Yong W. Kim


Department of Physics
Lewis Laboratory 16
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015 USA
Phone: 610-758-3922;
FAX: 610-758-5730
Email: ywk0@lehigh.edu

Yong W. Kim attended Seoul National University from 1956 to 1962, receiving the B.S. degree (Physics, 1960) and the M.S. degree (Physics, 1962). He served in the Republic of Korea Army for one year from 1960 to 1961. He enrolled in the University of Nebraska from 1962 to 1963 and held a Teaching Assistantship in the Physics Department. He then entered the University of Michigan in 1963, where he was a Teaching Fellow from 1963 to 1965, held a Research Assistantship from 1965 to 1968 in the Physics Department and earned the Ph.D. degree (Physics, 1968). He was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at Lehigh University in 1968, and promoted to Associate Professor in 1973 and to Professor in 1977. Also, he was Chairman of the Physics Department from 1984 to 1987. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1976. He spent the 12-month year in 2003-04 at Seoul National University as Distinguished Foreign Visiting Professor of Physics at the invitation of the University and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea. Again in the period from July, 2010 till August, 2012, he was invited to spend a total of eight months in the Physics Department of Seoul National University as Distinguished Foreign Visiting Scholar on three separate visits.

While a student at the University of Michigan under the late Professor Otto Laporte, he conducted both experimental and theoretical studies on mercury plasma as heated by strong shock waves driven into the vapor of mercury. He has since continued the atomic and plasma physics research at Lehigh with emphasis on transient kinetics and collective phenomena. His interest has broadened, during his tenure at Lehigh, to include the areas of fluctuation in gases and nonlinear phenomena in fluids. Recent research topics include: coherence length spectroscopy of transient plasma; persistent autocorrelation in Brownian motion; spectroscopy of light scattering from fractals and aerosols; 1/f dynamics of extreme event statistics; thermodynamics of nano-crystallites in disordered alloys under thermal forcing; and visualization of transport phenomena in high temperature metals by means of laser-produced plasma spectroscopy; and crystallization and disorder near the percolation threshold in two dimensions.

He has produced twenty one Ph.D. students in the areas of research mentioned above. The students completing the Ph.D. requirements since 2005 are:

Hedok Lee, “3-D Visualization in Laser-Produced Aluminum Plasmas and Nano-particle Formation,” Lehigh University (received Ph.D. in 2005). (He is on the research faculty of New York State University at Stony Brook).

John R. Labenski, “Shock Interaction with a Two-Gas Interface in a Novel Dual-Driver Shock Tube,” (received Ph.D. in 2005). (Presently on the research staff of BAE Systems).

Nopporn Poolyarat, “Coherence Length Spectroscopy of Discharge Plasma,” Lehigh University (received Ph.D. in 2007). (Currently on the physics faculty of Thamasat University, Bangkok, Thailand)

Paul A. Belony, Jr., “Kinetics of Vapor Emissions near Wire Explosion Threshold,” (received Ph.D. in 2011). (He is presently on the faculty of Strayer University.)

Ryan P. Cress, “Modeling of the Structure of Disordered Metallic Alloys and its Transformation Under Thermal Forcing,”(defended dissertation, September, 2013). (He has since been appointed as assistant professor of physics at the U.S. Air Force Academy.)

He has included a steady stream of talented Lehigh physics undergraduates in his research projects, and some of them have entered into academic careers. For example, David Greve is on the electrical engineering and computer science faculty of Carnegie Mellon University; Nicholas Bigelow is on the physics faculty of the University of Rochester; and Richard Superfine is on the physics faculty of the University of North Carolina.

His original research in four different topical areas are widely recognized: the memory effects in Brownian motion; development of novel concepts in shock wave generation; elucidation of laser-produced plasma as applied to composition and thermophysical property determination of metallic alloys; and first-principle modeling of the thermal history-dependence of morphology of disordered metallic alloys.

