The Lab of Nanoscience for Energy Technology & Sustainability
Hyung Gyu Park (Mechanical Engineering)
How are molecules able to align and move around in spaces only slightly larger than themselves? How does light travel within an area that is smaller than a light wave? Questions like these largely remain a mystery. From an engineering viewpoint, research into how materials move in low-dimensional spaces created by one/two-dimensional materials could open doors for innovation. Future energy technologies such as next-generation batteries and sustainability technologies including seawater desalination could be greatly benefited from such initiatives.
The Laboratory of NETS (Nanoscience for Energy Technology and Sustainability) directed by Professor Hyung Gyu Park, delves into the unique phenomena occurring under the highly confined spaces that nanomaterials create at molecular level. Knowledge obtained in this exploration allows researchers to entertain the possibility of applying such phenomena to super-precision chemical sensors and to the emerging energy-and-environment technology known as “membrane platforms” (a membrane is a thin barrier preventing the passage of specific gases or liquids).
The Lab of NETS consists of a total of five subgroups. The first subgroup looks into the synthesis of porous graphene. When tiny holes are made in graphene, this two-dimensional material often hailed as a “dream material” allows for the creation of one-atom-thick membranes. Whatever materials that can pass through the thinnest filter that nature can afford are barely subject to resistance. NETS has already established technology for synthesizing graphene through chemical vapor deposition, a technique widely used in semiconductor industries, and for producing porous graphene altogether.
The second subgroup studies the control of spaces created when two-dimensional materials are layer-by-layer stacked nicely. This study allows for the identification of the properties of materials that can travel through such two-dimensional spaces. Researchers are probing into the transport phenomena of materials that pass through the membranes created by laminated pieces, called a lamella, of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), one of the well-known two-dimensional materials.
The third subgroup engages in engineering design and experimental verification to apply the membrane materials provide by its peer subgroups to the innovative areas of energy-and-environment technologies. Key applications include seawater desalination, gas separation (e.g., hydrogen and carbon dioxide), and next-generation batteries.
The fourth subgroup is interested in ultrasensitive chemical sensing for observing how materials are separated and synthesized in the membrane phase. The fifth subgroup theoretically studies the physics of fluid movements in low-dimensional spaces that are otherwise difficult to explain with conventional theories.
“Based on our engineering manipulation of low-dimensional materials and the understanding of the nano-scale transport phenomena, NETS is opening up the possibility of innovation in the future technologies of energy and environment, such as seawater desalination, gas separation, and next-generation batteries”, adds Professor Park.
Head of Lab
Mechanical Engineering Laboratories Building 104, Science Building Ⅲ 105