Tag Archives: tokyo university

The Third Day: At the Kashiwa Campus

Today we visited the University of Tokyo Kashiwa campus. The first thing to notice about this campus was its large size and spacious design, especially compared to the older Hongo campus. It contained many different laboratories and institutes for specific areas of study in physics, rather than a single physics faculty. This definitely gave me the impression that the University of Tokyo takes its physics research very seriously, and devotes a lot of resources to it.

First we were guided through the Transdisciplinary Sciences Laboratory by Mr Kotaro Yamazaki, who explained to us the research done on plasma for the purpose of investigating its use in nuclear fusion. This lab left a good first impression on me, with its advanced technology and interesting work.

Next we were guided through the Itani Laser laboratory of the Institute of Solid State Physics by Mr. Florian Geier, where we learned about High Harmonic lasers with incredibly short-timed pulses, and his efforts to develop amplifiers and other laser equipment. After that, we had lunch with Mr. Geier at a sushi store on campus, where it was confirmed that I cannot use chopsticks.

Next Dr. Misato Hayashida guided us through the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research. Here she explained to us gravitational waves as well as a potential method of measuring them using a very large, underground Michelson interferometer. To further demonstrate this concept, we constructed small interferometers and used the optical signal to listen to music.

Finally, we got an introduction to the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, where physicists and mathematicians combine approaches to solve astronomic problems. We had the opportunity to participate in tea time where everyone gathers for a short coffee or tea break in order to discuss their research and foster collaboration. Ms. Midori Azawa then gave us a short tour of the building. This was a highlight of the day, observing how people work together in this modern institute.

I was extremely impressed by the University of Tokyo, it contained some fantastic, state of the art physics laboratories with some cutting edge instruments. It is a place that I would love to study or work at in the future, given the opportunity.

Day 3: Modern Day Tokyo University

Wow. There is really no other way of referring to the Kashiwa Campus of Tokyo University.

This campus is only about 10 years old and is one of the most high tech places I have been. There is an incredible amount of research space with almost every field in physics having their own dedicated building. We were even lucky enough to be shown around to some of their “shiny toys”.

Easily my favourite for the day was seeing the ISSP Labs (Institute of Solid State Physics) and looking at some of the work which they are doing with lasers. I was especially glad I was able to talk with Florian, a German national who has been conducting research with TU for nearly 2 years. Talking to him about how he was able to set up this opportunity and how he has dealt with the change of country was really informative.

The other labs we also just as exciting. I particularly enjoyed the Astronomy Lab where they had a great collaboration between physicists and mathematicians as a way of achieving the best possible results.

Here are a few cool pictures of that lab.

This is a cool little trick they use with mirrors to create a 3D effect.
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And here is the view from their Roof Lecture Theatre
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We ended the day with a good little discussion about the Nanotech expo with representatives from the Victorian Business Office in Tokyo and the researchers who will be presenting for Victoria.

I am definitely looking forward to this expo!

Day 3

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.

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Day 2

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.

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The Second Day

We woke up nice and early to meet the others at 9 am at the hotel lobby. From  the there, we made our way to the outskirts of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. We were not able to travel past the surrounding moat, so we observed from a distance before leaving to find some different sites. We walked around the Marunouchi district for a while, eventually finding the Bic Camera store. It was a very large electronics store, comprising of 8 levels including the basements. It was an interesting experience, similar to the Yodabashi Camera store in Akihabara.

After that, we traveled to the Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo, known locally as Todai. There we met for lunch with some of the physics students. They could speak English, so we were able to connect with them and have some interesting conversations.

After that, we had a look at some of the research laboratories at the University. The first contained photoemission spectroscopy equipment to study correlated electron systems. The second contained scanning tunneling microscopy equipment intended to study thin layer surface insulators. The second lab tour was particularly interesting, as we learned about new types of insulators as well as a 4 pronged STM tip.

After the University visit, we traveled back to the hotel to sign out for the day. We then visited the nearby Pokemon Center, before having dinner and returning to the hotel.

It was a fun day, and it was nice to meet some of the Japanese physics students. It was also interesting to see the research laboratories, which were very similar to those back in Melbourne. Tomorrow we visit the Kashiwanoha campus.

Day 2: Back to Uni

I was looking forward to going to Tokyo University and today was the day I was finally able to. Seeing how other Universities operate, especially one of such a high standard as TU was a very exciting experience.

But first, we had a lovely walk through the Imperial Gardens and then went on to visit BIC Camera… 6 floors of electronic bliss. Definitely a good culture experience.

Anyway, back to Tokyo University. The campus was incredible. Old school architecture, incredibly clean. Just an all round good atmosphere
We had a nice relaxed lunch with some of the Physics students, whose English was quite good which made my effort to speak Japanese rather low. But, I did have a couple of small conversations with them in Japanese.

After lunch we were lucky enough to visit two research labs, one being a photoemission spectroscopy lab and the other centred around scanning tunnelling microscopy. I definitely enjoyed the photoemission work more as it used lots of different crystal lattices and since my main interest is crystallography then this was an easy pick for my favourite part of the day.

Tomorrow will be a nice early trip out to a different TU campus so it will be great to be able to compare the two.

Looking forward to it 🙂