He has had a series of undergraduate students as NSF-REU participants at Lehigh working on a variety of basic research problems in the recent years: Andrew Abraham of Moravian College and Jerry Kim of UCLA in 2008 worked on measurements of the size distribution function of crystallites in randomly close packed (RCP) beds of steel spheres in two-dimensions as a model system of disordered binary metallic alloys; Matt Bross of Moravian College in 2009 worked on a new experiment of wire explosion in a small confined space; Nathan Tomer of Drake University carried out a successful experiment on simulated heating of a 2-D bed of spheres by simulated mechanical forcing in two mutually orthogonal directions during summer 2010; William Ferm of the University of Maine in 2011 and Justin Goodrich of Lehigh University in 2012 extended the study into the regimes of non-equilibrium states, which is shaping the framework of a new project in the area of non-equilibrium fluctuations. Tomer’s work, launched from those of Abraham and Kim, highlights the fruitful research initiative of first-principle modeling of the thermal history dependence of transport properties of disordered alloys. The development has provided the foundation for the dissertation research by Ryan Cress. In 2013, Daniel O’Dricoll of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland extended the investigation into the dynamics of structural order-disorder near the percolation threshold in two dimensions. Daniel O’Driscoll has since taken a leave from Trinity College Dublin for a 12-month year in 2013-2014 to continue the experiment at Lehigh. William Woodward of Lehigh University has just joined in 2014 to further explore the genesis of disorder in certain condensed media. The recent collaboration at Seoul National University on explosive percolation (Cho, Kim and Kahng, 2012) also suggests an intriguing possibility of a disorder-percolation linkage.

The sponsors of his research programs have included: the National Science Foundation; U.S. Department of Energy; Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; Potomac Electric Power Company; Electric Power Research Institute; Naval Ordinance Station; U.S. Army; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Envirotech-Buell; Pennsylvania Science and Engineering Foundation; American Iron and Steel Institute; the Ben Franklin Fund; AISI’s CTU 5-2 Consortium of North American metals producers in support of the project on real-time in-situ alloy composition analysis by laser-produced plasma spectroscopy; Atlas Powder Company; the Pool Memorial Trust Fund; and Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory; and the Republic of Korea Federation of Professional Societies.

In the years 1984-87 when he was Chairman of the Physics Department, he initiated, and completed, a massive development program, which included an addition/renovation of the Physics Building, hiring of five new faculty members, doubling of graduate enrollment and research funding. He also implemented the next phase program of continued faculty hiring to attain the 25-faculty department.

He has taught a broad range of topics in physics. In more recent years, his courses have included: statistical mechanics, classical mechanics, physics of nonlinear phenomena, non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and electricity and magnetism in graduate offering; and thermal physics, physics of fluids, electricity and magnetism, and atomic and molecular structure in undergraduate offering. He has also taught introductory physics II and freshmen seminar.

He has interacted in a consulting capacity with a number of companies, academic institutions and federal agencies on matters involving small particulates, high power lasers, rapid kinetics of reacting systems, electro-optic instrumentation, electrostatic precipitation, blast waves, trace-level molecule detection, and in-process surface analysis. He is inventor or co-inventor in five U.S. patents and many foreign patents. He had undertaken the task of assessing the state-of-the-art of the research efforts toward realization of quantum computation, and completed an assessment report for the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1982, the citation reads, "for his pioneering experimental work in the dynamics of ionized gas flow in a boundary layer and in persistence and memory effects in fluid dynamics." He was chairman of the international advisory committee of the International Symposium on Shock Waves and organized its 17th biennial meeting held at Lehigh University in 1989 as the symposium chair, resulting in a proceedings volume, Current Research in Shock Waves, Y.W. Kim, editor (Conference Proceedings No.208, American Institute of Physics, 1990). He served for ten years as an editor and a member of the editorial board of Shock Waves, An International (Springer-Verlag) Journal, and has been an overseas editor of the Journal of the Korean Physical Society since 1995. He served the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association as councilor (physics, 1988-91), auditor (1994-97) and advisor to the president of the KSEA (2005-06); and the Association of Korean Physicists in America as president (1990-91).

His current research projects include: development of coherence length spectroscopy for studies of excitation transfer in plasma; origins of non-Gaussian distributions in chaotic systems; thermal and electromagnetic-field structures in non-symmetric self-absorbing plasma; metallic nano-cluster formation; first-principle modeling of the thermal history dependence of transport properties of disordered metallic alloys at high temperatures; the genesis of disorder in metallic alloys.

Selected Publications since 2005:

Y.W. Kim, "Composition-Profile Basis of Depth Dependent Thermophysical Properties," Thermal Conductivity 26, R.B. Dinwiddie, ed. (DEStec Publications, Lancaster, PA, 2005). p. 146-158.

Y.W. Kim, “Routes To Development Of Near-Surface Alloy Composition Anomaly,” Int’l J. Thermophysics 26, 1051(2005).

Y.W. Kim, H.-D. Lee and P. Belony, Jr., “Metallic Nano-Cluster Formation in Neutral Gas-Confined Laser Produced Plasma Afterglow,” Rev. Sci. Instr. 17, 10F115 (2006).

