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New Research Results

Membrane fouling analysis 06/20/2017

A New Method for Analysis of Water Treatment Membrane Fouling by Activated Sludge
– Combination of analyses using a confocal reflection microscope and a next-generation sequencer –

AIST observed the fouling process of water treatment membranes non-destructively. Two types of model wastewater with different concentrations of organic substances (low load and high load) were treated using a membrane bioreactor to identify the substances and microorganisms that cause membrane fouling. Using a confocal reflection microscope, it was found that polysaccharides are the primary component under low loads while lipids are the primary component under high loads. It was also found using a next-generation sequencer that the microorganisms constituting the biofilm are different when the concentrations of organic substances differ. A new model for the fouling process under high loads was proposed.

RNA reference material 5/26/2017

Development of Artificial Nucleic Acid Reference Materials for Accuracy Control of Microbiome Analysis
– Contribution to highly reliable microbiota analysis by next-generation sequencing –

AIST has developed artificial nucleic acid reference materials as internal standards for accuracy control of analysis of microbiomes by next-generation sequencing. The 16S rRNA gene is widely used for the phylogenetic classification of microorganisms. AIST researchers designed artificial 16S rRNA reference materials to be amplified by PCR and to allow the amplified base sequences to be differentiated from natural genes during data analysis, and produced twelve types of the reference materials. When a mixture of the reference materials is used as an internal standard for microbiome analysis, the accuracy of the obtained base sequences can be evaluated and the performance of quantitative analysis can be controlled.

Figure of Developed artificial nucleic acid reference materials and a mixture of the reference materials

Effectiveness of motion-assist devices 06/12/2017

Demonstration of the Effectiveness of Motion-Assist Devices for Sensorimotor Learning Using a Rat Experimental Model
–Expected applications to neurorehabilitation techniques–

AIST has demonstrated that learning effectiveness can be improved by assisting stimulus-response motion in a timely manner. Air-pressure stimuli were applied to one forepaw of a rat. The number of days for the rat to learn the correct forepaw was investigated by varying the timing of intervention and the target forepaw for intervention (on the correct response side or the incorrect response side). The learning time was less when intervention produced an incorrect motion than when intervention produced a correct motion. The intervention was effective when applied just before the rat responded spontaneously.

Nanocapsule 12/12/2017

Development of Nanocapsules Capable of Stable Storage of Middle Molecules and Macromolecules
– Expectation for application to packaging of industrial enzymes and biopharmaceuticals –

AIST has developed more than 10 kinds of nanocapsules (inner diameter of 5 to 40 nm). The nanocapsules can easily be mass produced from amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids, and their inner diameter size can be controlled by the size of the outer amino acids. It is possible to change the charge in the inner space to control the encapsulation and release of compounds. Aggregation and association of a compound are suppressed by encapsulating the compound in nanocapsules with an inner diameter size suitable for the size of the compound, so the structure and function of the compound can be stabilized.

Single-crystal electrolyte 12/08/2017

Development of Safer, More Reliable Compact All-Solid-State Lithium Secondary Batteries
– Realization of the world’s highest lithium-ion-conductivity of oxide-type electrolyte by using single-crystal solid electrolyte –

AIST has grown a single crystal of oxide-type solid electrolyte with the highest lithium ion conductivity using the floating zone melting method. The single crystal has a dense structure which prevents internal short circuits. By applying the AD method developed by AIST, a strong interface between an electrode and the solid electrolyte was also formed. With this single crystal, lithium ion conductivity equal to or higher than that of organic electrolytic solutions is achieved, which has led to the development of a compact all-solid-state lithium secondary battery with a diameter of 5 mm and a thickness of 0.7 mm.

Geological hazard map 03/09/2017

Completion of the Eastern Asia Earthquake and Volcanic Hazards Information Map
- Information about past disasters displayed on a single geological map -

AIST has created the “Eastern Asia Earthquake and Volcanic Hazards Information Map”. The map summarizes past disaster information on large-scale earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the tsunamis that they triggered. Displaying the disaster scale, and the number and causes of fatalities on the map in icons enable the viewers to have a good grasp of the hazard situation. The map is expected to raise risk management awareness in East Asia. It can be used as basic data for disaster mitigation planning and hazard map creation. The map in image format has been made public on the Geological Survey of Japan website.

Figure

Thermometer for high temperature 06/19/2017

Development of a high precision thermometer for the use at around 1000 °C
- Contributing to the improvement of temperature measurement and control at high temperatures -

AIST, in collaboration with Chino Corporation, has developed a platinum resistance thermometer equipped with platinum wire in its sensor that can precisely measure temperature at around 1000 °C. By heat-cycling tests, the platinum wire was examined to find optimum conditions for stabilizing the resistance value. As a result, the resistance value is stable even at high temperatures around 1000 °C. Furthermore, a new sensor structure was devised to reduce thermal strain of the platinum wire at high temperature. The developed platinum resistance thermometer can measure temperatures at the 0.001 °C level of precision even at high temperature.

Figure

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