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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.

Plating to CFRP 02/02/2018

Development of a Plating Technique with Excellent Adhesivity to Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP)
– Prevents damage from lightning strikes with plating –

AIST has developed a technique to apply electroless plating directly to moldable intermediate materials used for manufacturing CFRP. It performed stabilizing treatment so as not to inactivate the plating solution on an intermediate material sheet that had been impregnated with a heat curing plastic, called “prepreg”. This treatment enabled immobilization of a palladium colloid catalyst and electroless copper plating on the prepreg. CFRP with a copper plating film on the surface can be prepared by laminating the prepreg that has a copper plating film with unprocessed prepregs. Lightning strike tests on the fabricated CFRP showed that lightning strike resistance was greatly improved.

Optical network 12/21/2017

Development of a New Optical Communications Network System with Flexible Scalability
– Toward the dissemination of optical path networks that can improve power efficiency by three orders of magnitude –

AIST has developed an intermediate controller that can control multivendor products installed in a common system in a cooperative manner. It has also proposed standard racks and blades such that various optical network components (such as optical switches and optical amplifiers) manufactured by different companies can be installed into one system. These permit users to build quickly and easily an optical network with the best configuration for various purposes. Experiments are being planned to demonstrate low latency 4K teleconference systems, 8K remote medical treatment, etc. using optical fiber networks.

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

Photon microscope 01/26/2018

The World’s First Development of “Photon Microscope” based on Single Photon Spectroscopy with Superconducting Photosensor
– Color imaging in extremely weak light that cannot be observed with an optical microscope –

AIST has developed the world’s first “photon microscope” which can observe clear color images using a superconducting photosensor developed by AIST, even with extremely weak light that cannot be observed with conventional optical microscopes. Weak light from a measuring point of a sample is collected, and directed to the sensor using an optical fiber. Each photon is detected and its wavelength is measured with the superconducting photosensor. The color of the measuring point is identified from the number of photons and their wavelengths detected in a fixed time. The sample is scanned to obtain a color image.

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