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Laboratory for Soft Material Nanophysics

So Youn Kim Research Group at UNIST

Principal Investigator

So Youn Kim

in 2012 at Princeton


2007~2011 : Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Thesis advisor : Charles F. Zukoski)
2007~2009 : M.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2003~2007 : B.S., Chemical Engineering, Seoul National University


Professional Experiences
2014~ : Assistant Professor, School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, UNIST
2012~2014 : Postdoctoral Research Associate, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Princeton University (under the supervision of Richard A. Register)


2012 Princeton Center for Complex Materials Fellowship
2011 Doh Wonsuk Memorial Award, the US chapter of the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineering
2010 9th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, 2nd Place Oral Presentation, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois
2009 8th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, 3rd Place Poster Presentation, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois
2008 Midwest chapter Society of Cosmetic Chemists SCC scholarship


Member of American Physical Society
Member of American Institute of Chemical Engineering
Member of the Polymer Society of Korea
Member of the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineering


We are looking for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. Students with passions and enthusiasms towards science and engineering are welcome! If you are interested in joining “Laboratory for Soft Material Nanophysics”, please email to “soyounkim at unist.ac.kr”.



Na Kyung Kwon

NKprofirles  Since 2015 spring

   B.S. : UNIST, Biomedical Science / Nano-chemistry Science

   Theme : Rheology in Polymer Nanocomposite

   e-mail : yohoo@unist.ac.kr

Ye Chan Kim


  Since 2015 spring

  B.S. : UNIST, Chemical Engineering  / Nano-chemistry Science

  theme : Block-copolymer Nano- patterning

  e-mail : kyc3537@unist.ac.kr

Yul Hui Shim

20170712_152705 Since 2015 Fall

  B.S. : UNIST, Nano-chemistry Science / Energy Conversion & Storage

  theme : Rheological Properties and Structure of Graphene Oxide Colloids

  e-mail : tladbfgml@unist.ac.kr

Dong Hyup Kim

 Since 2016 Spring

  B.S. : UNIST, Chemical Engineering / Energy Conversion & Storage

  theme : Multi-Dimensional Self Assembly of Block  Copolymers

  e-mail : d.h.kim@unist.ac.kr

Sol Mi Oh

OSM  Since 2017 Spring

  B.S. : UNIST, Chemical Engineering / Energy Engineering

  theme : microstructure change of polymer nanocomposite

  e-mail : ohsolmi0802@unist.ac.kr

Soh Jin Mun

SMprofilem Since 2017 Fall

  B.S. : UNIST, Chemical Engineering / Energy Engineering

  theme : Microscopic behavior of Graphene Oxide Colloids

  e-mail : msojin1993@unist.ac.kr


Jun Young Lee (2017.01 –

Young Chae (2017.06 –

Hyeonjin Cho (2017.06 -


UNIST undergraduates

Chae Han Lee (2014.05 – 2015.08)

Chang Seo Park (2014. 12 – 2015. 12)

Young Min Seo (2014. 07 – 2014. 08)

Seung Kee Shin (2014. 07 – 2014. 08)

Do Hyun Lee (2014. 07 – 2014. 11)

Min Ji Park (2015. 08 – 2015. 12)

Jeong Uk (2015. 07 – 2015. 12)

Yu Na Shin (2015. 12 – 2016.06)

Dong Woo Jo (2016. 02- 2016.06)

Young Hoon Jung (2016. 06 – 2016.12)

Dong Min Oh (2016. 06 -2016.12)

Woo Jin Go (2016. 06 – 2016.12)

Min-Kyu Baek (2016.12 – 2017.06)

Soo Yeon Park (2016.12 – 2017.06)

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Our research group is interested in understanding fundamental interactions in soft materials from molecular level and relating to bulk state properties.

