Polymer Chemistry Emerging Investigator- Myungwoong Kim

Myungwoong Kim received his B.S. in Chemistry (2002) and M.S. in Physical Chemistry (2004) from Hanyang University under supervision of Prof. Daewon Sohn, then worked for several years in photopatterning materials industry. He completed his Ph.D. in Materials Science (2013) at University of Wisconsin – Madison under supervision of Prof. Padma Gopalan. He then conducted his postdoctoral research in Prof. Christopher K. Ober’s group at Cornell University. In 2015, he joined the Department of Chemistry at Inha University to begin his independent research career. His current research interests include precision polymer synthesis for desired structures and properties, surface and interface engineering, polymeric material designs for micro/nanofabrications, for functional gels, and for understanding polymer dynamics.

Read Myungwoong’s Emerging Investigator article, ‘Comprehensive studies of continuous flow reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer copolymerization and its application for photoimaging materials’

Check out our interview with Myungwoong below:

1. How do you feel about Polymer Chemistry as a place to publish research on this topic?

I have enjoyed reading the articles in Polymer Chemistry. I have been impressed by the journal scope, especially respecting and embracing conventional, but fundamental and significant polymer chemistry topics, for example, polymerization kinetics and photopolymer chemistry. However, the journal has also been enthusiastic to publish high quality articles dealing with cutting edge topics. This unique balancing makes me keep following every day and considering Polymer Chemistry as a place to publish.


2. What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

For the patterns in single-digit nanometer dimension, the size becomes equivalent to less than ten copolymer chains. In this limit, the homogeneity of the copolymer system gets important to improve the pattern quality, such as line edge roughness. The continuous flow process shown in our work can address this issue; however, it also gave us an important message: the compositional drift due to unequal reactivity between monomers results in an intrinsic compositional inhomogeneity in copolymer samples. This is further related to the fundamental challenging question: “can we precisely control the structure and composition of complex polymers?”.


3. In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

How do we precisely control compositional and structural parameters of polymers, for example, sequence, desired chemical functionalities, molecular weight, and its distribution, while the high complexity is attained? Can we produce this elegantly shaped polymer in a large quantity? How are the parameters correlated with the resulting properties, for example, the position of developable unit in the chain vs. the quality of photopattern? Can we expand these challenges to more complex polymeric systems such as crosslinked polymer networks and polymer thin films?


4. Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

We all experience failure. No one can become always successful. This should be the case especially for early career scientists including me. I have thought of an inspirational quote that was personally given to me by Prof. Hyuk Yu, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at University of Wisconsin at Madison, and now I am so happy to share this with other early career polymer scientists: “Life and hope are viscoelastic. Failure should take time to restore, but never yield to or break by it. Bend and recover!!!”. This may be the advice given to us by polymer, our lifelong friend, as well.

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