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  1. Abstract

    We report on the enhancement of electrical properties of unsubstituted polythiophene (PT) through oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD) and mild plasma treatment. The work function of p-type oCVD PT increases after the treatment, indicating the Fermi level shift toward the valence band edge and an increase in carrier density. In addition, regardless of initial values, nearly the same work function is obtained for all the plasma-treated oCVD PT films as high as ∼5.25 eV, suggesting the pseudo-equilibrium state is reached in the oCVD PT from the plasma treatment. This increase in carrier density after plasma treatment is attributed to the activation of initially not-activated dopant species (i.e. neutrally charged Br), which is analogous to the release of trapped charge carriers to the valence band of the oCVD PT. The enhancement of electrical properties of oCVD PT is directly related to the improvement of the thin film transistor performance such as drain current on/off ratio, ∼103and field effect mobility, 2.25 × 10−2cm2Vs−1, compared to untreated counterparts of 102and 0.09 × 10−2cm Vs−1, respectively.

     
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  2. Electronic and optoelectronic devices often require multifunctional properties combined with conductivity that are not achieved from a single species of molecules. The capability to tune chain length, shape, and physicochemical characteristics of conductive copolymers provides substantial benefits for a wide range of scientific areas that require unique and engineered optical, electrical, or optoelectronic properties. Although efforts have been made to develop synthetic routes to realize such promising copolymers, an understanding of the process–structure–property relationship of the synthesis methods needs to be further enhanced. In addition, since traditional methods are often limited to achieving pinhole-free, large-area coverage, and conformal coating of copolymer films with thickness controllability, unconventional synthetic strategies to address these issues need to be established. This Perspective article intends to enhance knowledge on the process–structure–property relationship of functional copolymers by providing the definition of copolymers, polymerization mechanisms, and a comparison of traditional and emerging synthetic methods with reaction parameters and tuned physical properties. In parallel, practical applications featuring the desired copolymers in electronic, optical, and sensing devices are showcased. Last, a pathway toward further advancement of unique copolymers for next-generation device applications is discussed. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 31, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  4. Memristors, a two-terminal device, have a resistance that can be changed and retained in two or more different states when subjected to electrical stresses. This unique function makes memristors now an attractive area of research for next-generation electronic devices such as memory and advanced computation. However, credible characterization methods for memristors are not fully established yet to understand fundamental working mechanisms and objectively evaluate figures of merit performance. This review encompasses various characterization methods from materials to electrical characteristics to identify the fundamentals of memristor operations. Meanwhile, large performance variation is the main bottleneck hindering the adoption of this class of devices in practical applications. Thus, the second part of this article focuses on the types of variation and other reliability issues of memristors. Possible strategies to enhance reliability are suggested as well. Topics covered in this review on memristors’ characterization techniques and reliability are of significant relevance to many studies that seek to advance the state of the art in electronic devices and systems towards neuromorphic computing. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 24, 2024
  5. The driving mileage of electric vehicles (EVs) has been substantially improved in recent years with the adoption of Ni-based layered oxide materials as the battery cathode. The average charging period of EVs is still time-consuming, compared with the short refueling time of an internal combustion engine vehicle. With the guidance from the United States Department of Energy, the charging time of refilling 60% of the battery capacity should be less than 6 min for EVs, indicating that the corresponding charging rate for the cathode materials is to be greater than 6C. However, the sluggish kinetic conditions and insufficient thermal stability of the Ni-based layered oxide materials hinder further application in fast-charging operations. Most of the recent review articles regarding Ni-based layered oxide materials as cathodes for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) only touch degradation mechanisms under slow charging conditions. Of note, the fading mechanisms of the cathode materials for fast-charging, of which the importance abruptly increases due to the development of electric vehicles, may be significantly different from those of slow charging conditions. There are a few review articles regarding fast-charging; however, their perspectives are limited mostly to battery thermal management simulations, lacking experimental validations such as microscale structure degradations of Ni-based layered oxide cathode materials. In this review, a general and fundamental definition of fast-charging is discussed at first, and then we summarize the rate capability required in EVs and the electrochemical and kinetic properties of Ni-based layered oxide cathode materials. Next, the degradation mechanisms of LIBs leveraging Ni-based cathodes under fast-charging operation are systematically discussed from the electrode scale to the particle scale and finally the atom scale (lattice oxygen-level investigation). Then, various strategies to achieve higher rate capability, such as optimizing the synthesis process of cathode particles, fabricating single-crystalline particles, employing electrolyte additives, doping foreign ions, coating protective layers, and engineering the cathode architecture, are detailed. All these strategies need to be considered to enhance the electrochemical performance of Ni-based oxide cathode materials under fast-charging conditions. 
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  6. Ever-increasing demands for energy, particularly being environmentally friendly have promoted the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.1Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), arguably the most well-studied energy storage system, have dominated the energy market since their advent in the 1990s.2However, challenging issues regarding safety, supply of lithium, and high price of lithium resources limit the further advancement of LIBs for large-scale energy storage applications.3Therefore, attention is being concentrated on an alternative electrochemical energy storage device that features high safety, low cost, and long cycle life. Rechargeable aqueous zinc-ion batteries (ZIBs) is considered one of the most promising alternative energy storage systems due to the high theoretical energy and power densities where the multiple electrons (Zn2+) . In addition, aqueous ZIBs are safer due to non-flammable electrolyte (e.g., typically aqueous solution) and can be manufactured since they can be assembled in ambient air conditions.4As an essential component in aqueous Zn-based batteries, the Zn metal anode generally suffers from the growth of dendrites, which would affect battery performance in several ways. Second, the led by the loose structure of Zn dendrite may reduce the coulombic efficiency and shorten the battery lifespan.5

