Message archive

Turning on the light

posted Mar 9, 2015, 6:27 PM by 田中千秋   [ updated Mar 10, 2015, 1:02 AM ]

I used to view light as something simply to view something else by. The messenger which, by itself, is not the important thing. Light bouncing off something tells you something is there. Light through a lens is bent into an image, and recorded, and again tells you something is there. I think this is the most common view of light. As a kid I was interested in mechanical things, and needed light in order to find the screw, needed light to read the green phosphor display on our now ancient Apple II, but didn’t really notice how light interacts with things. These interactions are right there in front of us but unless pointed out are easily missed. The phosphor-based tv that we all watched is a complicated dance of electrons and photons, and its reverse process, the photoelectric effect, wasn’t even discovered until 100 years ago. Even just the simple process of light scattering can lead to a beautiful sunset, a rainbow, and the rich tones in a photograph. But as scientists we always look deeper, and looking deeper at scattering shows the scattered light can carry the actual molecular signature of the compound that scattered it. Strong light fields can change the material world in a way that then changes the light, in a complex feedback loop. Even in your body, light is the conduit for one of the most deep cognitive interactions you have with the external world. When you see something, you see the distribution of photons, arranged by space and separated by energy into bins of color, converted into electrical signals by your eye, and then mapped into a 3d representation of the world by neurological systems that we still don’t fully understand.
Such is the nature of light. While it is fascinating to dwell on how such wiggles in electromagnetic field pervade our life, on a more practical side, scientists usually need to produce something of use. This means in a laboratory, we push towards not only understanding, but manipulating and analyzing fields of light. To go further, we exploit the interactions between light and the material world. This can produce higher resolution in microscopes, light-switchable interactions to assay specific molecular changes, or unlock new communications technologies. My view on it all has more or less evolved from “please turn on the light so I can see what I’m doing” to the current state where “light is what I am doing”.

March, 10th, 2015
Nicholas Smith
Immunology Frontier Research Centre

The 5th super light school / 第5回こども科学の教室 スーパー光塾

posted Feb 9, 2015, 10:25 PM by 田中千秋   [ updated Feb 10, 2015, 12:36 AM by 倉田早織 ]

Calculus, quantum mechanics and theory of relativity. We always face some difficult words and complicated mathematics when studying science. But I think the original aim of studying science was quite simple. When we see a new phenomenon, we just feel why the strange but interesting phenomenon happens and think if there are any rules. I think that’s the reason why ancient people started science. However, through our studying in junior high school to university with complicated theories and bothersome experiments, we no longer recall that kind of pure impressions, don’t we?

We held the 5th science school for kids called “the super light school” on Nov. 24th 2014.The pure impressions have come up in my mind when seeing the kid’s smiles and their looks of amazement. The super light school offers kids classes with experiments on light and provides interesting toys using nature of light. In this time, more than 300 children applied to attend for 50 seats. We have 40 staffs for the 50 kids and all the staffs are students and postdocs in Osaka university. We focused to let the kids know the fun and fundamental science of light 7 months before.
The 5th super light school provided 5 classes which could connect the nature of light to the kids' interests. (Website: ) 

Here I would like to introduce an example “enlarger ray gun with glass ball”. To project enlarged images or movies on a wall, we usually use a projector. And lens are usually used for projector to enlarge images. We prepared a hand-made kit which replaced the lens and the light source with a glass  ball and LED light, respectively. Kids contracted the kits by themselves and drew something on a plastic board which they wanted to enlarge. When illuminating the drawing of kids by the enlarger ray gun, the drawings were projected all over the wall. The kids were so excited and smiled with their enlarged drawings.
Hope the kids who attended to the super light school remember these experiences and the joy of science through our classes when they grow up.Thank you very much for joining our 5th super light school!!

Ryosuke OKETANI, Kawata Laboratory





河田・藤田研究室 博士後期課程1桶谷亮介

Hatsuyume: my first dream of the New Year/初夢 2015

posted Jan 4, 2015, 9:08 PM by 田中千秋   [ updated Jan 4, 2015, 10:08 PM ]

Hatsuyume: my first dream of the New Year  Jan. 1, 2015

Artist is my longed-for job. I had longing to be a painter or a photographer. It is only a fantastic story, though, as I had never learned painting at classes and art clubs. Even taking nice photos at all, I have bought lots of cameras so far. I have chosen the Applied Physics Department of Osaka University, because I knew that it is well-known in the study of "light". I was fascinated at the pure color of the laser in the laboratory experiment. After being assigned to a laboratory, I concentrated on development of photographs in a dark room, occasionally, all day long forgetting all about the time. When photos were emerging on printing papers under an enlarger, I was thrilled always by myself. Also I was fascinated by starry sky and micrographs. Dissertation was a study of image processing. The theme was to restore from a blurred photo a sharp image by means of applied mathematics. At that time, AFM, femtosecond laser and blue LED were not invented and fluorescent proteins were not discovered and there were no personal computers and CCDs. Only soldering iron, punch card and paper tape reader and photographic development in darkroom were available technologies. Still there was no air conditioning in the laboratory.

