News from Seoul – June 29, 2019: Alejandro

Research Process

At the beginning of his second week in Korea, Alejandro was introduced to the main lab area he would later be working in as well as to electrode fabrication devices/technologies (reintroduced, in the case of photolithography). Choi walked him through the processes of analyzing/evaluating/adjusting electrodes by using computer programs, several chemical solutions, and iridium oxide electrodeposition; he will be using these processes in the final stages of his project. Unfortunately, he was unable to do anything else concerning them this week, as he had no electrodes to work with. In the meantime, he was assigned relevant academic papers to read and report on.

Excursions

Alejandro and his labmates enjoying a beer and chicken dinner

On his second Saturday in Seoul, Alejandro went to Journey, a burger place near his house, with roommates William and Peter. He relaxed at the house for the rest of the day, only going out again for KBBQ dinner. Sunday was a much more active day; he took his first trip to the Yeouido area (an area he had wanted to see since before the trip). He ate lunch at a mall near the Yeouido metro station and walked to Yeouido Hangang Park, where he rented a bike for a one-hour ride. He then returned to Gwanak-gu for dinner and dessert with the four other IRiKA students. On Monday, Alejandro (and the other students) participated in the KITECH tour with his LSU mentor, Dr. Jin-Woo Choi (Dr. Choi’s presence was a pleasant surprise!). The tour itself was pretty interesting, consisting of some intro videos and a tour of one of the KITECH laboratories, in which inkjet printing was demonstrated. After lunch with Dr. Choi, the tour guides, and the other students, Alejandro returned to his home before making a surprise return to Yeouido (unfortunately he’d left his Louisiana ID card behind, using it as deposit when he used the bike rental service the day before). On Tuesday evening, he played basketball and table tennis with his lab group after work; he then freshened up and rejoined them for a chicken and beer dinner, which was delicious (even the beer!).

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News from Seoul – June 21, 2019: Alejandro

Research Process

On Monday (6/17), Alejandro first met Dr. (referred to here as “Prof.” to avoid confusion; “Dr. Kim” is Gloria Kim from the University of Florida) Sung June Kim and Ph.D student Gwang-jin Choi in Prof. Kim’s office. They briefly discussed topics that Prof. Kim’s lab addresses (and which he will address in the next two months); the overall subject of the lab group is neural prosthetics. This category of microelectronic devices includes cochlear implants (to treat hearing issues), retinal implants (to treat vision-related issues), and deep-brain stimulation (for other nervous system-related issues). For the rest of the week, Alejandro browsed through academic papers, several of which Prof. Kim contributed to, pertaining to these devices; unfortunately he missed one day of work through sickness. Additionally, Choi showed him one of the laboratories that he will be working in and one of the tasks that he will be assigned later in the summer (quality control testing for electrodes based on impedance and current properties).

Alejandro, Dr. Moser, Dr. Kim, and other IRiKA students enjoying some KBBQ for dinner

Excursions

On the first night in Seoul (Saturday, 6.15), Alejandro moved into the Shilla Stay Guro hotel (in Guro-gu, as the name suggests) with his temporary roommate (William). He and William then went to a .nearby KBBQ place for dinner, where he surprised himself by eating raw crab and kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) for the first time. On the next day, he walked around the Guro-gu area and (with William) took his first Seoul metro ride to and had lunch in the Hongdae area. Later that day, he met with the other cohorts and Drs. Moser and Kim for dinner/dessert.

Alejandro and the other members of Prof. Kim’s lab group standing in front of Prof. Kim’s private garden

On Monday, Alejandro took his first walk around the Seoul National University (SNU) campus with the other cohorts, and on Thursday, he visited Prof. Kim’s garden with his coworkers after lunch (pictured below). Later that day, he and William moved into what would be their home for the rest of their stay in Seoul: the Avengers House in Gwanak-gu.