Kwon Sho-young Reporter
Lee Do-hee, a doctoral student of CBNU, has developed a light and portable radiation device that is less than 20 centimeters long. Even though he is busy with his research, he has also started a business called ‘Nano-fiber Lab’. Can you guess what does this device and Lab are functioning for? Let's learn about his product, lab, and the background story behind the process of creating his lab and the device.
● Would you please introduce yourself?
I’m a doctoral student majoring in Bio and Nano System Engineering. When I was young, I always wanted to become a scientist. So, I finished my undergraduate studies in Biomaterial Science, and came here to pursue my major further. I don’t really have a special research philosophy, but I think new ideas are the most important. Many people are doing similar researches, so it’s important to have an effort to find new and differentiated ideas.
● You developed a portable radiation device which makes “Nanomembranes”. It’s an amazing development. But most people are unfamiliar with “Nanomembrane”. What is it?
A Nanomembrane device is a membrane made of nanoscale fibers. A Nano is 10╶9m, and a fiber less than 10╶6m is called a Nanofiber, which makes the Nanomembrane. The reason why we use it is because it has a high surface area compared to the volume. To put it simply, you can melt the small pieces of broken ice faster than the normal unbroken ice. Also, they have a secondary advantage of being thin and light, with good permeability and ventilation. You can see things made of it in our daily lives. Fine dust masks and climbing jackets that we use today are other examples. The air goes through, and the water stays out. Lastly, it's also used to grow cells and organs.
● So, what makes this device different from current devices?
Current devices are huge, so they are mostly used in laboratories, and in factories. My device has the advantage of being able to go out and make nanomembranes whenever and wherever. It's scary to open doors on days of fine dust. You can use my device to spray directly on the window screen to open doors and get fresh air. Another example of the use of this device is applied in the wounds of burn patients. When the patients are trying to get rid of the gauze from the wounds, they feel terrible pain. Their pain made us do research of applying Nanomembrane to absorb medicine and remove gauze easily, too.
● The motive for this invention came from the principle of static electricity. Which part of the device has this principle applied?
You have to apply high voltage to an electrical radiation device to make a nanomembrane. When you take off a sweater or something like that in winter, you have static electricity, and you can make high voltage just by using that static electricity. Then I came up with an idea to make a solution, to have friction from two objects create high voltage.
● Did you have any difficulties in making this device?
There are many start-up programs that are supported by the start-up support group and by our country. Participating in these programs to make this device, I realized that thinking “My technology is awesome, so it will hit the jackpot” wasn't really important. Technology is important, but it's more important to know how to promote it, where to sell it, to whom to sell it, and where to apply it. I think I've learned that I can't do it alone in this experience.
● You have established a laboratory startup company called “Nanofiber Lab” to commercialize this device. Can you introduce this lab?
My lab is called BMS, BIO MATERIAL & BIO SYSTEM lab. Professor Kim Cheol-sang, a materials master, and Professor Park Chan-hee, a systems master, are both operating the laboratory together and there are 35 students in it. These are students from all over the world. What we're doing in the lab is we're making materials that are inserted into the body for therapeutic purposes, or we're upgrading existing materials and measuring and predicting how they're behaving in the body.
● Is there anything you want to tell students at CBNU as a developer and founder?
When I was an undergraduate student, I had friends who gained much from CBNU’s scholarship systems. I was really amazed to know how my friends benefited from these educational scholarship programs at CBNU. In my case, I found that there are many start-up systems supporting both domestic and university projects, providing numerous benefits to scientific entrepreneurs. I think there are many students who are afraid of starting their own businesses because they don't know what to do first. Just start. I can't say I succeeded by starting my own business, but as a result of just starting, there are plenty of opportunities and benefits that exist. I hope you don't remain pessimistic with a ‘can’t do’ attitude about it. Follow your dreams.
It was a great opportunity to get to know about unfamiliar materials and various uses of this device. Also, it was an honor to hear about Dr. Lee Do-hee’s amazing development, examples of the device’s uses and experiences! Hope you guys felt it too!