The Nevada System of Higher Education on Friday awarded its top annual research honor to UNLV mechanical engineering professor Kwang Jin Kim.
The Nevada Regents' Researcher Award is given each year to a faculty member who has made major advances in their field of study and with at least ten years of service within the Nevada System of Higher Education.
Kim, the Southwest Gas Professor of Energy and Matter in the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering, is a leading researcher in a broad spectrum of energy systems and active materials and sensors. He often finds an important link between his research results and real world applications as reflected by his patents and/or pending patents on the development of unique artificial muscle, polymer sensors for catheters, functional coatings for condensers, and enhanced heat-dissipating plate device for automobile headlamps.
Through his work with UNLV's Active Materials and Smart Living (AMSL) Laboratory, Kim is developing battery systems that use unique materials as part of an electrochemical cell for energy conversion. The device could offer several advantages over conventional batteries: a longer cycle life and unlimited scalability of energy capacity. Kim is also developing artificial muscle systems for marine and space use.
"Kim has brought prestige to the College of Engineering through his groundbreaking and innovative research, international collaborations and stellar industry partnerships," said College of Engineering Dean Rama Venkat. "He is an integral member of the engineering community and we are proud to offer our students the opportunity to study under his guidance."
His research has earned funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, private companies, and other organizations. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has authored or co-authored more than 330 technical publications. He received his Ph.D. and master's degrees from Arizona State University, and his bachelor's degree from Yonsei University of South Korea.
Recipients must be nominated for this honor, which carries a $5,000 stipend. Kim is the first researcher from UNLV to win the award since Warren Burggren in 1997.