Dr. Seiji Shinkai
Professor,Sojo University
Professor Emeritus,Kyushu University
When grasping phenomena in my casual life, I cannot adapt myself to such a way to grasp them from a frontal side straightly. I like to watch them from various different angles and to find out the essence which is invisible from the frontal angle. When I admire pictures and sculptures in Italy, I have never been satisfied with such a simple way to verify the presence of pictures and sculptures which I once saw in textbooks. By observing them from various angles, I try to understand intention of producers in my own manner.
In general, the substance can be classified into three phases, i.e., the vapor phase, the liquid phase, and the solid phase: among them, the solid phase is more suitable for the design of functional materials. In order to achieve the “innovation” which has been raised as one of recent strategic research targets, it becomes necessary to “solidify” gas and liquid. One can consider that the interface can play an important role in this solidification process. The goal of this Research Area is to gain cross-boundary knowledge of nano-interface functions through the combination of research fields that address interfaces between heterogeneous materials and substances in different state at the nanoscale level. Based on such knowledge, the studies will also be intended to develop innovative materials, devices and technologies with dramatically advanced functions through theoretical analyses and nanoscale structural control. However, when the keyword “nano-interface” is defined in a narrow sense, this strategic research sector would not make constructive expansion from the starting point. I rather consider that to define it in a broad sense would lead to more productive and creative issues.
The first point is not to limit the image of “nano-interface” to the morphology bearing two-dimensional configuration from a macroscopic viewpoint. Namely, this strategic research sector would not limit to a macroscopic two-dimensional boundary but accept “nano-interfaces” created by zero-dimensional (nano-particles, vesicles, cell surfaces, etc.), one-dimensional (nano-tubes, molecule-assembled nano-fibers, etc.), and three-dimensional (nano-pore crystal, etc.) superstructures, which would, in a higher probability, lead to unexpected findings and serendipitic breakthroughs. The second point is related to the material to be used: in addition to hard materials such as metals and particles, soft materials such as polymers, molecular assemblies, gels, bio-originated products, etc. can be utilized as resources to construct the novel “nano-interfaces”. I also expect that the “nano-interfaces” provided by organic-inorganic hybrid materials have a big future potential and that someone may design a novel “nano-interface” showing a “fluctuation” phenomenon.
Lastly, I am not a retired researcher who can regard things philosophically, but still a university professor who is actively serving for research and student education. I therefore hope to observe things with the same glance level as the CREST researchers and discuss things with the same brain circuit. This is my philosophy to lead the CREST researchers who join this strategic research sector