    Several approaches were suggested to improve the electrochemical stability of ZIBs, such as implementing an interfacial buffer layer that separates the active Zn from the bulk electrolyte.6However, the and thick thickness of the conventional Zn metal foils remain a critical challenge in this field, which may diminish the energy density of the battery drastically. According to a theretical calculation, the thickness of a Zn metal anode with an areal capacity of 1 mAh cm-2is about 1.7 μm. However, existing extrusion-based fabrication technologies are not capable of downscaling the thickness Zn metal foils below 20 μm.

    Herein, we demonstrate a thickness controllable coating approach to fabricate an ultrathin Zn metal anode as well as a thin dielectric oxide separator. First, a 1.7 μm Zn layer was uniformly thermally evaporated onto a Cu foil. Then, Al2O3, the separator was deposited through sputtering on the Zn layer to a thickness of 10 nm. The inert and high hardness Al2O3layer is expected to lower the polarization and restrain the growth of Zn dendrites. Atomic force microscopy was employed to evaluate the roughness of the surface of the deposited Zn and Al2O3/Zn anode structures. Long-term cycling stability was gauged under the symmetrical cells at 0.5 mA cm-2for 1 mAh cm-2. Then the fabricated Zn anode was paired with MnO2as a full cell for further electrochemical performance testing. To investigate the evolution of the interface between the Zn anode and the electrolyte, a home-developed in-situ optical observation battery cage was employed to record and compare the process of Zn deposition on the anodes of the Al2O3/Zn (demonstrated in this study) and the procured thick Zn anode. The surface morphology of the two Zn anodes after circulation was characterized and compared through scanning electron microscopy. The tunable ultrathin Zn metal anode with enhanced anode stability provides a pathway for future high-energy-density Zn-ion batteries.

    Obama, B., The irreversible momentum of clean energy.Science2017,355(6321), 126-129.

    Goodenough, J. B.; Park, K. S., The Li-ion rechargeable battery: a perspective.J Am Chem Soc2013,135(4), 1167-76.

    Li, C.; Xie, X.; Liang, S.; Zhou, J., Issues and Future Perspective on Zinc Metal Anode for Rechargeable Aqueous Zinc‐ion Batteries.Energy & Environmental Materials2020,3(2), 146-159.

    Jia, H.; Wang, Z.; Tawiah, B.; Wang, Y.; Chan, C.-Y.; Fei, B.; Pan, F., Recent advances in zinc anodes for high-performance aqueous Zn-ion batteries.Nano Energy2020,70.

    Yang, J.; Yin, B.; Sun, Y.; Pan, H.; Sun, W.; Jia, B.; Zhang, S.; Ma, T., Zinc Anode for Mild Aqueous Zinc-Ion Batteries: Challenges, Strategies, and Perspectives.Nanomicro Lett2022,14(1), 42.

    Yang, Q.; Li, Q.; Liu, Z.; Wang, D.; Guo, Y.; Li, X.; Tang, Y.; Li, H.; Dong, B.; Zhi, C., Dendrites in Zn-Based Batteries.Adv Mater2020,32(48), e2001854.

    Acknowledgment

    This work was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Award No. ECCS-1931088. S.L. and H.W.S. acknowledge the support from the Improvement of Measurement Standards and Technology for Mechanical Metrology (Grant No. 22011044) by KRISS.

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  7. It has been challenging to synthesize p-type SnOx(1≤x<2) and engineer the electrical properties such as carrier density and mobility due to the narrow processing window and the localized oxygen 2p orbitals near the valence band.

