Tokai University Micro / Nano Research and Development Center Researcher Interview
“Fascinated by the physical universality of soft materials and system-dependent diversity”
Rio Kita. Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Micro and Nano Research and Development Center, Tokai University
(Published on Feb 2020, interviewed by Takahashi and Mori)
―Please tell us about your research.
If I roughly divide my research,
① Study on phase equilibrium and phase separation dynamics of polymer solution
② Analysis of blood rheology and gelation of plasma proteins
③ Characterization of polymer (Study on molecular properties in thermal equilibrium)
④ Analysis of irreversible transport phenomena in non-equilibrium phenomena of polymers
⑤ Molecular dynamics analysis of soft materials
In short, it means “to study the properties of soft substances at the molecular level.“
Since joining Tokai University in 2005, I have been conducting molecular dynamics research on soft materials as a member of the Dielectric Spectroscopy Group with Prof. Shin Yagihara and Prof. Naoki Shinyashiki of the Department of Physics. Soft materials containing water (synthetic polymers [Ref. 1-7], gels [Ref. 8-11], biopolymers etc. [Ref. 12-16], mixed solution of low molecules [Ref. 17-19], ultra thin polymer film we have been studying the molecular properties of dispersions,using various methods such as laser interferometry, light scattering, small-angle X-ray scattering, thermal analysis, viscoelasticity measurement, and broadband dielectric spectroscopy.
As a subject of physics, we are actively adopting basic research on the structure and function of biological macromolecules such as polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and proteins, which are complex systems, and methods and methodologies of polymer physics. In addition, it will be quite challenging in terms of physics. Based on this, we also conduct molecular biology research and research aimed at industrial applications. Recently, in cooperation with the teachers of the Micro / Nano Research and Development Center, we are focusing on fusion research between humanities and science, and hope to return the results to education.
－Please tell us about your activities at the Micro / Nano Research and Development Center.
In 2014, adopted the Private University Strategic Research Support Project “Next-Generation Medical Technology Created from Ultrathin Polymer” (5 years in Tokai University ) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, I was involved in the establishment and operation of the company and has been conducting joint research with teachers from each department and department of Tokai University. There were many encounters, and I was able to understand the difficulty of collaborative research beyond the boundaries of the field, as well as experience its effectiveness and the impact of success. Communicating with a variety of professional teachers gives me lots of new realizations and makes me study a lot. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up, but I feel that it’s also fun.