Polymer Nanocomposites

While nanoparticles and polymers are widely used materials in industrial/daily products, it can exhibit unique properties when they are combined. Our research group is interested in understanding of particle-polymer interactions and controlling the structures to produce desired properties in complex nanoparticle-polymer composites. Upon the deep understanding of structural behavior of polymer composite materials, versatile thin film and novel 3-D nanostructures can be created; a special interest lies on block copolymer related composites.

Currently, the following topics are being investigated

  • Colloids and polymer mixtures in non-equilibrium state
  • Block copolymer related nanocomposites
  • Functionalized particle-polymer composites

Structure and Dynamics of Colloidal Glasses

chl silica 5_5

As a supercooled liquid approaches its glassy state without crystallization, unexpected physical properties can emerge; the most obvious change is that the viscosity increases by many orders of magnitude with small reductions in temperature. While this glass-like behavior is interesting and has been extensively studied in polymers, attentions has recently been given to colloidal systems, not only because colloidal particles are as an excellent model system for glasses, but because the transition of concentrated colloidal systems to the glassy state also has a great implication for the design and usage of many consumer products where particles are used as fillers to change the various physical properties. As the particles interact by volume exclusion and the volume fraction of colloidal particles increases, particles are localized within a cage of neighbor particles, slowing down the structural relaxation of particles dramatically.

Gelation of Graphene Oxide in Polymer Solutions


Graphene and its oxidized form of Graphene oxide (GO) have been of particular interest in material science due to their exceptional physical properties. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the GO dispersions although the state of dispersions directly affect to the material property. We systematically study the GO dispersion at various conditions and examine how GO gelation is affected by the presence of polymer.

Collaboration with S. O. Kim group at KAIST

Nanopatterning with Block Copolymers


Based on fundamental soft matter physics, we are interested in showing how soft materials can be employed in nanofabrication. More specifically, nanopatterning with block copolymers will be one of the promising applications. Since the characteristic size and spacing of block copolymer domains are on the order of 10- 100 nm, the range required by next-generation electronic and functional devices, nanopatterning with block copolymer thin films has emerged as a favorable technique. Furthermore, its distinct advantages in cost, fabrication and areal coverage are expected to overcome the shortcomings of conventional lithographic techniques.

Our focus was on

  • Film structure of Block copolymers in a confined space
  • Nanopattering with microfluidics
  • Multilayer structure with nanoparticles
  • Nano-contact printing system

Going into Details for Micro- Nano- structures

We use small angle scatterings extensively to study the microstructure of soft matter systems listed above. Small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), small angle neutron scattering (SANS), Glazed Incident SAXS (GI-SAXS) and light scattering (LS) are good experimental tools to study particle interactions and polymer microstructures. We are also interested in seeing their physical properties; rheological properties are examined with conventional rheometer and Diffusing Wave Spectroscopy (DWS).



[Names of authors from our group are in bold type]

24. Kwon, N. K. et al,”Enhanced Mechanical Property of Polymer Nanocomposites using Dopamine-Modified Polymers at Nanoparticle Surfaces “, in preparation.

23. Shim, Y. H. et al, “Structure and Rheology of Graphene Oxide in Polymer Suspensions”, in preparation.

22. Kim, Y. C., and Kim, S. Y., “Fabrication of nanowires in micropatterns using block copolymers”, in preparation.


21. Kwak et al, submitted

20. Kwon, N. K., Lee, T. K., Kwak, S. K.*, and Kim, S. Y.*, “Trapped aggregation of silica-coated gold nanoparticles controlled by polymer-nanoparticle interactions”, submitted

19. Shim, Y. H., Lee, K. E., Shin, T. J., Kim, S. O.* and Kim, S. Y.*, “Wide Concentration Liquid Crystallinity of Graphene Oxide Aqueous Suspension with Interacting Polymers”, submitted

18. Ryu, S., Kim, J. Y., Kim, S. Y., and Weon, B.*, “Drying-mediated patterns in colloid-polymer suspensions”, Scientific Reports, 2017, 7, 7079 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-00932-z)