Time passed and it is now in 2015. Even now, I am fascinated by the world 1) of color and form light makes. Developing microscopes to see much smaller things than I could see when I was a student, we are keen to see,   read and manipulate nano world by utilizing photon. Such an idea could be out of date, but Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the year 2014 was awarded to super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. My research is not related with observing stained fluorescent molecules, but is super-resolution microscopy to image the Raman scattered light from molecules constituting the substance using a metal needle with nano-scale apex. I dream to see natural and artificial world as they were with nano-scale resolution. This year, 2015, is 200 years after the Fresnel‘s wave theory of light and 150 years after the Maxwell’s electromagnetic wave theory of light and thus it is to celebrate as "international year of light" all over the world. It is privilege of Osaka University Photonics Center to participate these events and to support as a sponsor, only one from Japanese universities so far. My dream may not be bad as I think. What is your Hatsuyume? Is it likely to come true?

Satoshi Kawata

Executive Director of Photonics Center, Osaka University

初夢 Jan. 1, 2015



1)河田 聡 「三四郎が見た光と色の科学」 Oplus E:2009年1月号

build a worldwide student network through student conference / 学生カンファレンスで世界に広がるネットワークを作る

posted Sep 30, 2014, 4:46 PM by 田中千秋   [ updated Sep 30, 2014, 6:16 PM ]

Hello, I am Takayuki Umakoshi, the president of Osaka University OSA/SPIE student chapter. Last year, our chapter and Photonics Center organized the student conference “Asia Student Photonics Conference 2013” to build student networks among Asian countries. This year, we had a theme “Expand the network from Asia to the world”.

After due deliberation, our chapter decided to hold the IONS in Hokkaido University because it is actively taking place worldwide, and IONS has been never held in Japan!  Also, the international conference “JSAP-OSA joint symposia” was held right after this student conference in Hokkaido University. So, we thought that it could bring more students who were planning to attend the symposia to the IONS. Moreover, because we could collocate JSAP Student Meeting and Asia Core Student Meeting, we could invite more students in wide range network. We have no doubt that these factors led to successful result to make this conference attractive for many students from all over the world, and also to achieve our goal. We are very pleased to host IONS, and to have this opportunity. Besides, we also organized Asia Core Student Meeting 1st round at Photonics Center in Osaka before the Hokkaido meeting. The past two years, we have made strong network through the Asia Core student seminars in Osaka. The 1st round gave us the wonderful opportunity to reinforce the student network with our neighbor countries in Asia too.

              It was a four-day conference in total, which is the longest event we have ever held, and 63 students attended from 11 countries worldwide. More than two-third of them were foreign students, and we got attendees even from the outside of Asia such as the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Morocco and Armenia, which made this conference more international. Furthermore, we prepared the special conference program which attendees were able to easily build networks through. We are very sure that we built the huge student network spreading all over the world.

              I believe that this great success could not happen without the strong network among our chapter members. Most of all things have been done by students such as preparation for conference room, invitation of speakers and funding. Even though chapter members were very busy with their own research, we have cooperated with each other for the success of this conference. We could make this great conference successful thanks to the strong network among chapter friends who have spent hard but fun research life together. Through organizing this conference, I could have learned the power of the network more than I expected.

              I wish the power of the network built in the IONS among students will contributes to developments on science and society in the near future.

