“Fusion Materials: Creative Development of Materials and Exploration of Their Function through Molecular Control”
Funded by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT)
Project Leader
Takashi KATO
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo

This project focuses on an innovative new research area for the synthesis of futuristic materials. We aim to create a sustainable society where materials are in harmony with the environment. Highly functional, environmentally friendly materials will be produced through processes with efficient use of energy and resources. This new approach will involve the fusion of organic molecules and inorganic substances.

Biomineralization is used to produce minerals found in nature and is an attractive strategy for materials synthesis. Sophisticated organic-inorganic hybrid materials, such as teeth, bones, seashells, and exoskeletons are produced by biomineralization and have excellent properties. Molecular control is key in this process, and biomolecules precisely control the crystallization of inorganic substances. In this project, environmentally friendly hybrid materials that are comparable to biotic materials will be synthesized by mimicking biomineralization.

We will also attempt to synthesize new materials that overcome the limitations of biotic materials. This will be realized by fusing functional inorganic materials with state-of-the-art organic materials, which will be developed by leading Japanese scientists in the fields of supramolecular, self-assembled molecular, and polymer chemistries.

Expertise from many scientific fields, including organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering will be used to create this new area of materials science.