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Tokyo Tech News

FY2020 STAR grant recipients selected

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Published: March 22, 2021

Associate Professor Toru Hirahara of the Department of Physics, the School of Science and Associate Professor Yu Kumagai of the Laboratory for Materials and Structures, the Institute of Innovative Research have been selected for "Support for Tokyo-tech Advanced Researchers" (STAR) grants in FY 2020.

The STAR grant is awarded each year to promising young researchers who grapple with research topics that have the potential to become national projects in the future. Other recipients may include those who have achieved distinguished results in the fundamental sciences. Through the STAR grant, Tokyo Tech seeks to support up-and-coming 'shining stars' in the next generation of researchers.

For this 8th time, two "STARS" were selected based on consultation by the President and the Director, Office of Research and Innovation.

Research overview and Researcher Comment

Toru Hirahara
Associate Professor, School of Science

Toru Hirahara Associate Professor, School of Science

Research overview: Creation of high-temperature atomic-scale superconductors by interface engineering

Superconductivity is a macroscopic quantum phenomenon in which the electrical resistance of a material becomes zero. Since its discovery in 1911, the search for materials that exhibit high superconducting transition temperatures has been actively pursued. Normally, when the material becomes thinner and thinner, it becomes harder to show superconductivity. But in recent years, atomic layer materials that have higher superconducting transition temperatures than ordinary thick materials due to the effect of the substrate that support them, have been found. However, it is still not completely clear why this is happening. We aim to clarify the origin of high-temperature superconductivity by focusing on the interface between the atomic layer thin film and the substrate, and at the same time to develop more functional high-temperature superconductors by modifying this interface.

Researcher Comment

I am very honored to be selected as a recipient of the "Support for Tokyo-tech Advanced Researchers [STAR]." I would like to thank all the mentors who have given me guidance and the group members who work hard every day on our experiments. At the same time, I would like to express my gratitude to the professors who selected me and to the donors of the Tokyo Tech Foundation. Although this research is a basic research, I believe that it has the potential to be useful for human life in the distant future and will work even harder on our research to accomplish this.

Yu Kumagai
Associate Professor, Institute of Innovative Research

Yu Kumagai Associate Professor, Institute of Innovative Research

Research overview: Construction of computational materials database for oxide materials and its application

Since oxides are composed of various combination elements, it is possible to design optical and electronic functional materials that do not contain rare or toxic elements. These oxides are applied to thin film transistors and non-volatile memories, and basic research is being conducted from various perspectives such as superconductivity and photocatalysts. Using theoretical calculations based on quantum mechanics, I have performed systematic calculations for their various physical properties such as point defect characteristics and light absorption coefficients, and tabulated them as a computational material database. Furthermore, by using this database, we aim to predict physical properties by machine learning, discover unknown physical/chemical phenomena, and develop new excellent materials.

Researcher Comment

I am very honored to have been selected for "Support for Tokyo-tech Advanced Researchers [STAR]". I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the donors and selection committee members of the Tokyo Institute of Technology Fund. With this support, I would like to pursue even more challenging research.

Front from left: Kumagai and Hirahara Back from left: Executive Vice President for Research Osamu Watanabe and President Kazuya Masu

Front from left: Kumagai and Hirahara
Back from left: Executive Vice President for Research Osamu Watanabe and President Kazuya Masu

About the STAR grant

Purpose

Funded by the Tokyo Tech Fund, this program aims to provide large-scale support to bright young researchers who create new value based on various unique research achievements in the fundamental sciences. This objective is in line with the Institute's mid-term goals and contributes to enhancing research capacity.

Selection process

Based on their career and research achievements, recipients are selected by the president and the head of the Office of Research and Innovation. Individuals cannot apply for this grant.

Selection criteria

  • Young researchers engaged in a project which contributes to strategic policies on the national level
  • Young researchers who demonstrated outstanding achievement in basic research

Eligibility

Early-career researchers with a title of associate professor or below (in principle under the age of 40)

School of Science

School of Science —Exploring the Truth and Creating Knowledge—
Information on School of Science inaugurated in April 2016

School of Science

Schools, Departments, and Institute for Liberal Artsouter

Tokyo Tech Fund

This project is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund

Tokyo Institute of Technology Fund

Contact

Research Planning Group 1, Research Planning Division, Research Promotion Department, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Email kenkik.kik1@jim.titech.ac.jp
Tel +81-3-5734-7688

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