WPI-AIMR of Tohoku University
Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems
In the year 2007 the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, MEXT, established the program “World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative”.
The WPI Program, as it is called for short, provides concentrated support for projects to establish and operate research centers that have at their core a group of very high-level investigators.
These centers are to create a research environment of a sufficiently high standard to give them a highly visible presence within the global scientific community, that is to create a vibrant environment that will be of strong incentive to frontline researchers around the world to want to come and work at these centers. Four of such research centers have been created. One of them is the Advanced Institute of Materials Research (WPI-AIMR) at the Tohoku University. Tohoku University is located in Sendai, 300 km to the north of Tokyo.
WPI-AIMR consists of four research groups. The four research groups, or thrusts, implement joint projects and aim at creating breakthrough research by doing fusion research. Although it is important, as a matter of course, for them to deepen their studies in each specific area or research field to produce cutting-edge results, discoveries of totally new phenomena and the creation of completely original ideas is more often generated from the fusion between different fields. It is thought that cluster structure exists through glue and interface science and atomic and molecular manipulation are the fundamental academia, which are developed into useful materials by MEMS and NEMS for example.
WPI-AIMR has adopted a unique method of appointing the world’s leading researchers as research leaders, or what is termed Principle Investigators (PI). Prof. Geßner, Director of Fraunhofer ENAS, has been selected as one of PIs.
Since November 2008 the research group of Professor Geßner at the Tohoku University takes shape. At that time Dr. Yu-Ching Lin has been employed as Assistant Professor to start the actual research work. After a starting phase to setup the group in 2008 the basic research contents of the Gessner group have been defined. They include the application of metallic glasses for MEMS devices, fabrication and use of nanoporous metals as well as development of bonding and integration technologies.
Metallic glasses are amorphous alloys that exhibit glass transition point. In comparison with most metals, metallic glasses have high strength, superior elastically limit, anticorrosion and good wear resistance. Although the research in this field is not going on for a long time already micro structures as used in MEMS could have been successfully created.