Professor Kim Hyunjung of the Department of Physics
Selected for Research Leader Program by the Ministry of Science and ICT in 2021

- Selected as the first female scientist in the field of physics to study the mechanism of the ultrafast phase-change process -

Professor Kim Hyunjung of the Department of Physics was finally selected for the Leader Grants in the research field of the '2021 Basic Research Project,' hosted by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation of Korea. The Research Leader Program is the largest project supported by the National Research Foundation for Individual Basic Research in Science & Engineering, and this selection is significant in that Professor Kim became the first female scientist selected in the field of physics.

The title of Professor Kim's selected research project is 'Ultrafast Phase-Change Study,' committed to discovering new principles in the phase-change process and understanding the mechanism. The study aims to elucidate the mechanism of phase-transition processes, such as phase transition, dispersion, recrystallization, and elution, and to provide ideas for the development of new materials by measuring instantaneous and spatial transitions at the atomic level by controlling charge carriers and heat transfer to an extremely high degree. The idea of researching the movement of atoms in the phase-change process presented in this research plan was praised for its originality by the National Research Foundation of Korea, and an annual average research fund of around 800 million won will be given in support of this research over the next six years (from June 2021 to February 2027). 

This study is expected to lead to the development of a new technology to measure the intermediate stage of the phase-change process with a complex technique using coherence as well as the conventional pump-probe technique that measures ultrafast phenomena with short laser pulses. In addition, as a form of basic research using the 4th generation X-ray free electron laser and synchrotron, phase-change studies on phase-change materials, energy-related materials, and nanoparticles can provide important information for the application and development of these materials as useful devices by identifying important mechanisms in the phase-change process.

Regarding this selection, Professor Kim said, "By establishing an infrastructure that combines new technology and complex knowledge, the study is expected to have the effect of nurturing research human resources. I hope to successfully conduct this research to help resolve a notoriously unsolved problems in physics based on the measurement of ultrafast phenomena."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science and ICT's Research Leader Program aims to provide intensive support for in-depth research by researchers who have reached world-class levels for the development of future independent technologies and new technologies among university science and engineering teachers. Every year, science and engineering teachers are selected for the project, and on May 31, eight new tasks across different fields that include natural science, life science, and pharmaceuticals were selected as projects to receive support in the second half of this year.