Kyushu University@Center for Future ChemistryKyushu University@Center for Future Chemistry

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Division of Future Information Substances (Ogo Laboratory)
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The Bio-inspired Chemistry Division develops green chemistry with water as its medium, and is called, Aqueous Green Chemistry. This new division was started by Dr. Seiji Ogo after he arrived from Osaka University to assume the post of Professor of Chemistry in October 2005, while Dr. Ryosuke Harada also assumed the post of Assistant Professor in November 2005.
Conventional chemical engineering and chemical industries have been developed with oil as their basic energy source. In view of the depletion of oil resources for chemical raw materials and energy sources, we have the need to establish future chemical engineering and chemical industries not based on petrochemistry, but on new chemical technologies. By using water as its medium, life operates various biochemical cycles, e.g., nitrogen and carbon cycles, for the biosynthesis of various substances, by activating gaseous small molecules such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide at normal temperatures and pressures, and using them as synthons for chemical reactions. This research division is creating "aqueous green chemistry" modeled after an ecosystem that is based on the biologically relevant solvent, water.
As its research strategy, the division considers the pH of water as an important parameter, and is developing pH sensitive molecular catalysts that effect different catalytic molecular functions. By leading the world in conducting aqueous catalytic reactions based on pH sensitive molecular catalysts, such as aqueous H2 activation, aqueous N2 fixation, aqueous CO2 fixation, and aqueous polymerization, this division aims to develop new chemical technology that utilizes water in novel ways.
Since the inception of the Haber-Bosch process in 1913, for the synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen molecules and hydrogen molecules at high temperatures and pressures, this process has undergone various developments and improvements. However, even after 100 years of development, extreme conditions of high temperatures and pressures are still required. Therefore, we are making a concerted effort to develop nitrogen fixation in water at normal temperatures and pressures, that does not utilize organic solvents, which are hazardous and exhaustible resources. Our specific research strategy is to develop water-soluble molecular catalysts that can convert nitrogen molecules into ammonia in water, by using hydrogen molecules as anelectron source, and water molecules as a proton source.
Division of Optical Functional Materials (Adachi Laboratory)
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With the aim of developing state-of-the-art organic optical semiconductor devices, the Optical Functional Materials Division conducts comprehensive research and development of organic optical electronics ranging from the synthesis of organic semiconductor materials to the development of devices and the clarification of properties.
At present, in the field of research for organic optical electronics, research and development has been rapidly conducted on a global scale with the aim of creating new soft electronics based on the bottom-up method for developing devices through the accumulation of organic molecules in contrast to silicon devices that have been increasingly miniaturized based on the top-down method. While giving first priority to the creation of academic fields for organic optical electronics, Adachi Laboratory will also promote research and development aiming at putting organic devices to practical use.
Through active promotion of joint research with private companies in Japan and overseas and the promotion of research and development with a view to practical application, the laboratory aims to create an organic device research base in the Center for Future Chemistry. Thus, the laboratory aims at developing organic optical electronic industries in the Fukuoka area.The laboratory has also another major mission to foster internationally-minded researchers for organic optical semiconductor devices. Due to practical application of organic LED, the field of research on organic optical electronics has greatly developed. However, numerous unclear points remain in the operation mechanism of organic optical devices. Therefore, in order to realize large-scale development of organic optical semiconductor devices, it is an urgent task to establish organic optical semiconductor device physics by using the possible clarification of operation mechanisms of organic LED that has been put to practical use as the breakthrough.
This division aims at creating new photonics devices by clarifying the charge-injection process in organic hetero-interfaces, the charge transport and recombination process in organic solid thin films, and elementary steps for the exciton formation and deactivation process and by controlling the exciton process in high excitation density. Moreover, as next-generation organic photonics devices, the division will also make efforts to create high-performance and high value-added organic transistors, organic solar cells, organic memory, and organic laser diodes. And through the accumulation of these individual devices, the division aims at opening a new frontier in semiconductor fields that conventional silicon technology has failed to realize, such as the realization of totally organic electronic circuits and flexible electronic devices.
The division also has another major research goal to explore the field of new bio photonics through the combination of bio-molecules and photoelectric technology based on research on organic devices.
Division of Translational Research
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(Ogawa Laboratory)
The Translational Research Division conducts research on the system to immediately put to practical use and industrialize new materials and technological seeds obtained through "Functional Innovation of Molecular Informatics," "future information substances research," and "optical functional materials research." Masashi Ogawa came from Fuji Film Co., Ltd. to assume the post of full-time professor in this division of the Center for Future Chemistry in April 2005. Taking advantage of his experience in elemental research, commercialization research, and being in charge of corporation business, Ogawa has started leading the world in conducting translational research aiming at practical application and the creation of new industries.
