Innovative Materials

Strides Toward Innovative Material Development

We place the focus of our education and research on the creation of innovative materials with global-standard performance and function at a practical level. By achieving further advanced integration of a wide variety of materials, ranging from organic and inorganic materials to hybrid materials, we realize innovation in optical materials, photo-electronics materials, separation materials, high-temperature materials and more.


Educational Program

To help students consolidate the basis for the creation of highly functional and hybridized materials, we provide education in the fields of solid-state polymers engineering, inorganic materials science, physical chemistry for materials and optical engineering. In other words, based on their undergraduate-level physical chemistry, polymeric material science, solid state chemistry, material design and other knowledge, students strive to understand the mechanisms of functional expressions of photo-electronics materials, highly functional fiber materials, functional ceramic materials and more. They also develop the ability to employ their understanding in the creation of new materials and the fundamental abilities required to create practical materials.

Our lectures are divided into the five categories of physical chemistry, polymeric material science, inorganic materials science, material design and applied chemistry. Added to these are research and practica, through which students come to understand scientific principles and obtain skills and methods. Furthermore, we are providing students with an increasing number of off-campus presentation opportunities to enable judgement and presentation skill improvements.

Laboratory Information

Functional Polymer Design Polymer Photonics
This laboratory develops new functionalities and reactivities of polymer materials at an internationally competitive level. We focus on: (1) Novel photo-functionalities: research on next-generation optical devices with dynamic holograms and nanostructures fabricated by two-photon excitation. (2) Novel functional fibers: Research on radiation-sensitive fibers using chromic dyes and oil-water separation membranes utilizing the characteristics of nanofibers. (3) Polymer reaction: Research on the degradation mechanism analysis and the life prolongation of polymer material for the realization of a sustainable society. In each area, students are independently engaged in a wide range of research activities, including the synthesis, evaluation and application of new polymeric materials, as well as joint research with companies to contribute to society and polymer industry needs. Students receive guidance which furthers their research understanding and enables them to solve academic problems. They also gain experience writing research papers and giving academic presentations at national and international conferences.

Research themes: Novel Photo-functional polymers, Novel functional fibers, Polymer sustainability, Functionalization by polymer reaction
Keywords:Organic photorefractive materials/Photofabrication /Novel functional fibers/Photochromism/Sustainability /Degradation analysis/Polymer reaction/Functionalization
We research the mechanism and control of photo- electronic functions by examining the photophysical and photochemical processes of organic and polymer materials. The properties and functionality of materials are determined not only by the chemical structure of each component molecule, but also by its aggregate structures, such as the molecular orientation and arrangement at the nano and micro scale. To control the aggregate structures and the microenvironments of functional molecules, we synthesize various block copolymers, amphiphilic polymer micelles, and temperature-responsive polymers containing functional molecules using living polymerization and other methods. Our focus has recently expanded to supramolecular systems containing metal complexes. We evaluate the properties of the material solutions, solid aggregates, nanoparticles, and single molecules using time-resolved laser spectroscopy, a confocal fluorescence microscope, an atomic force microscope, and dynamic light scattering. We aim to develop novel photo-electronic functional materials.

Research themes: Exploration of organic photo-functional materials and characterization of their physicochemical properties
Functional Organic Material Chemistry Polymer Physics
Our objective is to develop innovative materials with advanced functionality based on organic synthetic chemistry technology that enables molecular structures to be designed with a high degree of precision. Specifically, we develop:
(1) Highly functional nanomaterials through the precision design of layered structures: Functional molecular groups form precisely arranged advanced layered structures within an organism. Activity coordinated between these structures produces advanced and complex functions. Our laboratory is developing a method to control molecular arrangement in the nano-spaces inside a material and based on the layered structures, to create materials with advanced functionality.
(2) High-performance gas separation membranes: The separation of gases by polymeric membranes has attracted remarkable attention for several decades. Compared to conventional separation processes, membrane-based gas separation is advantageous because of its low capital and operating costs, high energy efficiency, and ease of operation. We expect to apply the use of novel gas separation membranes developed in our laboratory to carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), biogas purification, and other needs.

Research themes: Fabrication of highly functionalized nanomaterials through precise molecular design
Preparation of novel gas separation membranes
Keywords: Organic syntheses/Nanomaterials/Photoenergy conversion/Gas separation membranes/Organic-inorganic hybrids
To fabricate high-performance devices with superior photoelectric properties, we produce novel organic polymer semiconductor materials and grow their crystal samples. These crystals are used to develop devices with novel structures showing remarkable properties. We use a range of organic materials, mainly focusing on molecules called thiophene/phenylene co-oligomers, which are composed of combinations of thiophene and benzene rings. While proceeding with research for developing an organic semiconductor laser, we evaluate the fundamental properties of organic materials and their crystals, such as career mobilities, refractive indices, laser oscillations, and crystallographic structures. Unique properties of organic crystals have drawn the attention of domestic and international researchers. Recently, we have begun to apply our material and crystal findings to photovoltaic cell use.

