AIST Stories No2

Leading the way AIST!7To me, there is no boundary between basic research and application development. Until now you had the science that was basic research, and what followed was the engineering or application development; but in practice, such a linear model does not apply. As one carries out application development, it becomes clear what basic research is significant; when one returns to basic research, the areas where efforts should be focused become apparent. By traversing between basic research and application development, it becomes possible to commercialize basic research in an efficient manner and through the advancement of technology, new science also progresses.My wish is that such an exchange of science and technology will lead to a more affluent world, and that the AD method, born of such an exchange, will be used even 50 or 100 years from now and develop into a technology that is even more useful to society.▲ Flexible components with scratch resistance on a par with ceramics could be applied in coatings on cellular telephones and other devices.*5 World’s highest power generation efficiency: Parameters are 4-mm square and AM1.5 100 mW/cm2. Data based on Sekisui Chemical measurements.conventional lithium ion batteries. The AD method has come into focus as an enabling technology for next-generation batteries.Further, the dye-sensitized solar cell is a type of thin film cell that is expected to be a next-generation, low-cost solar cell. If solar cells can be produced as lightweight films, these could be attached to walls and other surfaces. Sekisui Chemical is engaged in their development and it has adopted the AD method for forming the ceramic film that functions as the semiconductor layer in dye-sensitized solar cells. Because sintering is not required as part of the film forming process, the company has been able to achieve the world’s highest power generation efficiency for a dye-sensitized solar cell employing a thin film substrate*5, at 9.2% for a glass substrate and 8.0% for a plastic film substrate. If low-cost solar cells can be commercialized using this method, solar cells are likely to come into general usage.Pursuing cost reductions with the aim of expanding application inroads into paints“Furthermore, I am positioning the AD method as an alternative technology to replace traditional coating.” From cellular telephone housings to automobile bodies, there is a literal mountain of technologies in this world that require painting. Through the AD method, Akedo plans to enable the painting of such devices. In fact, efforts are underway to coat cellphone housings and spectacle temples (eyeglass arms) through application of the AD method and in doing so, improve scratch resistance and moreover enable detailed designs.“The key to widespread adoption is most certainly to what extent costs can be reduced. At present, the AD method has a lower cost than the vacuum coating method used for forming the recorded layer in CDs and DVDs but my aim is to reduce the cost by an additional one to two orders of magnitude and bring it to a level that is not much different from standard painting.”Once this level is attained, application will then become possible for the painting of industrial parts with large surface areas, such as automobile bodies. Through this, automobiles would not be scratched by slight scrapes, while cellphones would emerge capable of retaining their color even after extended use.“In order for this to happen, I plan to get back to the basics and push forward with research to elucidate the forming mechanism for finer films and based on this, improve film forming efficiency, establish precise powder material control technology, and verify its reproducibility.”A visionof the futureAerosol Deposition method