    We recently reported on the processing of p-type SnOx and an oxide-based p-n heterostructures, demonstrating high on/off rectification ratio (>103), small turn-on voltage (<0.5 V), and low saturation current (~1×10-10A)1. In order to further understand the p-type oxide and engineer the properties for various electronic device applications, it is important to identify (or establish) the dominating doping and transport mechanisms. The low dopability in p-type SnOx, of which the causation is also closely related to the narrow processing window, needs to be mitigated so that the electrical properties of the material are to be adequately engineered2, 3.

    Herein, we report on the multifunctional encapsulation of p-SnOxto limit the surface adsorption of oxygen and selectively permeate hydrogen into the p-SnOxchannel for thin film transistor (TFT) applications. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry measurements identified that ultra-thin SiO2as a multifunctional encapsulation layer effectively suppressed the oxygen adsorption on the back channel surface of p-SnOxand augmented hydrogen density across the entire thickness of the channel. Encapsulated p-SnOx-based TFTs demonstrated much-enhanced channel conductance modulation in response to the gate bias applied, featuring higher on-state current and lower off-state current. The relevance between the TFT performance and the effects of oxygen suppression and hydrogen permeation is discussed in regard to the intrinsic and extrinsic doping mechanisms. These results are supported by density-functional-theory calculations.

    Acknowledgement

    This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Award No. ECCS-1931088. S.L. and H.W.S. acknowledge the support from the Improvement of Measurement Standards and Technology for Mechanical Metrology (Grant No. 20011028) by KRISS. K.N. was supported by Basic Science Research Program (NRF-2021R11A1A01051246) through the NRF Korea funded by the Ministry of Education.

    References

    Lee, D. H.; Park, H.; Clevenger, M.; Kim, H.; Kim, C. S.; Liu, M.; Kim, G.; Song, H. W.; No, K.; Kim, S. Y.; Ko, D.-K.; Lucietto, A.; Park, H.; Lee, S., High-Performance Oxide-Based p–n Heterojunctions Integrating p-SnOx and n-InGaZnO.ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces2021,13(46), 55676-55686.

    Hautier, G.; Miglio, A.; Ceder, G.; Rignanese, G.-M.; Gonze, X., Identification and design principles of low hole effective mass p-type transparent conducting oxides.Nat Commun2013,4.

    Yim, K.; Youn, Y.; Lee, M.; Yoo, D.; Lee, J.; Cho, S. H.; Han, S., Computational discovery of p-type transparent oxide semiconductors using hydrogen descriptor.npj Computational Materials2018,4(1), 17.

