Today was the last day of the study tour. We spent the day at the expo, looking at the last few booths that we hadn’t seen. We also explored the adjacent Heater, Air Conditioning and Vacuum expo, which hosted an array of respective technologies. There was also a short series of lectures from the Victorian representatives, outlining some of the research they are doing.
Today we briefly visited the Australian Embassy and then returned to the expo. At the Embassy there was a short lecture on Australia’s relationship with Japan.
At the show we talked with a representative from Hysitron, a U.S. company that manufactures nanomechanical test instruments. The instruments they produce can characterise an array of physical properties, such as hardness, stiffness and various modulus, on the nanoscale. They typically analyse thin films (such as on hard drive platters) and primarily focus on academia (with plans to expand to industry.
We then talked with a representative from Bruka, who have several interesting atomic force microscopes (AFM), such as a combined Raman microscope-AFM.
We then attended several seminars from some German companies, who are doing a variety of work in printable electronics and advanced semiconductor manufacture.
Today we went to Tsukuba to briefly visit AIST. There was a few short presentations on AIST and a whirlwind tour of some of the facilities. We saw a clean room with an array of characterisation equipment (Raman, SEM, SPM etc) and a positron nanoprobe. The positron nanoprobe was stunning; there were two high-performance positron beams in the lab. This equipment is used to measure atomic holes in a sample, and so characterise various physical properties.
We then spent the afternoon at nano tech 2014. This was an utterly extraordinary experience – a wing of the massive Big Site conference centre was filled with ~1000 exhibitors from around the world. Exhibitors were primarily from industry, with a handful of universities and government organisations represented too. Some exhibitors were little organisations, specialising in one field or product (such as production of a nanoparticle or piece of equipment) while others engaged in a vast array of fields and products. I was able to briefly look at most exhibitors, which included: manufacturers of a range of manufacturing devices (such as devices for machining, nanowires, nanoparticles, thin films, semiconductors and printable electronics); manufacturers of specialised products (such as nanotubes, flexible electronics and films); manufacturers of every characterisation tool conceivable; and researchers in an array of green and renewable energy.
Today we visited the Kashiwa campus of Tokyo University, where we briefly visited four research groups.
Prior to lunch we visited a plasma research group and a laser research group. The plasma large had an extraordinary Tokamak plasma reactor, with applications in nuclear fusion. They used a novel merging start up method, which combined two toroidal plasmas into the desired shape. The equipment was quite large, and required substantial capacitor banks to ignite the plasma.
The laser lab was also very large and well equipped (a common theme for Tokyo University). They had three booths, each using slightly different lasers and laser configurations. This research was performing spectroscopic studies and pure laser research. They boast a unique atto-second pulsed x-ray laser and a terahertz laser.
After lunch we visited an astronomy/cosmology and theoretical physics groups. The cosmology group studied a wide spectrum of topics: cosmogony; neutrinos; gamma rays; cosmic rays; dark matter and similar topics. They have been involved in constructing a very high quality gamma ray detector, manufacturing mirrors that will be used in equipment the exploits Cherenkov radiation.
The theoretical physics groups is focussed on the big questions in the field; dark matter and dark energy, the origin and fate of the universe, quantum gravity etc. They approach solving these problems by encouraging collaboration between various disciplines, especially mathematics and it’s novel ideas.
I’ve attached some photos of the plasma equipment; the top photo shows the chamber, which was well over two metres high, and the second shows some capacitors – there were dozens of these banks in the room.
Today started by walking around the Imperial Palace, admiring what little we could see of the architecture and gardens. We then moved to Tokyo Central, wandered a little bit, and briefly explored a large electronics store, ‘Bic Camera’, which had an extraordinary collection.
We then visited the Hongo campus of Tokyo University, which was quite large and hosted a variety of architecture and aesthetics from various eras and styles. After some lunch we visited their photoemission and scanning tunnelling microscopy labs. These labs had a fantastic set of equipment, allowing very interesting research.
I’ve attached some photos from Hongo; the first two show some of the campus buildings, while the second two show to photoemission spectroscopes.
Arrived early in the morning and spent the day wandering around Shiba Park and Harijuku.
Tokyo reminds me of Melbourne in many ways; similar architecture, similar layout and in other respects too. However, it is very quiet.
Not much else happened today.
I’ve never been overseas before, and know very little about Japan. Expectations are based off inferences from the schedule and last years study tour. This will be a very hectic 5 days.
I’m essentially organised to go at this point and I’ll be arriving shortly before the study tour actually starts.