Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Bill Cabage (cabagewh@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL's Ho Nyung Lee cited as top early career scientist

Ho Nyung Lee
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 1, 2007 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Ho Nyung Lee is one of eight Department of Energy scientists to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The award, one of the nation's top honors for young scientists, was presented today in a White House ceremony to 58 researchers from nine federal agencies and departments.

"These departmental awards reflect our belief that the representatives of the new generation of scientists and engineers honored by these awards are meeting demanding scientific and technical challenges with superior leadership, knowledge, and insight," said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. "The awards demonstrate the department's enduring interest in creative scientific and technical talent."

Lee, an experimental physicist in ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division, focuses on controlling interfaces in artificially layered complex oxides and on understanding collective phenomena arising from the atomic-scale coupling within complex transition-metal-oxide superlattices and across heterointerfaces.

The studies and theoretical understanding of these heterostructures and superlattices have applications ranging from improved sensors and actuators to advances in data storage and energy conversion.

"We are delighted that Ho Nyung's remarkable dedication to his experimental and theoretical work has been recognized with the PECASE," said ORNL Director Thom Mason. "He has been a significant contributor to ORNL's leadership in the materials sciences."

Lee's research interests also include exploring the electronic self-organization responsible for the electric and magnetic properties of transition-metal oxides, as well as investigating the fundamental aspects of ferroelectrics. These atom-scale phenomena are key to the development of advanced materials for a broad range of uses.

He is credited with advancing the versatile, layer-by-layer method of high-pressure, pulsed-laser deposition for growing complex-oxide heterostructures previously thought to be achievable only by molecular beam epitaxy. Lee's method gives researchers unprecedented freedom for materials design. Pulsed-laser deposition can synthesize artificially layered crystalline materials in which the interfaces between the atomic layers introduce new behaviors or improved physical properties.

He received his doctorate in physics from Korea University in 1999 and joined ORNL as a strategic hire in 2002 following a postdoctoral appointment at Germany's Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics. Lee has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers that have been cited over 600 times, including publications in the top scientific journals.

Lee has presented more than 30 invited talks, seminars or university colloquia. In 2002 he received the first Bombi Prize of the Korean Physical Society for outstanding research in condensed matter physics by a young scientist under the age of 35. Dr. Lee also won UT-Battelle's 2005 Science and Technology Award for best scientific research by a team or individual.

He lives in Oak Ridge with his wife, Hyun-Suk, and two children, Jimin and Andrew.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.