of results in materials, manufacturing technologies, mechanical studies and devices to illustrate the associated novel aspects in soft and curvilinear electronics.

It introduced a new manufacturing approach, called Conformal Additive Stamp (CAS) printing, which utilizes a deformable balloon stamp to pick up and print components of interest in order to fabricate 3D curvilinear electronics. Furthermore, he provided a detailed example of 3D curvilinear electronics – a multifunctional smart contact lens – created by utilizing CAS printing.

The smart contact lens allows continuous health monitoring including eye intraocular pressure, ocular surface temperature and tear glucose levels. There were several design advantages from the innovation of the devices being based on solution processed indium zinc oxide (IZO) as well, including multifunctionality, simple manufacturing, imperceptible wearing and robust interfacing.

Last but not least, Sim’s thesis shared high-performance rubbery or flexible electronics based on an intrinsically stretchable semiconductor with enhanced carrier mobility. The rubbery electronics retain electrical performance without significant loss under mechanical stretching of 50 percent. He recently had a paper on this topic accepted for publication in the journal Science Advances.

“I would like to definitely thank my advisor, Professor Cunjiang Yu, and our research group members for great help during my doctoral study,” Sim said.  “And I would like to thank my wife, Hanah Na,for her sacrifice and great support during it all.”

Sim has published a dozen papers – as first author on half of those – based on his Cullen College research. Three additional papers are under review.

Originally from South Korea, Sim earned his master’s degree in physical chemistry and worked on organic electronics at Konkuk University. He was a post-graduate researcher in the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) for three years and worked on dye sensitized solar cells. He published 19 papers based on research completed prior to UH.

Sim is continuing to work with Yu and his research team at UH to further develop materials and manufacturing processes for soft and curvilinear electronics that can be used for wearable, skin-mountable electronics and even direct organ mountable electronics. 

“I really like doing research because it’s amazing to me to keep trying to find new things and solve existing problem for everyone,” Sim said.

He also offered some advice for Cullen College students still in the midst of their doctoral studies.

“Most Ph.D. students feel that this way is not easy – it’s tough and stressful. Some people consider giving up. But my advice is just enjoy your research,” Sim said. “If they can enjoy every small bit of research progress and achievement, they can have fun in moving forward to the next step and the next. Eventually, they will make huge progress and achieve significant results with great happiness.”

The Cullen College’s Best Dissertation Award is given twice a year for students who successfully defend their dissertation. For more information on the award, please visit www.egr.uh.edu/academics/graduate-programs/best-dissertation-award

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