Dr. Tae-Youl Choi Receives Research Grant GOALI: NSF EFRI

Tae Youl Choi
Tae-Youl Choi, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, recently received tenure for his advances in research and dedication to the department. Having joined the department in 2006, Choi was one of four founding faculty members and has watched the department and university grow into the Tier I research institution it is now. “Watching the department grow into what it is today has been a fascinating and unique experience,” said Choi. “When I was in graduate school prior to coming here, I was challenged to ‘think unthinkable,’ and it’s something I not only see the department doing but also try to incorporate into the research I do here at UNT.”

Choi, in collaboration with Arup Neogi, UNT Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Physics and lead principal investigator, was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study how engineering can alter the rules and laws of physics. The team plans to combine engineering and physics to develop next-generation ultrasonic and encryption devices.

Choi’s primary research interests at the university, however, focus on heat transfer and thermal engineering, with a recent shift toward more emerging technology, including laser engineering and biotechnology. In particular, Choi is researching the mechanical properties of hydrogels and phononic crystals for phononic filters and lenses in addition to researching the thermal properties of 1, 2 and 3-D materials, including thermal conductivity. ”Thermal conductivity measurements are useful in thermal management in semiconductor devices,” said Choi. “However, it may also be possible to use thermal conductivity in other applications, such as on biological cells and tissues to detect cancer.”

It’s that possibility that’s led to a new interest for Choi: investigating and eventually developing cancer detection methods through the use of thermal, mechanical and biological characterization technologies. “I am naturally interested in how things are working and what make up the working principles. I believe that one should do what he or she can do best and likes,” he said. “Engineering is something that I can do best and really like.” Choi graduated from UC Berkley’s Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2011.