Kohzo Ito / Professor / Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences
Department of Advanced Materials Science / / Group of New Materials and Interfaces

Career Summary
1981: Graduated, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
1986: Doctor of Engineering from The University of Tokyo
1986: Researcher at the Research Institute of Polymers and Textiles, Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)
1991: Lecturer, The University of Tokyo
1994: Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo
2003: Professor, The University of Tokyo
2005: Director of Advanced Softmaterials Inc.(concurrent post)
Educational Activities
Graduate school:Soft Matter Physics
Undergraduate school: An Introduction to Dynamics in Nonequilibrium System
Research Activities

We have been investigating soft materials such as polymers, liquid crystals, biomolecules, and so on. In particular, we now focus on supramolecular systems of polyrotaxanes with topological architecture as follows:

1) Slide-ring materials
All the gels have been classified into only two groups: physical and chemical gels. We have recently invented a novel kind of gel, slide-ring gel with freely movable junctions, by chemically cross-linking cyclic molecules in different polyrotaxanes. The slide-ring gel shows mechanical properties and nanoscopic structures quite different from conventional chemical and physical gels. You can also incorporate the concept of freely movable junctions into polymeric materials without solvent such as films, textiles, paints, and so on. Consequently, the slide-ring materials are supposed to innovate in polymer science and technology.

2) Molecular electronics using conducting polymers
It is important for fabricating the molecular devices highly designed from a single molecular level to acquire the information on a single molecular wire. For this purpose, we have established the method to measure the conductivity of a single molecular wire by fabricating the narrow-gap electrodes. In this study, we aim to investigate the conductivity of a few kinds of a single nanowire such as an insulated molecular wire made from conducting polymers and insulating cyclic molecules.

1) Yasushi Okumura and Kohzo Ito, Advanced Materials, 13(7), 485-487(2001).
2) Ken-ichi Yoshida et al., Langmuir, 15, 910-913(1999).

Other Activities
Academic Societies: The Society of Polymer Science, Japan; The Physical Society of Japan; The Japan Society of Applied Physics; The Society of Rheology, Japan; Japanese Society for Biomaterials
Awards: The Award of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan
Future Plan
We are interested in soft materials which can be applied to a wide area around our lives. Actually, I founded a venture company to promote various applications and businesses based on the novel concept of cross-linking in polymeric materials. We are now focusing on another interesting system of the slide-ring materials, a sliding graft copolymer, which has a structure of polyrotaxane with slidable side chains along an axis polymer chain. I believe that it will give us a new science and technology in polymeric materials as well as the cross-linked slide-ring material with freely movable junctions.
Messages to Students
You can find a lot of fascinating systems in soft materials. I suppose that our lab is featured by an academic fusion between chemists and physicists, and a close balance between basic science and applied technology. If you are interested in chemistry or physics of soft materials, please come and join us!