INTRODUCTION OF LABORATORY

We are developing new materials through the following three different approaches. One is the control of the hierarchical molecular motions in polymers to create new properties and functions. Unlike metals and ceramics, material properties of polymers such as resins and rubbers reect the hierarchical molecular motions, from the diffusion of entire chains to the rotation of small side chains. Such local motions remain even in the glass state, to have a major effect on e.g., the impact resistance and the gas permeation. Our original strategy is controlling macroscopic properties of materials made of “macro-molecular machines” by designing their unique intramolecular motions. For example, we can synthesize a necklace-like mechanically-interlocked polymer consisting of a polymer chain and threaded cyclic molecules. Because the different components are not bound chemically but constraint topologically each other, the large main chain motions are maintained in the frozen cyclic components.
To address the community’ s demands on new functional materials, novel strategy for new functional materials are highly required. The second approach is materials design inspired by biological system, so-called, biomimetics. Especially, we are developing biomimetic adhesive materials which adopt molecular structure of adhesive protein of the marine fouling organism, such as blue mussel.
The third approach is to develop the material designs integrating natural resources. For example, we utilize polyphenol, which contains in persimmon tannin, as raw materials with superior functional monomer because polyphenol exhibits a variety of physiological activity, such as antibacterial or antioxidation.

KAZUAKI KATO LAB. research

 

環状オリゴ糖を主成分とし、幾何学的に結合した高分子を有する透明プラスチック。ガラス状態にもかかわらず、高分子の鎖は大きく運動しており、これを用いた分離膜への応用が研究されている。

加藤研究室 研究紹介

 

高分子鎖と環状オリゴ糖は結合していないため、応力が集中した部分では鎖が環から引き出されるこることで、堅くても強靭な材料となっている。

Message

Both sustainability and high performance are compatible. By designing new shapes of molecules, we will create next-generation plastic materials.

When I was a student, I observed every day how molecules with complex shapes were intricately bonded in a crystal. The appearance of the individuality of each molecule recognized by adjacent molecules in the form and properties of crystals of visible size made me feel like a small universe. This experience has given me the conviction that if the shape of the molecule can be designed correctly, the properties of the material of visible size can be manipulated at will. At that time, we were dealing with organic molecules with a molecular weight of about several hundreds, but after that, we used complex molecules with a molecular weight of more than tens of thousands to freely manipulate the physical properties and functions of polymer materials such as plastics. , Has been working on molecular design. And now, in our laboratory, we are researching new plastic materials using a group of molecules called super molecules, which have special connections between molecules. Using cyclic oligosaccharides, which are synthesized on an industrial scale by an enzymatic reaction with starch, as the main raw material, transparent plastic can be made even from super molecules such as necklaces in which fine threads are passed through the holes. The individuality of this unusually shaped molecule is beginning to manifest itself as physical properties and functions not found in existing plastics. By understanding the relationship between the individuality of micro molecules and the properties of macroscopic materials, we believe that we will be able to design plastics with high performance without depending on petroleum raw materials.

PROFILE

Lecturer Kazuaki Kato

Lecturer Kazuaki Kato

2004 Ph.D. (Eng.), Osaka University

2004 Researcher of National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

2005 Research fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Saarland University, Germany)

2007 Project Researcher, The University of Tokyo

2009 Project Assistant Professor, The University of Tokyo

2014 Project Lecturer, The University of Tokyo

2017 Lecturer, The University of Tokyo

Visiting laboratory

  • +81-80-7300-8968
  • Kazuaki Kato Lab.,
  • Department Of Advanced Materials Science,
  • Graduate School of Frontier Sciences,
  • The University of Tokyo
  • Kashiwanoha 5-1-5,
  • Kashiwa,Chiba 277-8561, Japan
  • kkato@edu.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp