Shayla has spent the last two weeks preparing for her
midterm presentation to her group. She was collecting data to quantify the
difference between her simulation methods and the simulation methods of her lab
mate’s previous work. With that presentation and work complete Shayla will be
continuing work in HFSS simulating inductors. This time she will create a
design methodology for a T-coil Inductor that the group needs designed. Shayla
is excited to be able to design her first CMOS device. Last Monday Shayla and
her closest lab mates were invited to lunch by Professor Jeong. They enjoyed
lunch in the Faculty Club of Seoul National University, and the sky was so
clear they could see across Seoul to the mountains on the other side!
The cohort had the opportunity to visit Hyundai Robis and
Samsung Innovation Museum. The group had the unique opportunity to see a crash
test at Hundai Robis evaluating the airbag performance. The Samsung tour gave a
great overview of the technology revolution.
Shayla explored Hapjeong, Itaewon, Hongdae and Yeouido Hangang Park. The skyline of the
city near the river reminded Shayla of the Scioto River in Columbus, OH.
The time was 3AM, and Bri
Robertson was with a lab mate at one of the several 24-hour cafes located by
Seoul National University. It was only week two, but time had become just a
concept when the reality of her project cemented in her mind. However, the
laughs shared at those late-night cafes are part of the wonder that Seoul
On Bri’s third
weekend in Seoul, to escape from the university, she boarded two subways and a
bus to arrive north of Seoul at the foot of the Bukhansan mountain range. Determined
to climb the highest peak in Seoul, Bri began her ascent along the busy
cemented path. Periodically, the chance to see a temple would arise, and she would
break from the trampled path to behold the establishments. From the fog
surrounding the temples, cats glared as she investigated the ancient traditions
of the Bukhansan temples. After a four-hour ascent, through a climb that felt
much like the way Frodo and Sam appeared climbing Mount Doom, Bri arrived at
Baegundae: the highest peak in Seoul. With nearly perfect air quality, she
could vaguely see the dark storm clouds that hovered over the covert mountains
of North Korea.
This began her “Bilbo
Baggins”-like quest to conquer the peaks of South Korea, searching for the
adventure that lies outside of the mission she is on in the lab. With a fresh
determination, Bri spent the following week tirelessly working on the code,
successfully completing my first model of the data, which brought about a
change in lab attitude as her fellow lab mates started to ask if she could help
model their data as well. The lines of code began to read like Iambic
Pentameter, and Bri slowly immersed herself in a machine world in which she
never anticipated to feel welcomed.
completed the required textbook reading and exercises, Alejandro moved on the
next stage of his internship. He was introduced to a circuit modeling and
simulation program called Cadence Virtuoso, which he would use to modify
several components of a neural stimulation circuit. Generally, he changed width
values of certain transistors and resistance values of certain resistors, with
the end goal being to produce a biphasic pulse (positive and negative values)
with an amplitude of about 1 mA. In practice, this pulse would be the
stimulation current that would flow into the neurons at the stimulation points
of the previously designed electrodes. By the end of the week, Alejandro was
able to produce the desired waveform (in simulation), with an amplitude of
almost exactly 1 mA and very minor noise affecting said waveform.
The beginning of
Alejandro’s fourth week in Seoul was a slam dunk, as he played some evening
basketball on both Monday (with his three roommates) and Tuesday (with one of
his roommates and an SNU basketball club). He hadn’t played in months, so this
felt great! The rest of the week was uneventful until Saturday; on Saturday,
Alejandro took a trip to the Gwanghwamun area, where he started walking along
the well-known Chonggyecheon Stream. He walked for a while before coming across
Dongdaemun, an area that featured several shopping malls and a park area. He
walked through a couple of the malls and enjoyed an iced latte before heading
out, towards yet another, even better known shopping area: Myeongdong. He
explored the streets of Myeongdong, nearly buying some dinner from a street
vendor before realizing he didn’t have enough cash, and finished the night by
going to the top of a shopping building adjacent to the main shopping area (to
get a good view of the place). On Sunday, he explored the COEX mall in eastern
Seoul with William, enjoying another iced latte before buying a new shirt at
one of the stores there. The most astounding (and beautiful) part of the mall
was by far the humongous library area, with bookshelves towering over
Alejandro’s head; he’d never seen anything like it before! Alejandro had an
enjoyable fourth week and weekend in Seoul, and is eagerly looking forward to
his trip to Japan next weekend!
