Research Center for Molecular Design


Many significant innovations in the 21st century are based on material science and its importance will be increasing in the future. On the other hand, it is rather difficult for researchers from various fields who possess enormous amounts of knowledge and technology to be "utility players" since current academic fields is segmented. Likewise, it is getting more difficult to independently create materials with new functions. Therefore, in order to overcome such obstacles, collaboration among researchers from multiple different fields is in high demand.

With "interdisciplinary" as a keyword, the main objective of the Research Center for Molecular Design is to create new functional materials and substances by providing a cross-disciplinary opportunity to promote collaboration among researchers from various fields inside and outside of the university.

Three foci in the creation of functional materials are as follows:

  1. Designing new functional materials
  2. Developing synthetic techniques and modification methods
  3. Analyzing and evaluating emergent functions

"Hybrid" is another essential keyword in the development of completely new highly functional materials.

On the basis of our research results in inorganic and organic material science, we are aiming to make this center a hub for the integration of "manufacturing" and "functional evaluation." We are also aiming at the creation of new fields to integrate expertise and various technologies so as to pursue our objectives.

Current major projects at the Research Center for Molecular Design includes:

Development of novel hybrid materials

  1. Design of luminescent materials by doping rare earth elements to ceramics such as titanium oxide and lanthanum oxide. In order to resolve some problems such as quenching, modification of the surface by organic functional groups is conducted.
  2. Surface modification of particles by means of organic substances increases high dispensability in the organic medium, which can be applied to the development of optical materials and biomaterials. In particular, particles modified by macromolecules have a great potential for applications to drug delivery systems (DDS) and bio-imaging. Hence, collaboration with medicinal engineering is expected.
  3. Design of hybrid materials adsorbing transitional metal. The dispensability and photocatalytic function enable the development of new catalysts, which are used in organic reactions.
  4. Development of substrates adsorbed with semiconductor nanoparticles, which are expected to be used as luminescent materials. In addition, dye adsorbed substrates are also useful in the development of dye-sensitization solar cells. We aim to develop new materials to be employed in the field of energy conversion.

Design and synthesis of functional organig molecules and creation of their functions

1. Application of liquid crystal molecules to micro motor drive source

In order to realize higher performance, mechanics researchers are collaborating with organic synthesis researchers, aiming to create new materials by synthesizing liquid crystal molecules designed on the basis of kinetic calculations and evaluations.

2. Development of high-performance nonlinear optical materials

Organic synthesis researchers and physical system researchers are collaborating to design, synthesize and evaluate new organic molecules that exhibit nonlinear optical properties.

3. Development of polymer compounds that emit light in response to external stimuli

Researchers in polymer chemistry and photochemistry are collaborating in the design, synthesis, and evaluation of polymer compounds.

4. Development of new dental materials

Work is under way to develop new, unconventional materials through the approaches involving monomer development, polymerization and filler addition.