Y.W. Kim, “Surface Position-Resolved Thermophysical Properties for Metallic Alloys,” Int. J. Thermophysics 28, 732-741 (2007).

Y.W. Kim, “Benard-Marangoni Instability as Possible Modifier of Surface Alloy Composition,” Int. J. Thermophysics 28, 1037-1047 (2007).

Y.W. Kim, “Charge Separation in Neutral Gas-Confined Laser-Produced Plasmas,” a book chapter in a graduate textbook, Plasma Polarization Spectroscopy, ed. T. Fujimoto and A. Iwamae, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg (2007). Chapter 10.1.

Y.W. Kim and N. Poolyarat, “Spectroscopic Interferometer for Coherence Length Spectroscopy of Pulsed Discharge Plasma,* Rev. Sci. Instr. 79, 10E715 (2008).

Y.W. Kim, “Development of Transport Property-Composition Relationship by Thermal Modification of Alloy Composition Profile,” High Temperatures – High Pressures 38, 1 (2009).

Y.W. Kim, “Simultaneous Multitemperature Measurements of Thermal Diffusivity and Composition,” Int. J. Thermophysics (DOI 10.1007/s10765-009-0692-1, December 15, 2009, 2009).

Y.W. Kim, “Simultaneous Multitemperature Measurements of Thermal Diffusivity and Composition,” Int. J. Thermophysics 31, 926-935 (2010).

P.A. Belony, Jr. and Y.W. Kim, “Dynamics of Vapor Emissions at Wire Explosion Threshold,” Rev. Sci. Instr. 81, 10E512 (2010).

Y.W. Kim and R.P. Cress, “Effects of thermal forcing on morphology of disordered binary metallic alloys: local equilibration and modification of near-surface elemental composition,” High Temperature – High Pressures 40, 335-347 (2011).

Y.S. Cho, Y. W. Kim and B. Kahng, “Discontinuous percolation in diffusion-limited cluster aggregation,” J. Stat. Mech., P1004 (2012).


Y.W. Kim and T.W. Harding, "Electron Attachment Apparatus and Method", U.S. Patent Number 4,713,548 (15 December 1987).

Y.W. Kim, "Transient Spectroscopic Method and Apparatus for In-Process Analysis of Molten Metal," U.S. Patent Number 4,986,658 (22 January 1991). Foreign patents issued in Australia (Patent No. 637,795), South Africa (Patent No. 90/2481), Mexico (Patent No. 341748), Poland (Patent No. 164,530), Brazil (Patent No. PI9007307-0), India (Patent No. 176761), Taiwan (Patent No. 49106) and South Korea (Patent No. 115374), Czech Republic (Patent No. 285316, July 14, 1999), Canada (Patent Letters No. 2,051,125, November 30, 1999); European Union (Patent No. 469083; individual national patent numbers to be issued in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom).

Y.W. Kim and W.A. Frederick, "Optically-Assisted Gas Decontamination Process," U.S. Patent 4,995,955 (26 February 1991).

Y.W. Kim and W.A. Frederick, "Lamp Sheath Assembly for Optically-Assisted Gas Decontamination Process," U.S. Patent 5,138,175 (11 August 1992).

Y.W. Kim, "Reexamination: Transient Spectroscopic Method and Apparatus for In-Process Analysis of Molten Metal," U.S. Patent Number B1 4,986,658 (25 June 1996).

Selected Examples of Synergistic Activities:

Collaborated on the state-of-the-art assessment of the status of information technology as part of a team of computer scientists, electrical engineers and physicists; wrote a technical report on quantum computing research:
Y.W. Kim, “An Assessment of Quantum Computation Research;” this 64-page report is available at two websites:
(see https://www.ksea.org/KSEA/contents/ksea-tm-2006-02.pdf , or http://akpa.org/). (2005-06).

Invented and developed a new methodology and instrumentation, based on real-time spectroscopy of laser produced plasma plumes, to make in-situ measurement of elemental composition of molten steel alloys in alloying furnaces in close alliance with the AISI’s consortium of 13 North-American steel and aluminum alloy producers; resulted in worldwide patents (1984–2000).

Collaborated with Alex Rae-Grant, M.D., of the Lehigh Valley Medical Hospital Center and his medical colleagues at McMaster University Medical School in Canada on nonlinear dynamics of EEG patterns of severely brain injured patients; formulated fractal measures and published two articles in the journal of EEG and Clinical Physiology (1991-1993).

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Last updated:

March 20, 2014