William is working under Prof. Noo Li Jeon in the Multiscale Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (MBEL), which focuses on Organ-on-a-Chip (Organ Chip) technology. Organ Chips represent a new paradigm in cell culturing, wherein complex organ tissue is grown in microfluidic chips as opposed to simple cells in conventional petri dishes. These lab-grown Organ Chips could enable faster, cheaper, and more humane drug testing avenues by reducing the need for animal testing. Typically, the cells are delivered into the MBEL Organ Chips via a biomaterial liquid containing the cells. The liquid later turns into a gel to hold them within the chip, and provide support for the growing tissue. However, due to the quick gelling speed of the material, scientists have very little time to inject the cells into the chip, thus creating a major issue for scalable manufacturing. William’s research centers around developing a new biomaterial formulation with a longer gelation period, while still maintaining high-performance tissue growth capabilities.
In addition to participating in exciting research, the
IRiKA program has allowed William to explore the rich culture that Korea has to
offer. Luckily for him, he has also had the good fortune to meet up with
several a couple local guides who happen to be old friends. William’s friend
Judy did a year of foreign exchange at his high school several years ago and is
now a student at Sung Kyun Kwang University (SKKU), which was founded in 1398,
making it the oldest university in East Asia. The campus housed several tall
modern buildings with a great view of the city. However, many of the oldest and
historic buildings remain preserved for people to view.
William with his friend Judy at SKKU
addition to wandering around the campus, William got to taste “Bibimbap”, a
rice dish mixed with meat and vegetables, and “Nurungji”, a Korean dish
featuring rice that has become crispy from being grilled on a cast iron
griddle. He was also introduced for the first time to a board game café and
“Noraebang” (Korean karaoke). He highly recommends trying out both of these
popular pass times if you ever visit Korea!
Left: Spicy Bibimbap (bottom) and Fish Egg
Nurungji (top) for lunch
Right: William’s trying out Noraebang for the first time
Coincidentally Dr. Jungil Choi, a former labmate from William’s research group at Northwestern, is now a professor at Kookmin University and lives very close to William’s IRiKA provided accommodations. They were able to reunite for the first time in several months and catch up over a traditional Korean meal of “Ssam”, which consists of slices of boiled pork belly wrapped with leafy vegetables of your choice.
new adventures are in store for the coming weeks featuring more friends, and of
course more delicious food!
AutoCAD to design his first electrode (a basic four-channel stimulation
electrode) late in the previous week, Alejandro was given a microelectronics
textbook to further acquaint himself with the concepts and mechanics at work in
neural stimulation circuits. Essentially, he was told to read three chapters of
the book (covering MOSFETs, source followers, and current mirrors) and complete
some of the example problems in each chapter. That occupied him for most of his
third week in Korea.
Alejandro’s weekday excursions fell on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (7/1, 7/2, and 7/3) this week. He visited Gangnam for the first time on Tuesday, getting a haircut and celebrating William’s birthday with a KBBQ dinner while he was there. Wednesday and Thursday consisted of two group tours, to the Hyundai MOBIS facilities and the Samsung Museum of Innovation (respectively).
