Kazuhiro Hono
President, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)
Fellow, Research Center for Magnetic and Spintronic Materials, NIMS
Professor, Graduate School of Science and Technology, University of Tsukuba
e-mail: kazuhiro.hono@nims.go.jp

Dr. Kazuhiro Hono is President of the National Institute of Materials Science, Japan. He received BS and MS degrees in materials science and engineering from Tohoku University in 1982 and 1984, respectively, and a Ph.D. from Penn State in 1988. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, he joined the Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University as a research associate in 2000, where he built an atom probe facility. He then moved to NIMS in 1995, where he had a 27-year research career, including director of the Metallic Nanostructure Group, director of the Research Center for Magnetic and Spintronic Materials, NIMS Fellow, and Executive Vice President until his appointment as President in 2022. Since 2003, he has also been a professor of materials science and engineering at the Graduate School of Science and Technology, University of Tsukuba, and has supervised 34 Ph.D. students.

In his 40 year research career, he made significant contribution on structure-property relationships of metallic materials of industrial interests. In the past 20 years, he has focused on magnetic materials research, including rare-earth permanent magnets, nanocrystalline soft magnets, FePt-based heat-assisted recording media, and other magnetic and spintronic materials and devices based on fundamental studies of microstructure-property relationships.

Early in his career, Dr. Hono pioneered atom probe field ion microscopy (APFIM) and later three-dimensional atom probe (3DAP) characterization of metallic nanostructures to elucidate structure-property relationships of various alloys with potential industrial applications. He also contributed to the early development of laser-assisted 3D atom probe and demonstrated successful 3DAP analysis of insulator materials using UV lasers. His atomistic characterizations of solute clusters and GP zones in aluminum alloys were pioneering at the time for the study of precipitation sequences at the atomic scale. Extending this research to magnesium alloys, his group developed high-strength heat treatable wrought magnesium alloys with excellent formability. He also pioneered the atomistic characterization of amorphous alloys and their crystallization processes, and the research that elucidated the crystallization mechanism of the amorphous Fe-Si-B-Nb-Cu alloy served as a guiding principle for the subsequent development of nanocrystalline soft magnetic materials.

In the past 20 years, he has vigorously pursued the multi-scale analysis of the microstructure of rare-earth permanent magnets through the complementary use of SEM/TEM/3DAP, and established a coercivity mechanism that overturns the conventional view. Based on this, Dr. Hono's group developed a grain boundary infiltration method using eutectic alloys that dramatically improves the coercivity of neodymium magnets without using Dy. In addition, systematic TEM studies of the nanostructures of FePt thin films led to the development of FePt-C nanogranular perpendicular thin films, which proved to be the prototype of industrialized FePt-X heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) media. His group has also made remarkable achievements in the search for half-metallic Heusler alloys and unprecedented high magnetoresistive performance has been demonstrated in CPP-GMR devices by atomic control of the Heusler FM/NM interfaces, which have attracted interest as potential magnetic sensor applications.


  • Acta Materialia Gold Medal 2024 (March 2024)
  • Tsukuba Encouragement Prize (Research for Practical Use) (March 2023)
  • Magnetics Society of Japan Award (September 2022)
  • Honda Memorial Award, the Honda Memorial Foundation (May 2020)
  • The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Research Category (April 2020)
  • Murakami Memorial Award, the Japan Institute of Metals (September 2019)
  • 2018 REPM Distinguished Achievement Award (August 201)
  • Tsukuba Award (November 2016)
  • The 2016 IEEE Magnetic Society Distinguished Lecturer (September 2015)
  • Japan Institute of Metals Masumoto Hakaru Award (March 2014)
  • The Indian Institute of Metals, Honorary Membership (November 2013)
  • TMS Life Time Membership (August 2012)
  • The Magnetic Society of Japan, Achievement Award (September 2013)
  • TMS Life Time Membership (August 2012)
  • The Japan Institute of Metals Distinguished Achievement Award (November 2011)
  • TMS Fellows Award (March 2011)
  • 6th Honda Frontier Award (May 2009)
  • Magnetic Society of Japan Outstanding Research Award (September 2008)
  • Japan Institute of Metals Metallography Award (March 2007)
  • Excellent presentation award, Annual meeting of Magnetic Society of Japan, November 2005
  • Lee Hsun Lecturer Award, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academiy of Sciences (July 2003)
  • Light Metal Advancement Award (November 2003)
  • The Japan Institute of Metals Meritorious Honor Award (March 1997)
  • Tsukuba Encouragement Award, 1998
  • Acta Metallurgica et Materialia Best Paper Award for 1992, 1994
  • Japan Institute of Metals Young Scientist Award, 1993
  • Murakami Memorial Young Scientist Award, 1992
  • Japan Light Metals Institute Young Scientist Award, 1991
  • Honda Memorial Young Scientist Award, 1991