Sangtae Kim received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry (physics minor) from Sogang University in South Korea and his Ph.D. (1999) in chemistry from the University of Houston (Advisor: Prof. Allan J. Jacobson). His dissertation efforts focused on investigation of the oxygen transport kinetics in advanced oxides and on evaluating the suitability of those materials for technological applications such as solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathodes and/or gas separation membrane reactors. The primary interest was in understanding of the importance of the gas-solid surface exchange rates relative to bulk diffusion in the mixed ionic and electronic conductors (MIECs).
With completion of his Ph.D., he joined Prof. Joachim Maier research group at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research (Max-Planck-Institut für Festköperforschung) in Stuttgart, Germany as Guest Scientist (2000-2004). During his four-year stint at MPI, his research was devoted to understanding in great detail of the interfacial contribution to the overall electrical conduction in nanograined (the grain size below 50 nm) functional oxide ceramics such as solid electrolytes (ceria and yttria stabilized zirconia) and a varistor (ZnO). The main focus of interest was how the defect chemistry, and thus the conduction behavior, at the interface differs from that in the crystal interior of the electroceramic materials, and how to utilize/modify the interfacial property to optimize the materials property.
He came to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of California, Davis in May, 2004 as Assistant Professor. Sangtae Kim’s current research centers on mass and charge transport in nanostructured ionic and mixed conducting oxides (viz. interfacial defect thermodynamics and kinetics) that forms the basis of applications such as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), gas separation membranes (proton conductor), and chemical sensors. He is also an affiliate faculty of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology (NEAT) Organized Research Unit (ORU) and Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).