17. Kim, Y. C., Kim, D. H., Joo, S. H., Kwon, N. K., Shin, T. J., Register, R. A., Kwak, S. K., and Kim, S. Y.*, “Log-Rolling Block Copolymer Cylinders”, Macromolecules , 2017, 50, 3607-3616. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.macromol.6b02516)

16. Kim, D. H. and Kim, S. Y.*, “Effective Morphology Control of Block Copolymers and Spreading Area-Dependent Phase Diagram at the Air/Water Interface”, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters2017, 8, 1865-1871. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00471)

15. Mun,J. H., Cha, S. K., Kim, Y. C., Yoon, T. Y., Choi, Y. J., Jin, H. M., Lee, J. E., Jeon, H. U., KimS. Y.*, KimS. O.*,  “Controlled Segmentation of Metal Nanowire Array by Block Copolymer Lithography and Reversible Ion Loading” Small , 2017, 13, 1603939. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.201603939)
highlightened in Advanced Science news (


14. Kwon, N. K., Park, C. S., Lee, C. H., Kim, Y. S., Zukoski, C. F., and Kim, S. Y.*, “Tunable Nanoparticle Stability in Concentrated Polymer Solutions Based on the Temperature Dependent Solvent Qualtiy”, Macromolecules, 2016, 49, 2307-2317.  (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.macromol.5b02798)


13. Kim, J. Y., Cho, K., Ryu, S., Kim, S. Y., and Weon, B.*, “Crack formation and prevention in colloidal drops”, Scientific Reports, 2015, 5, 13166.    (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep13166)


12. Kim, S. Y., Nunns, A., Gwyther, J., Davis, R., Manners, I., Chaikin P. M., and Register, R. A.*, “Large-Area Nano-Square Arrays from Shear-Aligned Block Copolymer Thin Films”, Nano Letters, 2014, 14, 5698-5705. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl502416b)

11. Garcia, N., Davis R. L., Kim, S. Y., Chaikin P. M., Register, R. A. and Vega D. A.*, “Mixed-Morphology and Mixed-Orientation Block Copolymer Bilayers”, RSC Advances, 2014, 4, 38412-38417.(http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/ra/c4ra06764a#!divAbstract)

Before UNIST

10. Kwon, H., Lopez. V. E., Davis R. L., Kim, S. Y., Burns, A. B., and Register, R. A.*, “Polystyrene-polymer(2-ethylhexylmethacrylate) block copolymers: Synthesis, bulk phase behavior, and thin film structure”, Polymer, 2014, 55, 2059-2067.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032386114001621)

9. Kim, S. Y., Gwyther, J., Manners, I., Chaikin P. M., and Register, R. A.*, “Metal-containing Block Copolymer Thin Films Yield Wire Grid Polarizers with High Aspect Ratio”, Advanced Materials, 2014, 26, 791-795. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201303452/full)

8. Kim, S. Y. and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Molecular weight effects on Particle and Polymer Microstructure in Concentrated Polymer Solutions”, Macromolecules, 2013, 46, 6634. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ma400459c)

7. Kim, S. Y., Meyer, H., Saalwachter, K*. and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Polymer Dynamics in PEG- Silica Nanocomposites: Effects of polymer molecular weight, Temperature and Solvent Dilution”, Macromolecules, 2012, 45, 4225.(http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ma300439k)

6. Kim, S. Y. and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Super- and Sub-Einstein Intrinsic Viscosities of Spherical Nanoparticles in Concentrated Low Molecular Weight Polymer Solutions”, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 1801-1810. (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2012/sm/c2sm06807a)

5. Kim, S. Y., Schweizer, K. S. and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Multiscale Structure, Interfacial Cohesion, Adsorbed Layers and Thermodynamics in Dense Polymer-Nanoparticle Mixtures”, Physical Review Letters, 2011, 107, 225504. (http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.225504)

[Highlighted by 2012 Accomplishments and Opportunities (NCNR Annual Report)]

4. Kim, S. Y. and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Nanoparticle Microstructure in Concentrated Polymer Solutions: Role polymer Segment-Particle Surface Interactions”, Langmuir, 2011, 27 (17), 10455-63. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la201704u)

