The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr. 2013)


Recognition for world-leading research in attosecond science

Associate Professor Hiromichi Niikura (Faculty of Science and Engineering) wins the JSPS Prize

Associate Professor Hiromichi Niikura (Faculty of Science and Engineering) won the 9th (2012) JSPS (Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science) Prize which awards and supports outstanding young researchers. The prize was established with the goal of raising academic research in Japan to the world’s top level. It is awarded to young researchers who possess richly creative, outstanding research ability and who are active in all fields including the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. By awarding such young researchers at an early stage, the prize seeks to increase motivation towards research. Associate Professor Niikura was selected as one of 24 prize-winners from among 371 candidates.

Associate Professor Niikura proposed and demonstrated a revolutionary method for measuring the movement of the atomic nuclei and electrons which compose molecules. In the method, lasers are used to extract electrons from the molecule being measured and the electrons are used as a measurement probe. This is one method which enables molecule measurement in attoseconds (one quintillionth (10^-18) of a second). The method has been recognized for measuring the movement of atomic nuclei inside of molecules with attosecond precision, and for succeeding in assessing changes in the distribution (wave function) of electrons.

“Through a method using the process of re-colliding electrons, I am very pleased to have contributed to the application to attosecond science and related construction from an early stage,” said Associate Professor Niikura when expressing his happiness at receiving the award. “In the future, I will continue to conduct research based on new concepts.”