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Keita KOBAYASHI, Assistant Professor, Research Center for Ultra-High Voltage Electron Microscopy

Assistant Professor Keita KOBAYASHI is currently advancing his research of various nanomaterials using electron microscopes. Assistant Professor Kobayashi had his first encounter with electron microscopes when he was in his 4th year of university. He was very impressed with how the structure of materials could “clearly be seen, even down to concrete shapes.”

His current topic of research involves the physical properties of matter in an extreme environment. He studies these physical properties in abnormal conditions such as a vacuum, low temperatures, and inside of carbon nanotubes. “For example, ice crystals are usually 6-sided, like snow crystals, but under certain conditions, this structure can change in various ways. When we observed these crystals in an environment with conditions simulating those of outer space, with low pressure and extremely low temperatures, we were able to obtain crystals that displayed ferroelectricity. This suggests the involvement of ice as a ferroelectric substance in the creation of planets, which, to this point, could not be explained by the involvement of gravity alone.”

On the appeal of electron microscopes, Assistant Professor Kobayashi had this to say, “The microscopic world is clear to see right before your eyes. But materials that appear to be acceptable from a macro viewpoint, when looked at through an electron microscope, sometimes aren’t as they seem… It really shows a harsh reality.” Even so, if he’s going to examine the micro world, he hopes to get a clean picture, said Assistant Professor Kobayashi with a smile.

When he starts anything, be it work or play, he’s the type to go all the way. Assistant Professor Kobayashi mentioned that he can lift 150 kg on the bench press. In addition, he said, “I want to collect things that catch my eye,” and magnets that he has collected from capsule machines can be seen on “display” in his office.

Taking his position at the Research Center for Ultra-High Voltage Electron Microscopy greatly changed the direction of his research. “Instead of analyzing and considering the materials I made through an electron microscope, my research focus shifted to researching the physical properties of the materials themselves by electron microscope,” said Assistant Professor Kobayashi. “I’d like to combine these two directions and apply the knowledge obtained through research of physical properties to material development.”



About Assistant Professor Kobayashi

A 2004 graduate of the Faculty of Engineering at Mie University, Assistant Professor Kobayashi obtained his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Engineering at Mie University and his doctorate degree (Science) at the Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University. After working as a special researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), he became an assistant professor at the Research Center for Ultra-High Voltage Electron Microscopy, Osaka University in 2012. He received the Teijin Award (2008) and the Japan Institute of Metals and Materials Young Researcher Award (Materials Physics) (2014). He is currently advancing research on various nanomaterials through transmission electron microscopy methods.

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