FIRST Development and Application of an Atomic-resolution Holography Electron Microscope

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Introduction of Principal Investigator

Dr. Akira Tonomura PRIFILE

In 1965, Akira Tonomura graduated from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, The University of Tokyo and joined the Central Research Laboratory of Hitachi, Ltd., where he later attained the title "Fellow" in 1999. In 2000, he joined the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the United States as a foreign member. In 2001, he became the group director of the Single Quantum Dynamics Research Group at RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research). In 2005, he took on the position of principal investigator of the Electron Holography Unit of the Initial Research Project at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). In 2007, he became a member of the Japan Academy and is presently active in the organization.
In 1978, after 10 years of research, he completed development of a 100-kilovolt (100 kV) field-emission holography electron microscope and, for the first time in the world, succeeded in observing lines of magnetic force.
In 1986, he experimentally verified the Aharonov-Bohm (AB) effect, an amazing phenomenon in which "electrons are affected by electric or magnetic fields even when not coming in contact with them," and settled a long, heated dispute among physicists around the world. The experiment proved that vector potential, considered in classic theory as mathematical quantity, is really a physical quantity more fundamental than electric or magnetic fields.
In 1989, his work led to the direct observation of vortex (flux quantum) dynamics in superconductors, such as vortices flowing like a river in a superconductor and a pair annihilation of vortices and anti-vortices. Furthermore, it became possible to directly observe the microscopic mechanism of vortex pinning, which is required to maintain a superconducting state.
In 2000, 17 years after its conceptualization, development of the 1-million-volt (1 MV) holography electron microscope was completed, and the world’s highest lattice resolution of 0.5Å (50 pm) was realized. This microscope is now used to directly observe vortex behavior inside high-temperature superconductors and microscopic magnetic behavior inside magnetic storage media and spintronic devices.

Features Dr. Akira Tonomura talking about his tenacious mind to be the world's best.