Both tours are represented by pictures below and were pretty interesting, but the MOBIS tour really drew Alejandro’s attention, since there were actually products being tested and developed there rather than exhibited (as they were at the Samsung museum). On Saturday, he went rock climbing with William and his two new roommates before dinner and boba tea (his first ever!), and on Sunday, he participated in the weekly dinner and dessert with the four other IRiKA cohorts.
left: The IRiKA cohorts and Dr. Moser in front of the entrance to the Hyundai MOBIS facilities
right: Shayla, Skylar, and Alejandro discuss the tour of the Samsung Museum of Innovation that they had just experienced while Dr. Moser takes a photo and Bri talks to another group of tourists
Shayla was paired with Professor
Deong-Kyu Jeong and the Inter-university Semiconductor Research Center (ISRC), where the main research interests include the
design of high-speed I/O circuits, phase-locked loops, and memory system architecture.
She will be working on created a chip inductor for clock control in one of the
high-speed circuits using CAD software like HFSS. She will also be working on test automation
for a new high speed optical circuit using python to interface with the lab
equipment. Between the two projects
Shayla will have the opportunity to with both chip scale electronics and chip
scale optics, which are her areas of interest for her Ph.D studies.
Thus far the IRiKA program visited LG
Electronics and the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). During
the visit to LG Shayla was amazed at the breadth of industries the company
designed and manufactured products for. During the visit to KITECH, Shayla was
excited to see a familiar technology that she worked on in her undergraduate
career, ink-jet printed microelectronics !
Outside of the lab Shayla has had
the chance to visit Gangnam, where she visited K-star road and COEX mall, and
Gyeonbokgung Palace where she learned about the Korean language and old
traditions. She also had the pleasure of trying many different authentic Korean
dishes like tteokbokki, samgyupsal, and bingsu.
“Annyeonghaseyo!” chimed the members of Noo Li Jeon’s Laboratory the
moment Bri Robertson arrived on the scene. In a weak, newly-developed Korean
tongue, Bri returned the greeting. Although this small interaction of exchanged
“hellos” appears insignificant, the vivacity and the overall goodwill of the
lab assured Bri that she was placed in the right host lab. After a couple days
of fumbling with pipettes and cell culturing, she quickly rose to a different
project in the lab that suited her well—Deep Learning. With a background in
OpenCV and Python, Bri wanted to work on this project, which was for the
automated quantization of vascular morphology, because she wanted to dive
deeper into object recognition techniques. With Deep Learning as an emerging
field, she knew this was her opportunity to learn alongside her lab mates and
contribute. In her eight weeks here, she hopes to develop a program that can
handle microscopy images and learn to identify unique characteristics about the
Along with research, Bri toured two unique sites—LG
and KITECH. LG, the technology giant, brought the group into a thinktank-style
room, featuring many of the soon-to-be-released technologies lining the wall.
After discussing many of the problems and the methods behind solving those
problems with the tour lead, Bri recognized that she wants to delve into a
field that promotes innovation in a similar, open-discussion style. The other
site, KITECH, which is a government laboratory, gave an intriguing introduction
to how research extends past private companies and permeates the national
identity of Korea as well. An example of this permeance was highlighted by one
of the individuals who led the group through a photolithography lab. Rather
than serving his mandatory two-year sentence in the military that all Korean
men must serve, he serves his time by contributing to the R&D in which
Korea is actively engaged.
Outside of the immediate field of research, Bri spends
most of her hours with her lab mates, often sharing in meals and karaoke
together. One of her favorite post-lunch activities is “Kai Bai Bo!” which is the Korean multiplayer game of rock, paper,
scissors. The loser pays for everyone’s coffee! On her first weekend in Seoul,
Bri met one of her childhood best friends in the popular district of
Myeong-dong, in which the two embarked on a tourist-like adventure through the
streets and up Namsan, a popular
Korean mountain which is home to a 360°
view of the city. In the second weekend, the group of five celebrated the start
of a new week with trying sannakji:
live octopus. Bri vividly remembers six tentacles attaching to the inside of
With the past few weeks full of adventure in and
outside of the lab, Bri anticipates with pleasing expectation the next weeks to