A number of social issues such as energy supplies and environmental loads have been recently growing in our current materials and technological developments. It would require more careful considerations to the problems from the initial stage of materials design, rather than the conventional attitudes like ‘think it after its happening’. In particular, quick and repeated R&D process and its functional evaluations should be indispensable for creating novel nano-materials and devices beyond the bulk materials properties. In addition, demands are also growing for the analyses by controlling the environment where the materials/devices of interest are actually working.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), an effective tool for examining nano-materials/devices, has drawbacks such as (i) one has to thin the sample less than 0.1 μm thick, (ii) observation is done by introducing the sample in vacuum, (iii) the image obtained is nothing but a 2-dimensional projection. The TEM research group of Nagoya University has long recognized those problems and tried to improve the shortcomings. The newly built ‘Reaction Science High-Voltage Electron Microscope (RS-HVEM) aimed to overcome these above.
The new RS-HVEM is applied to development of novel catalysts for purifying automotive exhaust gases, fuel cells and lithium ion batteries, clarifying the mechanism of cell structural change associated with its cancerization, and other current intriguing scientific topics. We hope that this machine not only contributes to basic science but also promotes industrial innovation to help high value-added economic growth in Japan.
Director, HVEM laboratory,