The laboratory will promote the fusion and collaboration between the needs in the fields of life science, nanotechnology material, the environment, energy, information, and light and communication and the technology seeds based on nanotechnology. With the promotion of cooperation between universities and companies by deepening close mutual understanding with development engineers belonging to companies from the perspective of manufacturing, the laboratory aims at developing new technologies required for practical application and industrialization. The laboratory also aims at playing a central role in promoting the organic integration of the needs of companies and the seeds of universities. For that purpose, the laboratory will conduct research and promote human resources development with the aim of establishing the intellectual information system for linking market needs and information to chemical research as well as the system for promoting cooperation with companies regarding the obtained research results.
Moreover, in cooperation with organizations in Asia, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, and Saga University Synchrotron Light Application Center, the laboratory will promote social contribution such as the promotion of intellectual cooperation, creation of new industries, and human resources development.
For creating new industries, the laboratory will respond to a variety of company needs and build strong relationships of mutual trust with the persons in charge of development in companies. In order to respond to such company needs, the laboratory will promote accurate coordination of technology seeds of Kyushu University in close cooperation with the Intellectual Property Management Center of Kyushu University. Thus, the laboratory aims at conducting comprehensive cooperation research and establishing industrial cooperation networks in the new era.
(Katayama Laboratory)
gBiotechnologyh is not a mere combination of engineering and medicinal or medical science, but an independent academic field itself. This laboratory aims to create new concepts and technologies concerning biotechnology through an engineering approach to the functions of cells and the living body.
The following projects are presently in progress to aim co-development of diagnosis and therapy of diseases; (1) novel drug delivery system (gD-RECSh) which can respond to cellular information and then release drugs and genes, (2) nanoparticles and nanomaterials for gene therapy, (3) functional gene delivery system using medical devices and methods such as stents, hydrodynamics, and so forth, (4) peptide microarray for genomic drug discovery, analysis of unknown gene function, and disease diagnosis, (5) the creation of intracellular signal exhaustive analysis concepts based on the peptide microarray, (6) the development of functional contrast agents for in vivo imaging of vascular inflammation sites and tumors.
It is necessary to develop biotechnologies that are ultimately applied to diagnosis and therapy of human. Therefore, this laboratory has established a system that enables researchers to conduct chemical synthesis, chemical analysis, and evaluation of the created technologies using cells and animals. Furthermore, in cooperation with several medical departments including the one at Kyushu University, the created technologies are clinically tested. With the laboratory staff involved in the clinical research, the laboratory can feed back the results to each step of its own research.
Because the laboratory members have different academic backgrounds, they can conduct research while having multifaceted discussions. In cooperation with other universities, pharmaceutical companies, and chemical companies thorough national and private projects, the laboratory conducts from fundamental research to application, and commercialization. The laboratory has already created (1) a system for expressing genes selectively in tumor tissue, (2) MRI contrast agents for specific imaging of inflammation sites, (3) a new biological index to express cellular conditions and functions as profiles of intracellular signals using peptide arrays. We will continue to pursue challenges to reveal the functions of life and to provide novel therapeutic systems through creating new concepts and technologies.
(Goto Laboratory)
The Translational Research Division conducts researches for realizing academic seeds. In order to specifically link biofunctions to industrial applications, the Goto Laboratory conducts researches jointly with various companies on 1) enzyme engineering, 2) protein engineering, 3) drug delivery system (DDS), 4) gene analysis, and 5) interfacial chemical engineering (See the figure).
In enzyme-engineering researches, the laboratory aims at functionalization of enzymes in nonaqueous media such as ionic liquids and its practical application. The laboratory has recently succeeded in creating a whole-cell biocatalyst to which a coenzyme regenerating system based on genetic engineering is incorporated.
In research on protein engineering, by using a unique enzyme called transglutaminase, the laboratory is creating artificial hybrid proteins and developing functional protein chips under a project initiated by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).
In research on DDS, the laboratory has developed a novel formulation method to solubilize hydrophilic pharmaceuticals into an oil phase. Based on the so-called solid-in-oil (S/O) method, the laboratory aims to place new oral/transdermal formulations for a variety of drugs including pharmaceutical macromolecules on the market through the joint research with the venture company, ASPION Co., Ltd.
Regarding gene analyses, based on the research project initiated by JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency), the laboratory has been engaged in genetic testing business in the wards and agricultural products.
In addition, the laboratory conducts research on specific fusion of vesicles and cells with DNA strand-introduced unique surfactants, protein refolding using molecular assembly, functional control of proteins based on the interaction of noble metals and protein, and utilization of biomass by-products as a noble metal adsorbent.