October 1st, 2014
Takayuki Umakoshi, the president of Osaka University OSA/SPIE student chapter

大阪大学OSA/SPIE学生チャプター代表の馬越です。昨年、アジア圏の学生間ネットワーク構築を目指しAsia Student Photonics Conference 2013を学生チャプターとフォトニクスセンターで開催しました。そして今年、我がチャプターは「ネットワークをアジアから世界へ」という目標を掲げました。

 世界中から学生に来てもらうためにはどうしたらと考え、今回IONSという世界的に活動している学生会議(今回が日本初!)に学生チャプターはチャレンジしました。国際会議JSAP-OSA joint symposiaに付随する形で北海道大学にて開催したのも、世界中から参加者を呼び込むためです。さらに、JSAP Student Meeting(応用物理学会学生チャプター主催)とAsia Core Student Meeting(大阪大学学生チャプター・フォトニクスセンター主催)を同時開催することによって、学生コミュニティの垣根を越えた大規模なネットワークの構築を目指しました。もちろん過去2年アジアコアセミナーを開催して築いてきた近隣国であるアジアの学生間の関係を深めるのも大事です。上記会議の前にはフォトニクスセンターにてAsia Core Student Meeting 1st roundも開催しました。




大阪大学 OSA/SPIE 学生チャプター代表  馬越 貴之

The Eyes Say More Than the Mouth? / 目は口ほどに物を言う?

posted Aug 18, 2014, 12:10 AM by 田中千秋   [ updated Sep 4, 2014, 12:08 AM ]

Last year my eyesight suddenly worsened, deteriorating to less than 0.1 vision even with correction.
When I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong, I was told the eye lenses were distorted.
Surgery was performed immediately to partially remove the lenses and insert artificial ones.
During the operation, the movement of the eyeballs was stopped, but the operation began with my seeing as I normally see.
Then it felt like I was inside a tunnel of light.
When the bandages were removed three days after the operation…everything looked distorted!
A 350ml can of beer on the supermarket shelf looked like a mini-sized 250ml can.
I felt cheated.
Was the surgery a failure?
Would my eyesight remain this way for the rest of my life?
At the time I was fairly depressed about the situation, but now—more than six months later—it’s absolutely no problem.
That’s right, you get used to it.
The performance of the human eyeball (lens) is essentially not very good—in fact, it’s said to be inferior to that of a QuickSnap disposable camera or even a toy camera.
At the stage that an image of even a straight line is formed in the retina, the line is not clear.
However, humans are capable of differentiating between straight and crooked lines.
According to biologists, this is because over many years a person sees many lines and their brain learns what is a “straight” line and makes corrections accordingly.
Moreover, humans use only the center of the eye lens, minimizing the effects of distortion as far as possible.
To compensate, the eyeball moves extremely rapidly as the brain processes the image, creating balance.
In recent years, expectations have been held for glasses-shaped wearable terminals, and in the future, a day may come where it is possible to project everything in one’s field of view from a high image quality glasses-shaped flexible monitor.
When one looks directly at a certain point, the monitor automatically zooms in on that point, combining with a rear view to provide 360 degrees of vision; at first this would make you dizzy, but in six months the brain become accustomed to this new vision and it becomes indispensable…But this is not likely to happen for some time yet, is it?
But if life with a 100% wearable monitor were truly to become a reality…
At that time, the saying “The eyes say more than the mouth” will fall out of use as the wearable terminal will look into people’s eyes and obtain information directly.
When that happens, it may truly be the age of “the eyes saying more than the mouth”.

August 18th, 2014 Kazunari Kimino, Photonics Center 

2014年8月18日 フォトニクスセンター 君野 和也

A big discussion of "Cultivation of researchers and merit-based institute"; 45 participants debated actively in the 39th Colloquium on June 2nd / 「研究者育成と成果主義の研究機関」大討論会:6月2日第39回コロキアムで45人が白熱議論

posted Jun 3, 2014, 12:54 AM by 田中千秋   [ updated Jun 15, 2014, 4:31 PM by 倉田早織 ]

We held a debate session with the theme of "cultivation of researchers and merit-based institutes" and participants talked about "Dr. Obokata's case". We had the honor to invite a young researcher from Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Mr. Hisao Inoue of the freelance journalist, and Mr. Takeshi Nemoto from Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd. We could hear valuable opinions about "Dr. Obokata's
case" from each position of them.

Prof. Kawata presided this debate session as a moderator and 45 participants, which included teaching staffs(professors, associate professors, assistant professors etc.), companies, lab workers and students, exchanged their opinions actively. They debate about keywords like "Nature", "mass media", "national government", "MEXT", "copy & paste", "people on the Internet", "ethics education", "collaboration research", "fix-term researcher", "fix-term research institute", "female of 30 years old", "the ethical doctrine that human beings is fundamentally good against scientists", "reproducibility".

While a number of precarious postdoctoral have been "made" by the project of MEXT to produce ten thousands postdoctoral, they are also screened through accomplishments. There were some opinions that this social system made situations that researchers were doubted to fake the result of research, and actually some researchers did fake.

