Link to Laboratory HPs
In NSL, 3 laboratories run with educating master and doctor course students as the collaborative courses such as Depts. of Physics and Chemistry, Grad. School of Science, Dept. of Applied Physics, Grad. School of Engineering and Dept. of Advanced Materials Science, School of Frontier Science, UTokyo.
Soft matter undergoes various transitions in response to a slight change of an environmental variable. We investigate the relationship of the structure and dynamics of soft matter, such as polymer gels, nanoemulsion, and micelles. The aims of our research are systematization of “molecular-bond correlated systems”. Concurrently, we explore various applications of soft matter on the basis of the physics of soft matter. Recently, we are developing various types of super-tough gels on the basis of findings on the structure-property relationship unveiled by neutron scattering.
Nano-order structure investigations and studies on dynamics of soft matter are carried out with state-of-the-art equipments, SANS-U, a small-angle neutron scattering instrument (upgraded in 2010). Other techniques, such as dynamic/static light scattering, microscopy, mechanical/thermal analyses, and rheological studies, are also employed if necessary. Current interests cover (1) inhomogeneities in polymer gels, (2) structural characterization and studies on deformation mechanisms of high-performance polymer gels, (3) rheo-SANS of nanoemulsion and micelles, and (4) development of ion-gel and structural analyses.
We are studying chemical physics of complex condensed matters, especially glasses and supercooled liquids, water and related materials, ionic liquids, hydrogen storage solids and single molecule magnets (SMMs). Glass transition is a mysterious phenomenon in which liquids solidify without structural change. This is one of big and long-standing issues in physics. Water, which is the most familiar material for us, exhibits various unique phenomena caused by hydrogen bonds. Ionic liquids have many interesting properties originating from competing electrostatic and van der Waals interactions. Hydrogen in solids exhibits classical and/or quantum (tunneling) diffusion dependently on potential energy surfaces. SMMs are significant not only for applications but also for basic physical properties such as quantum effects on magnetization reversal. These substances are investigated from neutron scattering, x-ray diffraction, heat capacity, and dielectric measurements. Our aim is to find simple (?) rules involved in complex systems from the three different points of view, i.e., structure, dynamics, and thermodynamic.
One of the research goals in our group is to find a novel quantum phenomenon and to reveal its mechanism in low-dimensional spin magnets and frustrated magnets. Strong quantum fluctuation or geometrical frustration disturbs the development of trivial magnetic states and induces a non-trivial quantum state. Furthermore such a state is sensitive to a small perturbation and, thus, the area is frontier of quantum phenomena. Our research topic includes spin liquid, RVB, Cuboc structure, skyrmion lattice, etc. Another goal is to observe a new magnetoelectric effect in multiferroic compounds and/or relaxor magnets. Particularly we focus on the microscopic mechanism in the system where the macroscopic thermodynamic quantities are controlled by non-conjugate field. Figure is an example of our study identifying the existence of antiferronematic interaction in a multiferroic compound by combination of neutron scattering technique and magnetization measurement.