From soft matter physics to materials geometry. Creating a new academic field.

Soft matter physics and soft matter quasicrystals

Soft matter is a class of materials including polymers (rubber, plastic, vinyl), colloids (cosmetics, foodstuff), liquid crystals (for TV and smart phone screens), and biological matter (DNA, cell membranes). Soft matter physics is the research of these materials within the discipline of physics. It was believed that there were only two kinds of solids: crystals, in which atoms and molecules are arranged regularly; and glass, in which they are aligned randomly. But in the 1980s, scientists discovered quasicrystals, which are not crystals but still have an enigmatic order in their structures. Quasicrystals have rotational and translational symmetries not allowed in crystals; for example, they have a structure related to equilateral pentagons.

A scientist's mission

Knowledge has been built up over the long history of humans, and important scientific facts discovered in the past have stood the test of time. That is exactly why these facts are significant and must remain the seeds of advancement of human knowledge. We pay respect to these past discoveries as we aspire to new knowledge that will shape our future. I believe that the research field of soft matter quasicrystals was created from scientists' duty to endeavor to create new knowledge. It is my dream to expand this framework to a new perspective I call "materials geometry" and to continue to advance knowledge in this field.

Advice to those in pursuit of knowledge

I hope that young scientists will aim for the creation of new knowledge. This will lead to new realms of science that contribute to human culture. And I believe that ongoing efforts to create new knowledge will give birth to new forms of research activities at Kindai.

Tomonari Dotera
Professor, Department of Science

Affiliation: Department/ Physics Course,Science, Graduate school/ Science
Laboratory: Soft Matter Physics Laboratory

Career overview 1989–1994 Assistant Professor, Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tokyo
1990–1992 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
1994 Associate Professor, The Open University of Japan
2003 Associate Professor, Department of Polymer Chemistry, Kyoto University
2009 Professor, Department of Physics, Kindai University