3. Kim, S. Y., and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Particle Restabilization in Silica/PEG/Ethanol Suspensions: How Strongly do Polymers Need to Adsorb to Stabilize Against Aggregation?” Langmuir, 2011, 27 (9), 5211-5221. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la200022j)

2. Kim, S. Y., Hall, L., Schweizer, K.S., and Zukoski, C. F.*, “Long Wavelength Concentration Fluctuations and Cage Scale Ordering of Nanoparticles in Concentrated Polymer Solutions”, Macromolecules, 2010, 43 (23), 10123-10131. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ma1021677)

1. Cha, C., Kim, S. Y., Lan, Cao. and Kong, H.*, “Decoupled control of stiffness and permeability with a cell encapsulating poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate hydrogel”, Biomaterials, 2010, 31 (18), 4864-71 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142961210003224)


Kim, S. and Register R. A., “Applications of Block Copolymers in Thin Films: Nanopatterning” In Encyclopedia of Polymeric Nanomaterials, edited by S. Kobayashi and K. Muellen, Springer, 2014


Na Kyung's particle



Na Kyung synthesized the silica coated gold nanoparticle successfully

Ye Chan's patterning


 BCP nanopatterning by Ye Chan Kim. Pictures with better quality will be followed

Yul hui's Liquid Crystal


Polarized Optical Micrography images by Yul Hui Shim

Dong Hyup's BCP strands

DH strands


AFM image by Dong Hyup Kim



2017 ACS colloids Symposium in NY


07/08 – 07/14

the city college of New York, in USA.

NK & YUL participated in ACS Colloids & Interface Science Symposium.

2017 ICNS


07/10 – 07/13

OSM participated in International Conference on Neutron Scattering 2017.

2017 Spring Group Photo


beautiful cherry blossom :D

2017 March, dinner time


with our mascot, Lea :)

2017 APS march meeting, new orleans


03/13 – 03/17 with professor.

YCK & KDH  participated in American Physical Society march meeting, in USA.

2017 March, NMR experiment trip

Germany trip
Germany trip2

02/26 – 03/09

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, in Germany.

NK & OSM did NMR experiments in Halle.

2017 Commencement


official members and three interns

2016 December, Chicken Party


It was our last dinner together.

Good bye and good luck, undergraduate students.

2016 November, dinner time


Yummy Korean beef.

2016 Fall Group photo

2016 Fall

Nice day :)

2016 October, Global Ph.D Fellowship conferment ceremony


Global Ph.D Fellowship Conferment Ceremony.

NK was selected as a Global Ph.D Fellowship in 2016.

2016 Fall meeting in IUPAC-PSK40


Fall meeting in IUPACK-PSK40

YUL won the poster presentation award.


Great time in Jeju island.

2016 August, dinner time


with undergraduate student and special guest, Lea!

2016 April, dinner time


Absolutely delicious Korean beef.

2016 Spring Group Pictures

April 5th 2016 under cherry blossoms


taking the classic pose on the lawn


SYK group in April 2016


near the lake


not ready….yet


a wonderful day in April 2016

2016 Commencement

2016 commencement

2016 Commencement


2016 commencement

all current “official” members

2015 Fall meeting in PSK

2015 Fall Meeting
2015 Fall Meeting NK

Fall meeting in Polymer Society of Korea

NK won the poster presentation award

2015 Summer

2015 summer

Summer day trip in 2015

2015 Spring Group


taking the classic pose


Contact us

We are looking for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students.
Students with passions and enthusiasms towards science and engineering are welcome!
If you are interested in joining “Laboratory for Soft Material NanoPhysics”, please email to “soyounkim at unist.ac.kr”.


So Youn Kim Research Group
50 UNIST-gil, Eonyang-Eup, Ulju-gun, Ulsan, South Korea 678-798
+82-52-217-2558 /2616
soyounkim at unist.ac.kr