Research themes: Crystal growth of organic semiconductors
Development of innovative optoelectronic devices using organic crystals
Keywords: Organic semiconductors/Crystal growth/Light emission properties/Electrical properties/Device development
Physical Chemistry of Excited Molecules High-temperature Materials
Understanding the flow of optical energy, such as the relaxation process in which excited molecules produced by light absorption lose their energy, is essential to the study of the optical response of materials and applied technologies that use photochemical reactions and charge generation through light energy. Our laboratory focuses on the behavior of excited molecules and excited energy relaxation in organic nanoparticles, physicochemical phenomena related to high-intensity laser irradiation, the development of methods to measure chemical reaction intermediates, and their measurement. Particular emphasis is placed on research on optical physicochemical processes, such as fluorescence mechanisms of radical ions in the excited state, the movement of protons in and between excited molecules, and physicochemical phenomena from high temperatures and pressures related to laser-induced plasma in liquids and shockwaves.

Research themes: Applications of laser chemistry and laser spectroscopy related excited molecular states
Keywords: Excited state dynamics/Photochemical reaction intermediates/Laser applications
Our laboratory is concerned with the evaluation and the synthesis of ceramic materials. We focus on: 1) the measurement and analysis of mechanical properties and 2) the synthesis of ceramics using novel processes. In the first area, we study fracture mechanisms not only in monolithic ceramics, but also in composites and porous materials by investigating their fracture toughness, fracture energy, and other properties. We also have an interest in the influence of microstructures on mechanical properties. In the second area, we aim to develop energy-saving and environmentally friendly materials by using sol-gel techniques, mechanochemical phenomena, self-combustion sintering and other methods. One of our recent studies involves using a geopolymer technique to synthesize environmentally friendly materials such as zeolite and porous materials from rice husk waste. In our research, we investigate not only advanced ceramics, but also refractory materials, soil walls, and traditional ceramics such as porcelain and roof tiles. These traditional ceramics are investigated not as applied art, but from the perspective of cutting-edge science.

Research themes: Structural control and mechanical properties of ceramic materials/Development of functional materials by using waste
Keywords: Ceramics/Structural control/Fracture toughness/Evaluation of mechanical properties/Zeolite
Amorphous Technology Inorganic Materials Physical Chemistry
Our laboratory deals with inorganic solid materials. Specifically, we look at glass/amorphous materials and the surfaces and nano-structures of solid bodies. Research is conducted on easily fabricated inorganic glass/amorphous materials, ways to maintain their transparency over a wide range of wavelengths, and their chemical and environmental stability. With these excellent properties, they are indispensable for day-to-day life as well as state-of-the-art technology. We conduct basic research to understand these properties of glass at the atomic and molecular level and develop functional glass with innovative functions. In research on the surface and nano-structures of solid bodies, with the aim of discovering new functions of solid surfaces and nano-sized substances, high resolution power enables us to observe the surface structure of metals, semiconductors and insulating materials that are induced by the absorption of atoms and molecules and atmospheric control, and also to measure their properties. In these research activities, we mainly use scanning probe microscopies (scanning tunneling microscopy, non-contact atomic force microscopy).

Research themes: Discovery of new functions of solid surfaces and the fabrication of functional glass materials
Keywords: Functional glass materials/Amorphous materials/Solid surfaces/Scanning probe microscopies/Nanostructures
In this research field, we are studying the manufacturing process and material development of inorganic materials from the viewpoint of physical chemistry. In particular, we are focusing on the melting process at high temperatures in glass production. In this process, the redox reaction of the glass components and the erosion reaction of the refractory by the glass melt have a great influence on the quality of the glass product, so understanding of the reaction process is extremely important. Crystallization of glass that occurs at high temperatures is a phenomenon that must be avoided as a glass material. On the other hand, it is possible to impart properties that cannot be obtained with glass through crystallization. We aim to develop new materials by understanding the various phenomena that occur at high temperatures.

Research themes: Creation of glasses as functional materials using melting and crystallization processes
Fine Particle and Powder Engineering Applied Quantum Chemistry to design Nanomaterials
Our laboratory produces granular materials and ceramics to observe their microstructures and measure their properties. We study the factors (material factors and process factors) that affect the microstructures and properties of the ceramics we produce. The aim of our research is to develop a process (material design) to control these factors in producing ceramic materials with specific properties, with a focus on the following themes:
(1) Synthesis and evaluation of ceramics for water purification
(2) Development of an environmentally friendly ceramic manufacturing process
(3) Synthesis and evaluation of functional ceramic powders and porous ceramics
(4) A materials science approach to traditional ceramic powder processing

Research themes: Water purification by ceramics using various industrial wastes effectively
Keywords: Ceramic material science/Water purification/Waste/Phosphorus removal
Our laboratory utilizes quantum chemistry approaches to design functionalized nanomaterials. Molecular orbital theory and density functional theory calculations, based on quantum theory, are performed to investigate chemical reactions and properties of materials at the atomic and molecular level for the purpose of obtaining structure-function relationships in nanomaterials. Finally, our laboratory proposes a strategy to construct novel functional nanomaterials, based on ideas obtained from the quantum chemistry calculations. In particular, our laboratory has focused on chemical behaviors occurring inside nanometer-scaled space in carbon nanotubes and zeolite catalysts.

Research themes: Application of Quantum Chemistry Calculations to Design Functionalized Nano-scaled Carbon Materials
Computational Chemical Approaches to Design Bio-mimicking Catalysts
Keywords: Quantum Chemistry Calculations/Nano chemistry/Electronic Properties/Carbon Nanotubes/Catalysts/Potential energy surfaces/Transition State/Metal-containing Zeolites