On April 1, 2015, I was appointed director of the CNT-Application Research Center. The CNT-Application Research Center is the third research center established at AIST focusing on carbon nanotube (CNT) research, which is preceded by the Research Center for Advanced Carbon Materials (2000 to 2007) and the Nanotube Research Center (2007 to 2015). The director of the previous two research centers was Prof. Sumio Iijima, who is widely regarded as the discoverer of CNT and a recipient of Japan’s Order of Culture Award. Young researchers came to work for Prof. Iijima, one of the great scientists of our time, and subsequently produced a number of world-leading research results, including the super-growth synthesis method, the enhanced direct injection pyrolytic synthesis (e-DIPS) method, single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) mass production technologies, graphene synthesis technology, CNT characterization techniques, CNT/copper composites, and the atomic level characterization of CNTs by high-resolution electron microscopy and specroscopy. As a result, nanocarbon research at AIST expanded and became known worldwide.
However, over this time, the world-wide nature of CNT and nanotechnology research evolved dramatically with the increased requirement for researchers to produce results to prove the promise of CNTs for technology and society. AIST has clearly stated its policy as an institute to endeavor to bridge technology with industry. Reflecting these trends both within and outside AIST, the third research center is responsible for identifying and developing technologies related to carbon nanotubes toward practical application - a directive explicitly expressed in its name: the CNT-Application Research Center, the first time in the history of AIST that ‘application’ has been included in the name of a research unit. At the CNT-Application Research Center, we are determined to take full advantage of the technologies we have been developing to solve problems and address concerns faced by industry. We are also committed to actively supporting their research and development efforts, so that research in CNT application will be invigorated in Japan and lead to a generation of new CNT industries originating in the country.
I seek, in every way possible, to use the results of our research toward the benefit of our world. From experience, I am well aware that sustained and extraordinary efforts, along with unrelenting and unwavering determination, are indispensable to improving, by even a minuscule amount, this world. The CNT-Application Research Center has been designed according to this principle, and I am resolved to do my best to fulfill the duties as its director.
In the years to come, I feel that science and technology will be ever more required to translate their output into societal benefit. This research center will be the first to seriously respond to such timely demands. I deeply hope that its activities will lead to the generation of new CNT industries emerging from Japan and will become a model for future science and technology development.
CNT-Application Research Center Dr. Kenji HATA