Materials Synthesis

materialssynthesis1The minimum unit of a substance is the “molecule,” which is formed by combining and linking “atoms.” In creating innovative materials, how rationally and efficiently such molecules are designed and synthesized in keeping with the intended applications of the resulting materials is extremely important. To create new substances or materials based on hierarchical principles, it is necessary to advance the following: materials design and precision syntheses, starting from the molecular level; and function conversion and function upgrading based on conversion in terms of chemical structures and on molecular organization. To this end, a bottom-up approach in which processes progress from atoms and molecules toward materials having advanced functions and performance is conducted in this master’s course.
The mastery of design and syntheses of organic molecules in this course is divided into the study of the creation of molecular functional materials and the study of high-order functions and complex functions. Research and development in these two areas is closely coordinated. The 3 main goals of this master’ s course are to create molecular functional materials, state-of-the-art macromolecular materials and high performance fibrous materials that demonstrate high-order functions and complex functions.
To create molecular functional materials for use in pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, luminescent materials, liquid crystalline molecules, surface-active substances, fiber modifying agents, and fiber processing auxiliary agents, students must first master foundational, practical applications of synthetic organic chemistry, chiral molecular synthetic chemistry, hetero-molecular elemental chemistry, transition metal catalytic chemistry, biomimetic synthetic chemistry, and related chemical fields.
For the creation of state-of-the-art macromolecular materials and high performance fibrous materials, on the other hand, a strong foundation is first required in macromolecular synthetic chemistry, precision polymerization chemistry, molecular self-assembly and nanochemistry , supramolecular chemistry, high performance separating materials studies, and related chemical fields.
Furthermore, in this master’ s course, students conduct pioneering research into elemental hybrid materials and organic / inorganic hybrid materials in sizes ranging from the nanoscale to the microscale. Research investigates a large variety of elements: from the more basic elements as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen to such elements as fluorine, silicon, sulfur, phosphorus and arsenic. Substances subjected to research and development, also range widely, from low molecular weight to macromolecular compounds. Complex approaches are developed to enable the design and synthesis of materials which make full use of novel methodologies and combined multiple synthetic techniques.