Prof. Kawata closed the session with pointing out the necessity of reforming system. A good example is Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Germany, which is gave assurance of autonomy by financial support from national government, states and private sectors.

We could find some feedbacks after the event. And one opinion from them said he was wondering the influence of Japanese nationality to this matter, what would happen if this matter had happened in United States. In another opinion, he said they should change the screening system in some areas  other people have difficulties to find someone's dishonesty. We are so pleased to have many feedbacks that said they could enjoy this colloquium to hear various thoughts or they wanted much more time to debate in questionnaire after the colloquium.

We thank all of you for participation.

June 3rd, 2014 Saori Kurata, Photonics Center





2014年6月3日 フォトニクスセンター 倉田 早織

Do you know the page of “Photonics Center e-learning”?/フォトニクスセンター e-ラーニングについて

posted May 6, 2014, 6:35 PM by 田中千秋   [ updated May 6, 2014, 6:58 PM ]

Hello, this is an information from the person in charge of "Photonics Center e-learning".
One month has already passed from a new school term and it feels like summer is on its way.
Today, I woud like to introduce “e-learning”on the Photonics Center web site.

● Photonics Center e-learning

There are several courses in Photonics Center e-learning.One is "Photonics Course" which you can learn about the Photonics from the basics to the cutting edge, the other is "Photonics Entrepreneurship Course" which is recommended for those who would like to be entrepreneurs. There is also a course you can take a look without registration.
Osaka University faculties, students, staffs and people who belong to Photonics Center member companies can access "Photonics Center e-learning" on the Web.If you belong to Osaka University, personal ID can be used through the Campus Authentication Service to access and watch the Photonics Center e-learning videos.If you belong to Photonics Center member companies, you can access the site with ID and password which will be issued after the submission of application initially.

Attractive scenarios for learners, experienced faculty teaching staff, and exhaustive information that merit repeated study-all of these factors  serve to simulate learners' desire to "look again and delve further."

Learners may access the course online at any time of the day. Since the videos are segmented into less than 20 minute sections, learners will not grow tired of repeated studying. And PC(Windows/Macintosh), Smartphones, Tablet PC(iOS/Android) are all available.

They are not only the Professional Photonics Courses but also the Entrepreneurship Courses and some other courses which would rather surprises you since there is the variety of courses. It is a benefit of only people who belong to Osaka University and Photonics Center member companies.

Please try to access it! We are looking forward to your visit!

May 7th, 2014 Chiaki Tanaka, Photonics Center e-learning
こんにちは。フォトニクスセンター eラーニング担当です。

●フォトニクスセンター eラーニング

フォトニクスセンター eラーニングは、フォトニクスの基礎から最先端まで学べる「フォトニクス講座」、そしてビジネスを考えている方におすすめの「フォトニクス起業講座」を公開しています。その他、ログインせずに見られる一般公開講座もあります。

フォトニクスセンター eラーニングは、大阪大学関係者の方とフォトニクスセンターのパートナー企業の方に開講しております。





2014年5月7日 フォトニクスセンター 田中 千秋


posted Feb 25, 2014, 8:54 PM by parc osaka   [ updated Feb 25, 2014, 9:35 PM ]

I have always been wondering why the society in Japan is so harmonious. People are so kind and willing to serve the society well.

 One of many aspects I notice is braille writing that is named after its inventor Louis Braille. It is almost everywhere in Japan. You can easily find it on stair armrest, sidewalk, pedestrian crossing button and so on. Even it is imprinted on a beer can, which leaped to my eyes recently. I am amazed and moved by the great care behind the seemingly "trivial dots”. It reflects the common sense of care here. This care is circulated among the most people into every corner in the cities. In fact, it is not only the braille, but also the way of mutual humility and respect, help people to establish understanding with each other. People who live in such a caring environment must feel equal and happy. It touches me as well and makes me love this society.

 Everyday in Photonics Center, I see the braille on the stair armrests and feel everyone and everything being harmony. Photonics Center is a harmonious small society, like photons with energy into resonance. I love being working here and act as one of the photons resonant with the others to help Photonics Center irradiate its big energy.

