Light is useful for the measurement and treatment of living organisms (laser scalpel, eye surgery, etc.). In our group, studies on light-matter coupling processes and photochemistry related to light energy conversion are conducted, in search of bioengineering. In the research field of photochemistry, the new concept that molecules absorb a photon efficiently is now attracting attention as the “effective utilization of photons.” We have launched a new research field referred to as plasmonic chemistry which focuses on optical antennas (metallic nanostructures) that can enhance electromagnetic field by localized surface plasmon resonance as photochemical reaction fields that enhance light-matter coupling and allow for the effective utilization of photons. In this research, we have clarified the effects of light harvesting by metallic nanostructures and localizing it at nanometer-sized minute space as follows: Non-linear photochemical reactions become possible by a weak incoherent light source such as sunlight; and low-energy visible light and near-infrared light can be used for light-energy conversion systems such as solar cells and artificial photosynthesis.
Specific research themes include plasmonic chemistry-related subjects (near-infrared solar cells, artificial photosynthesis, plasmonic nanolithography, terahertz sensor, etc.), in which many laboratory members are involved, femtosecond laser processing, the development of hotonic devices, molecular manipulation by laser trapping, and the development of a microanalytical system for gene diagnosis (DNA fractionation chip).
- Development of a solar cell driven by infrared light that can penetrate living organisms (the cell is implanted into the living body, and can be charged by infrared light irradiation from outside the body)
- Molecular manipulation by laser trapping
- Development of a microanalytical system using microfabrication technology
- Development of microphotonic devices that can be applied to biomolecular microanalysis using femtosecond laser processing and photonic crystals