Laboratory Information

Function-oriented Synthetic Chemistry laboratory Polymer Organic Chemistry laboratory
Synthetic organic chemistry is the core technology for creating biomolecules and other functional organic molecules. Research in synthetic organic chemistry can be broadly divided into two areas: what to make, and how to make it. We conduct research from both of these perspectives and have three major areas of research:
・Development of synthetic organic reactions to effectively synthesize the target molecules, and the development of reactants and synthesis strategies (development of cross-coupling reactions using transition metal catalysts and synthesis reactions leveraging hetero-element characteristics);
・Design, synthesis and evaluation of organic molecules with biological and material functions, and construction of function expression theories (effective synthesis of biologically-active molecules; development of luminescent, semi-conductor and solar cell pigmentation materials, etc.); and
・Design and synthesis of molecules that can mimic biomolecule functions and use of molecular recognition for the construction of highly controlled self-organizing supramolecules.
We are involved in two major areas of research.
The first area is research into applications that use the molecular recognition effect from the interaction between organic compounds for the separation of mixtures. Beginning with the preparation of separation media designed based on this concept, we analyze compound structure and characteristics, attempt to exceed existing material functionality as much as possible, and look for biological and environmental applications. We are currently developing a system to simultaneously separate and detect thousands of different substances in an attempt to separate and determine the structure of peptides, proteins and carbohydrate chains, to increase the speed of separation and structure determination, as well as to improve functionality.
The other major area is research into the development of new polymers and biodegradation materials that can be synthesized from recyclable resources.
The recyclable resource we are focusing on is pyruvic acid, and we are progressing, from core research through to applications, to develop new polymers with this resource that are endowed with superior functionality.
Synthetic Molecular Chemistry laboratory Organofluorine Chemistry laboratory
Synthetic organic reactions are the foundations of manufacturing and are essential to the manufacture of organic materials, medicines and agricultural chemicals. In this field of research we research the design, synthesis, structural analysis and evaluation of highly-functional catalysts and new reaction environments, with the aim of developing effective and highly selective next-generation synthetic organic reactions. Some of the main research tasks that have been identified are: developmental research in asymmetrical synthesis using chiral Lewis acid catalysts which can create large amounts of optically active material from asymmetric sources; development of convergent reaction of carbon skeleton construction using the characteristics of organometallic compound reactions; synthesis of water-soluble capsule molecules and development of synthetic organic reactions in water within the capsule, which are anticipated to be a next-generation organic synthesis method with reduced environmental impact; and the use of multiple intermolecular interactions to control electron transfer reactions. Below are some of the benefits gained by adding fluorine atoms to organic molecules: increased chemical, heat and weather resistance; improved water and oil repellency and resistance to dirt; reducing the refractive index; improved non-adherency; and increased medicine efficacy and options. Due to these benefits, fluorine compounds have been used in such applications as medicines, agricultural chemicals, liquid crystal materials, and more recently, in fuel cell electrolyte membranes. In this field we are progressing with the following developmental research for such new high value-added fluorine compounds.
(1) Identifying fluoroalkene and alkyne reactivity and related applications: we are working on the development of methods to synthesize highly regio- and stereoselective fluorine-containing alkynes, which are important as functional materials, by utilizing reactions between trifluoroalkene derivates and various metal reagents, and through hydrometallization or carbometallization reactions of fluorine-containing alkynes;
(2) Development of methods to construct fluoroalkyl-based asymmetrical carbon structures: with potential applications in liquid crystal materials and biologically active substances in mind, we research highly stereoselective synthesis methods for compounds with fluoroalkyl-based asymmetric centers using asymmetric aldol reactions with fluorine-containing enolates, Reformatsky reactions, asymmetric conjugate addition reactions using chiral catalysts, and asymmetric formic acid reduction reactions.
Functional Polymeric Materials laboratory Precision Organic Materials Chemistry laboratory
Polymers are essential materials that help form the foundation of modern society. In this field we carry out the following activities: synthesis and application of reactive oligomers through chain polymerization; construction of uniquely structured polymers by adding combinations of macromonomers, macro-initiators and telechelic polymers to living anionic polymerization and living radical polymerization; studies of the impact of branch structure, cyclic structure and other unique structures on polymer molecular characteristics, self-organizing structures and bulk properties; increasing performance and functionality through inorganic fine particle surface modification and controlling the dispersion of inorganic fine particles in the polymer matrix; surface active polymer and amphipathic polymer molecular design; metallic surface control with organic matter and control and functionality of organic-metallic interface; and research on the characteristics and applications of pi-conjugated polymers. The hope for the research above is that our university can become a source of valuable information that has an impact around the world. In this field we conduct research on the precision design of functional polymer materials and functional molecular aggregates. To create new polymer materials with superior functionality, we utilize precision polymerization where the structural factors of the polymer molecules, such as molecular weight, molecular weight distribution and the types and alignments of functional groups, are closely controlled to actually synthesize these polymers, and we then investigate in detail the relationship between molecule structure and functional characteristics. We then cascade this knowledge into more appropriate molecular design of functional organic materials. Furthermore, there is the expectation that making molecular aggregates of functional organic materials can enhance their functionality, by either revealing new functionality, or by amplifying existing functionality. We therefore conduct research concerning the precision design of the nano-size molecular components, the control of the higher order structures of these molecular aggregates, and on their functional control.
Interface Material Chemistry laboratory Applied Complex Materials Chemistry laboratory
Interface materials are active in the micro-sized world between two materials that do not combine with each other, and control the characteristics of the whole substance.
In this field, we use synthetic organic chemistry and interface chemistry to conduct research into the organic materials active in these interface regions. Using synthetic organic chemistry, we synthesize surfactants with new types of structures, such as fluorine-containing surfactants, gemini surfactants, bicephalic surfactants, surfactants with a reactive group, surfactants with pigment structures and polymer surfactants, and utilize a number of interface analysis methodologies to understand the relationship between surfactant structure and properties, and also target real life applications of the research performed. We also conduct research by targeting the solid/gas or solid/liquid interfaces, and align the interface function molecules on the solid surface (interface) at the molecular level to control the functionality.
We also conduct multi-faceted research on the various functions (phenomena) displayed by interface materials.
In this field of research we use synthetic organic chemistry as a foundation, and actively introduce polymer and inorganic synthesis methods to explore organic/inorganic compounds and complexes, as well as compound nano materials. To develop organic materials that are innovative in the broadest sense, we need chemical researchers who are aware of the need to have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, that is, understanding chemical reactions and interactions and knowing how to control them. In this field of research we develop creative new functional molecules and materials by focusing on the fundamental ways of electron transfer, which are what controls chemical reactions and interactions like those present at the complex formation that occurs on the interface between organic and inorganic matter. We are not just focused on controlling functional molecule structure, but also on controlling the layered structure down at the molecular level of complexes formed by electron transfer.