International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics
The International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) is one of five Japanese research centers participating in one of the world's largest research programs (known as the WPI Program), under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

In 2007, NIMS became the sole independent administrative institution to be chosen to participate in the WPI program, alongside the universities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku and Osaka. In addition to achieving the goals of the WPI program, MANA develops innovative materials that help realize a sustainable 21st century society.

Visit the official MANA website

MANA Purpose
MANA has organized a group of multinational and multidisciplinary researchers to realize a paradigm shift in material research based on the new technology of 'nanoarchitectnics', with the aim of developing innovative materials that contribute to the realization of sustainable development in society. Young researchers are being fostered through the center's operations so that they can develop their careers and become research leaders in the main body of NIMS.

MANA Missions and Research Targets
With four set missions to be achieved as goals of the WPI program, MANA, a next-generation basic research center for leading-edge nano-science and technology, challenges the development of innovative materials, utilizing nanotechnology.

Materials nanoarchitectonics is a new research paradigm for materials development, which attempts to extract and use the ultimate functions of materials based on a profound understanding of the mutual interaction between individual nanostructures and their arbitrary arrangements.

New research fields have been established by converging key nanoarchitectonics technologies:

  • Nano-materials
  • Nano-system
  • Nano-green
  • Nano-bio

MANA conducts research in these fields to develop novel materials and create epoch-making innovations that will contribute to a sustainable society.

About NIMS
Under the slogan "material science towards realization of a nanotechnology-driven sustainable society", NIMS, the host institute of MANA, challenges research into and development of new substances and materials.

According to the Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators database, as of March 2010 NIMS ranks 3rd in the world (1st in Japan) in the citation index for the previous 5 years for papers on materials science.

NIMS as a host institute provides maximum support to enable MANA to become a 'world-leading research center' both in name and reality.

Visit the official NIMS website

Research Concept
Sustainable social construction through nanotech-driven materials research
To build a sustainable society, NIMS conducts research in order to produce new materials that use the ultimate technology; Nanotechnology (a.k.a. Nanotech) — this being a technology enabling research concerning atoms/molecules in the materials science field. NIMS also conducts research that realizes higher functions for materials.

Tsukuba City
Tsukuba, where MANA is located, is the largest international science city in Japan. In addition to the University of Tsukuba, there are approx. 300 national/private research institutes and private companies, with approx. 13,000 researchers. 7,000 foreign researchers and students live in the city, which accounts for approx. 3% of the entire population of 210,000.

The Mercer 2009 Infrastructure Ranking lists Tsukuba in 4th place, next to Singapore, Munich and Copenhagen. Tsukuba is located approx. 50 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, and is connected to Akihabara, Tokyo by the Tsukuba Express Line.


NIMS - Atomic Electronics Group/Atomic Electronics Unit
WPI Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics

Greetings from the Group Leader

HasegawaFascinated by the World of Atoms

The same carbon atoms can be diamond or graphite depending on how they are arranged in space; the area of research that we pursue is in such a world of wonder. My research began with the graduation research to study the arrangement of atoms on material surfaces with the use of a high-resolution electron microscope. While most materials are composed of atoms in a perfect array, there are cases where atomic arrangements are observed on the surface that are different from those inside the material.

For instance, a seemingly flat surface of gold sometimes shows structural changes such as a saw-toothed structure (Fig. 1), and it is known that a more complex structure can be formed on a silicon surface. (Fig. 2)

Such widely-known structures were clarified by professors and seniors at the laboratory to which I belonged, and I became one of the researchers who were fascinated by such mysterious structures. These structures are observed only on the surfaces of materials. For instance, in a crystal growth process, only the outermost surface shows such a structure as a result of atom transfer with each formation of a new surface. So how does this happen?

Spurred on by such interest, I undertook real-time observations of the crystal growth process, the results of which observations are shown in Fig. 3. As the old saying goes, seeing is believing, I learned a lot through actual observations.



'Atom manipulation', which is now considered to be relatively easy to do, was a challenging research subject those days. Fig. 4 shows letters written by removing sulfur atoms from the surface of molybdenum disulfide. I worked on such tasks while I was with the Hitachi Central Research Laboratory. Hitachi values fundamental research, and I am grateful to the company for its extreme generosity.