The laboratoryfs research has been conducted all as joint research with companies aiming at practical application. For new development of research, integration with different fields is essential. The Goto Laboratory is promoting joint researches with companies and others institutions. We would be grateful if we could contribute to the development of the Center for Future Chemistry.
(Imasaka Laboratory)
The Translational Research Division (molecule information system / applied analytical chemistry) develops laser and laser-based analytical instrumentation techniques. In April 2005, concurrently with the professorship at the Faculty of Engineering of Kyushu University, Totaro Imasaka assumed the post of professor, Takashi Kaneta assumed the post of associate professor, and Tomohiro Uchimura assumed the post of assistant professor, and they have since conducted research.
At present, the laboratory is conducting research on multicolor lasers based on two-color stimulated Raman phenomena called Rainbow Stars. These phenomena were accidentally discovered in this laboratory, and can be used for rainbow-colored laser displays and the generation of ultrashort optical pulse. For example, based on these phenomena, other universities have already generated the world's shortest optical pulse - 1.6fs. This laboratory has also realized the world's fastest optical modulation - 57THz.
The laboratory is also conducting research on new scientific measuring methods using various kinds of laser. For example, regarding supersonic molecular jet / multiphoton ionization mass spectrometry, the laboratory is conducting research on ultratrace analysis of dioxin discharged from incinerators. At the same time, the laboratory is also developing various kinds of laser required for such research.
Recently, the laboratory has developed a microscope system that combines the developed picosecond tunable laser and time-resolved fluorescence measurement, and has developed new method of evaluating the properties of cells by measuring the fluorescence lifetime image of pigment in cells.
Furthermore, the laboratory is conducting research on a variety of scientific measurements including those on ultramicroanalysis of protein and amino acid using capillary / microchip electrophoresis.
The laboratory is making efforts to commercialize technologies that it has researched and developed. Up until now, the laboratory has applied for nearly 40 patents, and aims to commercialize the technologies in cooperation with companies. For example, The "rainbow-colored laser" and "picosecond tunable laser" have already been marketed by companies. Moreover, the laboratory aims to establish university-launched ventures with the support from the promoter (Imasaka) and entrepreneurial staff (Kikuhiro Iwabori and Masako Fujita). For undergraduates, the professors in the laboratory shared a lecture on "industrial ethics and engineering management," while the laboratory provides education for starting ventures.
(Ishihara Laboratory)
a Ishihara-Matsumoto Laboratory in the Translational Research Division has the development of energy-related materials and environmental catalysts as its main research theme with the aim of realizing a sustainable society. At present, we humans spend a comfortable life by consuming a large quantity of fossil fuel. Considering global warming and the exhaustion of fossil resources, however, it is desired to shift our fossil fuel-dependent society to being a society based on sustainable energy, and, therefore, it is desired to develop new energy generation technologies for that purpose.
As the next-generation energy technologies to which catalyst technology is applied, Ishihara Laboratory is conducting research and development on:
1 Generation of hydrogen by high-efficiency water splitting photocatalysts
2 High-efficiency hydrogen manufacturing catalysts and processes at low temperature for a hydrogen society
3 High-efficiency power generation technologies based on solid oxide electrolyte type fuel cells
4 Development of new lithium-ion secondary batteries and high-energy density capacitors for electricity storage
5 Development of the catalyst process for synthesizing H2O2, an important oxidizer in green chemistry, directly from hydrogen
6 Development of a catalyst and sensor for combustion control for flue gas from engines, particularly diesel engines
7 Hydrogen separation membrane using high-temperature proton conductors
8 Development of various kinds of catalyst processes using oxide ion and proton conductors
9 Development of inorganic ion exchangers for selecting and removing hazardous ion from wastewater
At present, to establish an energy society friendly with the environment, a "hydrogen economy" is sought where fuel cells are used as the key technology. However, because hydrogen is not naturally generated, the development of an innovative method of obtaining hydrogen is desired. For the purpose of creating an ideal energy usage system, Ishihara-Matsumoto laboratory has been engaged in the development of new catalysts for synthesizing hydrogen from sunlight using dye-sensitized photocatalyst as well as the development of medium-temperature operating fuel cells that use oxide electrolyte and/or directly obtain electricity from the obtained hydrogen and natural gas. Up to now, the laboratory has found new materials such as LaGaO3 oxide that has top-performance oxygen ion conductivity and has succeeded in developing a 10kW SOFC system through business-academia collaboration. In addition, the laboratory has developed a high-capacity new battery that allows discharge and charge at new high rates that can be applied to electric cars and hybrid cars, and is studying the storage of generated electricity and the application to regenerative technology. Thus, the laboratory is opening a new frontier in developing technologies required for realizing an ideal energy-usage society systematically from the view point of chemistry.
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Center for Future Chemistry, Kyushu University