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Jihyuk Kim
Due to the increasing demand for energy, researchers have been looking for alternative renewable sources of energy and better means of energy transport. Polythiophene, a conductive polymer, has been found useful in this search because of its optoelectronic properties. Polythiophenes show potential to improve energy transport because of their ability to transition between semiconducting and conducting states. Jihyuk Kim, a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering, is working on synthesizing a derivative of a thiophene monomer and will soon be polymerizing the monomer into what he has titled PTEMA to investigate the thermal, optoelectrical, halochromic, and solution properties. So far, Kim has been able to verify each polymer intermediaries using 1H NMR spectroscopy.

When asked what was the most rewarding thing about his undergraduate research experience, Kim replied, “Having the opportunity to work on my own personal project, I get to see my progress as I spend many long hours of work. At first, many things went wrong, and I had barely any idea what I was doing. However, after many hours of research, I can now scientifically explain some of the phenomena that happen when I do chemistry. It thrills me to know that the polymer I am dealing with is something nobody has made before.” He went on to explain that this experience has allowed him to add context to his engineering courses. By using fundamentals that he learned from his organic chemistry class, Kim was able to relate his coursework to real-life circumstances.  Kim also discussed how his undergraduate research experience has reaffirmed his career goals and has helped him develop a love for research.

Jihyuk Kim was a 2017-18 Undergraduate Research Fellow mentored by Dr. Bryan S. Beckingham in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Last modified: August 29, 2018