Now my major research subjects cover clarification of phenomena on the atomic and molecular scale, and applications to devices, including the development of a new nanodevice 'Atomic Switch' using the transfer of atoms (Fig. 5). I have been continuously engaged in research of 'Observation of Atoms', ’Manipulation of Atoms' and 'Utilization of Atoms'. Part of the resulting research results are in the process of being utilized for product commercialization for enterprises. All the research results were obtained with the use of uniquely developed equipment, which is required in order to pursue cutting-edge research. The conduct of research refers to reducing the number of black boxes (unknowns) one by one. So far as equipment goes, it is desirable that you should know it well enough to repair yourself, as well as understanding its principles.

With an emphasis on originality, the Atomic Electronics Group intends to continue studies and research that contributes to society. Your understanding and support are greatly appreciated.

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - Group Leader
Atomic Electronics Group
pp_1 pp_4
Fig. 1
T. Hasegawa et al., Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 25, L366-L368 (1986)
Fig. 2 Arrangement of Atoms on a Silicon Surface
K. Takayanagi et al., Surf. Sci. 164,367 (1985)
pp_5 pp_2
Fig. 3 Real-time Observation of Crystal Growth Process
T. Hasegawa et al., Phys. Rev. B48, 1943-1946 (1993)
Fig. 4 Collaborative Research with the late Dr. S. Hosoki and current Prof. S. Hosaka of Gunma University
S. Hosoki et al., Appl. Sci. 60/61, 643-647 (1992)
Fig. 5 Atomic Switch
Terabe et al., Nature 433, 47-50 (2005)

Outline of Research and Studies

The Atomic Electronics Group conducts research and studies on nano-scale structural changes caused by atomic/molecular movements and chemical reactions, functions developed as a result of such changes, and on the application of such to usable devices. We also develop devices and measurement methods that are required to carry out our research and studies.

In order to promote the above mentioned research and studies, the Atomic Electronics Group participates in the projects listed below:

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), industry-academic-government collaborative research project; 'Development of Next-generation Programmable Logic Operation Devices using an Atomic Switch' (Project Director: Masakazu Aono; Project Period: 2005.8~2010.3)

Strategic International Cooperative Program (SICP), Cooperative Research Project with Germany, 'Faradaic currents and ion transfer numbers in electrochemical atomic switches'
(Research Leader in Japan: Tsuyoshi Hasegawa; Period: 2008.10~2012.3)

JST CREST Basic Research Program 'Development of "Atom Transistor", the 3-Terminal Atom Transfer Nonvolatile Device'
(Research Representative: Tsuyoshi Hasegawa; Period: 2009.10~2015.3 [plan] )

Strategic International Cooperative Program (SICP), Cooperative Research Project with the United Kingdom, 'Nonvolatile atom transistors and low-power logic systems'
(Research Leader in Japan: Tsuyoshi Hasegawa; Period: 2011.5~2014.3)


The SSSJ Review Paper Award 2007 was awarded by the Surface Science Society of Japan to Kazuya Terabe, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Tomonobu Nakayama and Masakazu Aono, for the thesis 'Atomic Switch - Nano Device using the Transfer of Atoms (Ions) [Journal of the Surface Science Society of Japan, VOL.27;NO.4;PAGE.232-238]

Postdoctoral research fellow Akira Emoto (2006.4~2007.5) assumed a post-doctoral position at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) as of June 1, 2007.

The 2007 Minister of Science and Technology Award and the 2007 Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Award were awarded to Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (Group Leader), Kazuya Terabe (Senior Researcher), Tomonobu Nakayama (Group Leader, Nano Functionality Integration Group, Nano System Functionality Center, NIMS) and Masakazu Aono (Director General, NanoSystem Functionality Center, NIMS). The awards were given for research on the Atomic Switch.

Postdoctoral research fellow Daisuke Takajo (2005.4~2007.3) assumed the position of Assistant Professor at Graduate School of Science, Osaka University as of April 1, 2007.

Collaborative researcher Takuro Tamura received his PhD, and assumed the position of postdoctoral research fellow at the Advanced Technology Research Center, Gunma University as of April 1, 2007.

Basics of the QCAS

SEM image of the QCAS.
A QCAS is formed at each crossing point of the 150-nm-wide Ag2S wire and the two 100 nm wide Pt wires.

Schematic diagrams of the QCAS.
As-formed switched-on state (top)
Switched-off state (middle)
Switched-on state after the initial switching-off process (bottom)





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