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  8. The traditional von Neumann architecture limits the increase in computing efficiency and results in massive power consumption in modern computers due to the separation of storage and processing units. The novel neuromorphic computation system, an in-memory computing architecture with low power consumption, is aimed to break the bottleneck and meet the needs of the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Thus, it is urgent to find a memory technology to implement the neuromorphic computing nanosystem. Nowadays, the silicon-based flash memory dominates non-volatile memory market, however, it is facing challenging issues to achieve the requirements of future data storage device development due to the drawbacks, such as scaling issue, relatively slow operation speed, and high voltage for program/erase operations. The emerging resistive random-access memory (RRAM) has prompted extensive research as its simple two-terminal structure, including top electrode (TE) layer, bottom electrode (BE) layer, and an intermediate resistive switching (RS) layer. It can utilize a temporary and reversible dielectric breakdown to cause the RS phenomenon between the high resistance state (HRS) and the low resistance state (LRS). RRAM is expected to outperform conventional memory device with the advantages, notably its low-voltage operation, short programming time, great cyclic stability, and good scalability. Among the materials for RS layer, indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) has shown attractive prospects in abundance and high atomic diffusion property of oxygen atoms, transparency. Additionally, its electrical properties can be easily modulated by controlling the stoichiometric ratio of indium and gallium as well as oxygen potential in the sputter gas. Moreover, since the IGZO can be applied to both the thin-film transistor (TFT) channel and RS layer, it has a great potential for fully integrated transparent electronics application. In this work, we proposed amorphous transparent IGZO-based RRAMs and investigated switching behaviors of the memory cells prepared with different top electrodes. First, ITO was choosing to serve as both TE and BE to achieve high transmittance. A multi-target magnetron sputtering system was employed to deposit all three layers (TE, RS, BE layers) on glass substrate. I-V characteristics were evaluated by a semiconductor parameter analyzer, and the bipolar RS feature of our RRAM devices was demonstrated by typical butterfly curves. The optical transmission analysis was carried out via a UV-Vis spectrometer and the average transmittance was around 80% out of entire devices in the visible-light wavelength range, implying high transparency. We adjusted the oxygen partial pressure during the sputtering of IGZO to optimize the property because the oxygen vacancy concentration governs the RS performance. Electrode selection is crucial and can impact the performance of the whole device. Thus, Cu TE was chosen for our second type of device because the diffusion of Cu ions can be beneficial for the formation of the conductive filament (CF). A ~5 nm SiO 2 barrier layer was employed between TE and RS layers to confine the diffusion of Cu into the RS layer. At the same time, this SiO 2 inserting layer can provide an additional interfacial series resistance in the device to lower the off current, consequently, improve the on/off ratio and whole performance. Finally, an oxygen affinity metal Ti was selected as the TE for our third type of device because the concentration of the oxygen atoms can be shifted towards the Ti electrode, which provides an oxygengettering activity near the Ti metal. This process may in turn lead to the formation of a sub-stoichiometric region in the neighboring oxide that is believed to be the origin of better performance. In conclusion, the transparent amorphous IGZO-based RRAMs were established. To tune the property of RS layer, the sputtering conditions of RS were varied. To investigate the influence of TE selections on switching performance of RRAMs, we integrated a set of TE materials, and a barrier layer on IGZO-based RRAM and compared the switch characteristics. Our encouraging results clearly demonstrate that IGZO is a promising material in RRAM applications and breaking the bottleneck of current memory technologies. 
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  9. Enhancing battery energy storage capability and reducing the cost per average energy capacity is urgent to satisfy the increasing energy demand in modern society. The lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery is especially attractive because of its high theoretical specific energy (around 2600 W h kg-1), low cost, and low toxicity.1 Despite these advantages, the practical utilization of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries to date has been hindered by a series of obstacles, including low active material loading, shuttle effects, and sluggish sulfur conversion kinetics.2 The traditional 2D planer thick electrode is considered as a general approach to enhance the mass loading of the Li-S battery.3 However, the longer diffusion length of lithium ions, which resulted in high tortuosity in the compact stacking thick electrode, decreases the penetration ability of the electrolyte into the entire cathode.4 Although an effort to induce catalysts in the cathode was made to promote sulfur conversion kinetic conditions, catalysts based on transition metals suffered from the low electronic conductivity, and some elements (i.e.: Co, Mn) may even absorb and restrict polysulfides for further reaction. 5 To mitigate the issues listed above, herein we propose a novel sulfur cathode design strategy enabled by additive manufacturing and oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD). 6,7 Specifically, the cathode is designed to have a hierarchal hollow structure via a stereolithography technique to increase sulfur usage. Microchannels are constructed on the tailored sulfur cathode to further fortify the wettability of the electrolyte. The as-printed cathode is then sintered at 700 °C in an N2 atmosphere in order to generate a carbon skeleton (i.e.: carbonization of resin) with intrinsic carbon defects. The intrinsic carbon defects are expected to create favorable sulfur conversion conditions with sufficient electronic conductivity. In this study, the oCVD technique is leveraged to produce a conformal coating layer to eliminate shuttle effects. Identified by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy mapping characterizations, the oCVD PEDOT is not only covered on the surface of the cathode but also on the inner surface of the microchannels. High-resolution x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses (C 1s and S 2p orbitals) between pristine and modified samples demonstrate that a high concentration of the defects has been produced on the sulfur matrix after sintering and posttreatment. In-operando XRD diffractograms show that the Li2S is generated in the oCVD PEDOT-coated sample during the charge and discharge process even with a high current density, confirming an eminent sulfur conversion kinetic condition. In addition, ICP-OES results of lithium metal anode at different states of charge (SoC) verify that the shuttle effects are excellently restricted by oCVD PEDOT. Overall, the high mass loading (> 5 mg cm-2) with an elevated sulfur utilization ratio, accelerated reaction kinetics and stabilized electrochemical process have been achieved on the sulfur cathode by implementing this innovative cathode design strategy. The results of this study demonstrate significant promises of employing pure sulfur powder with high electrochemical performance and suggest a pathway to the higher energy and power density battery. References: 1 Chen, Y. Adv Mater 33, e2003666. 2 Bhargav, A. Joule 4, 285-291. 3 Liu, S. Nano Energy 63, 103894. 4 Chu, T. Carbon Energy 3. 5 Li, Y. Matter 4, 1142-1188. 6 John P. Lock. Macromolecules 39, 4 (2006). 7 Zekoll, S. Energy & Environmental Science 11, 185-201. 
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