Vol.5 No.4 2013
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Research paper : Development of switchable mirror glass (K. Yoshimura et al.)−268−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.5 No.4 (2013) AuthorsKazuki YoshimuraCompleted the doctor’s course in Materials Science and Engineering at the Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba in 1986. Doctor of Engineering. Joined the National Industrial Research Institute of Nagoya (currently, AIST Chubu) in 1986. Engaged in the research for switchable glass under the Sunshine Project and New Sunshine Project. Visiting researcher at the Fritz Haber Institute (Germany) in 1993. Currently, leader of the Energy Control Thin Film Group, Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development. Received the Tanahashi Award of the Electrochemical Society of Japan in 2010, for the research of switchable mirror. Double duty as the visiting professor of Gifu University since 2004. In this research, was in charge of the supervision of research and the evaluation of the energy-saving performance.Kazuki TajimaCompleted the third year of doctor’s program at the Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University in 2003. Special researcher at AIST in 2003. Joined AIST in 2006. Doctor (Engineering). Engaged in the R&D of electrochromic switchable mirror. Currently, senior research of the Energy Control Thin Film Group, Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development. Specialties are metal materials (thin film, bulk), functional ceramic materials, and property analysis of devices made of such materials. Recently, engages in the development of new materials by using the organic polymer materials. Received the Tanahashi Award of the Electrochemical Society of Japan in 2010. In this research, was in charge of the electrochromic switchable mirror.Yasusei YamadaCompleted the doctor’s course at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University in 1998. Doctor (Engineering). Joined the National Industrial Research Institute of Nagoya (currently, AIST Chubu) in 1998. Visiting researcher at the Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University (Sweden) for one year from 2005. Worked as the planning officer of the Planning Headquarters, AIST for one year after returning to Japan. Double duty as the part-time lecturer of the Toyota National College of Technology for five years from 2007. Currently, senior researcher of the Energy Control Thin Film Group, Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development. Received the Tanahashi Award of the Electrochemical Society of Japan in 2010. In this research, was in charge of the gaschromic switchable mirror and the evaluation of thin film.Discussions with Reviewers1 Process of discovering the Mg-Ca, Mg-Ba, and Mg-Sr switchable mirror materialsQuestion (Norimitsu Murayama, Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute, AIST)Your discovery that Mg-Ca, Mg-Ba, and Mg-Sr have excellent properties as switchable mirror materials is wonderful. Please describe the process by which you made this discovery. Did you evaluate the properties by making certain projections? Or did you come across them through serendipity?Answer (Yasusei Yamada)Another research group at the Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development was conducting research to make magnesium non-flammable, as this metal was difficult to use due to its highly ignitable property. This research had a totally different objective from our research, and it was discovered that magnesium becomes less flammable by adding calcium. In the switchable mirror, it is necessary to control the oxidation of magnesium to increase durability. Knowing the result of that group, we thought if magnesium becomes less flammable by adding calcium, perhaps it would also become less prone to oxidation. That was the start in studying this material. We fabricated the material, took measurements, and found that it had excellent optical property, and this led to the discovery of the new material. In general, calcium is thought to be a highly active, unstable metal, and if we were not at the Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn about fire-resistant magnesium, because that is research in a different field, and we would never have thought of adding calcium to magnesium that is also highly active.2 Intellectual property strategy for the Mg-Ca, Mg-Ba, and Mg-Sr switchable mirror materialsQuestion (Norimitsu Murayama)For obtaining the intellectual property rights for the Mg-Ca, Mg-Ba, and Mg-Sr switchable mirror materials, can you tell us what were your strategies and what problems you faced, as much as you can disclose?Answer (Yasusei Yamada)In Japan, our research group owns the patents for the basic materials of the switchable mirror. However, in Europe and the US, the patent for the thin films of alloys of magnesium and almost all transition metals have been taken. To escape this limitation, we applied for the patent for the switchable mirror material using the thin films of alloys of magnesium and alkaline-earth metals. In this case, we carefully studied why the addition of the alkaline-earth metal was more effective compared to the conventional transition metals, and rather than giving the phenomenological description of the effect, we claimed the superiority of the material from a logical perspective. By doing so, we stated that the magnesium alloy thin film with added alkaline-earth metal was a totally new category of material for the switchable mirror. Whenever a patent for a basic material is taken, the patent may not be accepted if it is merely improvement done on the structure of the device that uses that material. Therefore, significance of being able to file the patent as our original basic material is great.3 Novelty of all-solid-state switchable mirror deviceQuestion (Norimitsu Murayama)Is the all-solid-state switchable mirror device the authors’ idea?Answer (Kazuki Yoshimura)Although the all-solid-state device had been developed for

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