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Gun-Young Jung

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It's such a new, unique area that a small discovery could turn out to be significant.

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Gun-Young Jung been on the job at HP Labs for a week when he chanced upon an idea that solved a problem stalling work on what turned out to be a technology breakthrough: creation of the highest density electronically addressable memory known to date.

Gun-Young Jung

Jung, an engineer, joined HP Labs in Palo Alto, California at the end of August 2001. Only a few weeks before, he had arrived from Korea with no driver's license, no social security number, no car and no place to live.

But he did have one thing: excitement about working in the emerging field of molecular electronics.

Jung's colleagues were developing a method of fabricating circuits using an advanced system of manufacturing called nano-imprint lithography -- essentially a printing method that allows an entire wafer of circuits to be stamped out quickly and inexpensively from a master.

The problem they were facing had to do with the monomer solution used to create the thin film in nano-imprinting. The monomer spun-film shrank so quickly that there was no film left before imprinting.

What Jung suggested was combining a polymer with the monomer solution. That wasn't as simple as it may sound. The team spent weeks trying to get just the right combination, constructing a few hundred molecular devices before hitting on the right percentages of monomer and polymer.

Another time, Jung was faced with the problem of a polymer film that kept sticking to the nano-imprinting mold after imprinting.

"It's like when you bake a cake and some of the cake sticks to the pan. Maybe the cooking oil is no good," he explains. "I figured out how to improve the quality of the cooking oil."

For Jung, the thrill of working in nanotechnology springs from its relative youth as a field.

"It's such a new, unique area that a small discovery could turn out to be significant," he says. "Small things can make a difference."

About Gun-Young

Education: PhD engineering, Durham University, England
Native country: Korea
Joined HP Labs: August 2001
Hobbies: Calligraphy
Biggest influence: After I finished my master's degree in Korea, I took a backpacking trip to Europe. It was my first trip out of Korea. I remember thinking, the world is very huge. I must experience it. If I didn't take that trip, I might have never left Korea

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