Mitsuhiro Shibayama Group
Group of Solid State Physics (The Institute for Solid State Physics) [Neutron Science]
Explore every possibility with passion,
then you will find a way.
I was a kind of science maniac when I was a school kid. I spent a lot of time in chemical experiments, radio and/or telescope fabrication, tropical fish breeding, etc. I was dreaming to be a scientist. It was fortunate for me to meet several distinguished professors in my carrier. They enthusiastically introduced me to the world of polymer science and scattering. Now, I am a scientist working on the physics of the so-called “soft matter” or “soft materials”. Soft materials are fascinating! They consist of only a few elements, such as H, C, O, N, and some others. Even though, there are millions of different kinds. Soft materials are very environment-friendly and sustainable material. Yet, they are sensitive and/or responsive to the environment and external stimuli. Our body itself consists of millions of soft materials. We are exploring new soft materials by deeply understanding the physics, molecular interactions of soft matter, and with the advanced experimental facilities. Shall we explore soft mater?
Professor Mitsuhiro Shibayama
Mitsuhiro Shibayama graduated from the Department of Polymer Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University in 1977. He received a Doctor-of-Engineering degree from Kyoto University in 1983. After serving as a fellow of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science and as a research associate at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he joined the Department of Polymer Science, Kyoto Institute of Technology in 1984. He was promoted to an associate professor in 1988 and to a professor in 1997. In 1991, he spent a year at Physics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2000, he moved to Neutron Scattering Laboratory, Institute for Solid State Physics, the University of Tokyo.
Introduction of the study
We are studying the structure-property relationship of soft matter with various physico-chemical methods, such as, neutron/X-ray/light scattering, mechanics, rheology, thermal analysis, spectroscopy, etc. We are fascinated by various aspects of soft matter. For example, some polymer gels undergo a volume-phase transition with more than 1000 fold volume change. Some are stimulus-responsive and change their size or shape by pH, heat, light, etc. Recently, we developed super-tough polymer gels of which mechanical properties are even better than human cartilage. With the scattering techniques, we are elucidating why polymer gels acquire these advanced properties. Furthermore, we are exploring new materials by deeply understanding the physics, molecular interactions of soft matter, and with the advanced experimental facilities.
Message from a senior
I think soft materials, such as gels and micelles, are very familiar material to our lives. However, their properties are complicated and there are still many problems to be cleared and/or improved. It is fascinating to me to study soft materials for solving these problems and further developing new soft materials.