 February 26, 2014 Jun Yu, Photonics Center


私がひとつ気づいた点は、発明者であるルイ ブライユが名前の由来になっているBraille(点字)です。階段の手すりや歩道、横断歩道側のボタンなど、ほとんどどこにでもあります。ビールの缶にさえも印字されていることに気づき、最近驚きました。また、この一見すると“小さな点”に十分な配慮をしていることに心動かされました。この心配りはこの日本での共通感覚を現しており、人々の至るところに流れています。実は、点字だけではなく、謙虚さや相手を敬う気持ちが相互理解を構築する手助けになっています。このような相手を思いやる環境で暮らす人々は穏やかで幸せに違いありません。このことは私の心に響き、そしてこの社会が好きになりました。



2014226日 フォトニクスセンター 余 俊

3つの深い教訓/Three Profound Lessons

posted Jan 27, 2014, 3:52 PM by フォトニクスセンター eラーニング   [ updated Jan 27, 2014, 3:53 PM ]

On August 8th, 2013, I began my six-month sabbatical leave research in Photonics Center, Osaka University. In addition to my research study in the field of tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, I have learned three profound lessons.

First, my visiting experience to Photonics Center was that one could immediately understand why the research programs here are world class. As I went to several laboratories and saw advanced experimental techniques on biomedical and plasmonic images as well as nanophotonics, there were either postdoctoral fellows or Ph.D. students from all corners of the world giving me clear answers to many of my naive questions. I was truly impressed that Photonics Center promotes the research projects with initiative, innovative, and intellectual characters.   

Second, I participated in a number of research and educational activities, for example, UV-DUV Plasmonics and Nanophotonics Workshop, Photonics Center e-learning, and 4th Photonics Kid’s school. These activities were spiritually led by Prof. Kawata and actively developed with students, faculty, and staff members in Photonics Center. The mission of these activities is to attract and nurture young talent covering from graduate students to elementary school students. Such strategy is a perfect fit with what Confucius said: teach in line with the student’s ability.

Third, thinking further about the key elements embedded in Photonics Center, the first one is diversity and the second one is continuity. The diversity is a nature outcome of globalization and action in Photonics Center. This creates value by opening minds and thoughts. The continuity is linked with patience. Results of excellent research need long-time efforts supported by Photonics Center. Where there is a will, there is a way.  

I am very pleased that I acquire a bunch of harvest from my visit. Most importantly, many thanks for the warm hospitality I receive from everyone at Photonics Center.

Hsiang-Lin Liu, Professor of Physics, NTNU, Taiwan


第二に、私は数多くの研究や教育活動、例えば、UV- DUVプラズモニクス ナノフォトニクス ワークショップ、フォトニクスセンターeラーニング、そして第4回こども科学の教室スーパー光塾に参加しました。これらの活動は河田教授に率いられ、フォトニクスセンターの学生、教員、スタッフにより積極的に開発されました。これらの活動の使命は、大学院生から小学生に及ぶ若い才能を引き付け、育成することです。生徒の能力に沿ったものを教える:このような戦略は、孔子の教えとぴったり一致します。



国立台湾師範大学 劉 祥麟 物理学 教授

Harvesting Three years

posted Dec 26, 2013, 4:22 PM by フォトニクスセンター eラーニング   [ updated Dec 26, 2013, 11:30 PM ]

Seven years have passed since the PARC Project began; I and everyone else involved are seven years older. Children who were in elementary school when the project was launched now visit the P3 Building as Osaka University students. I am filled with gratitude towards everyone who has supported the project over these past seven years: partner companies, Osaka University researchers, and project staff. I recall the difficulties I caused everyone when I said that I would not take the position of executive director despite proposing the PARC Project after reflecting on the failure of the previous Osaka Frontier Research Organization.

At the time of the project's establishment, we set up an office sign at the entrance to the Kawata research laboratory, and so the project was like a laboratory program. Subsequently, we were able to borrow rooms in the Applied Physics Research Building (P2) and bring together many colleagues. The Photonics Center Building (P3) was then constructed, providing us with a many experiment facilities as well as seminar rooms and clean rooms, etc. 

The next three years will be a time for harvesting the fruits of our efforts. My paper on plasmon sensors was presented to the Japan Society of Applied Physics in 1986 (the English language version was published in 1988), and a patent obtained for the near-field scanning optical microscope using a metallic probe tip in 1992 (English language paper was published in 1994). Some 25 years have passed since then, and nowadays people in the fields of physics, chemistry, and biotechnology who are not specialists in this area are now familiar with the term "plasmon". I intend for the next three years to be years in which we harvest the fruits of our plasmon research efforts and contribute these to society, and then to seek further development of these results. This new year we will again aim to radically generate innovation, and so I ask for your continuing support of our activities.

December, 27th, 2013
Satoshi Kawata, Executive Director, Photonics Center



フォトニクスセンター長 河田 聡

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