BreakThrough Interview

Supporting development through the technology and knowledge of Nanotechnology. Become a reliable business partner as a “famous supporter”!Microphase Co.,Ltd

2018.09.13

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Representative Director Keishin Ota. You can say the developmental power of Microphase is thanks to Mr. Ota’s long life of research and experience

summary

  • Supports business research development with solid experience and knowledge
  • Knows the importance of taking on a challenge and being aggressive
  • Works on scales equal to the likes of much larger companies due to development support he’s given larger companies

Microphase Co., LTD. is a nanotechnology research development venture business that got its start at Tsukaba University. Established in 1999 with a motto of ‘Research Development that Helps’, the company is focused on providing technological support through research development and practical implementation. Flexible to the changing needs of a moving market of carbon nanotubes, nano materials, and nanotechnology, they continue their research while striving to be at the cutting edge of technology.

Starting with composite carbon nanotube devices, this same company has expanded their range of technological support through the development of many devices and services. Their newest device is the ‘Spinner’ that applies a carbon film to the surface of particle samples via CVD (chemical vapor deposition). Let’s take a look at the development of this ‘Spinner’ that was born from nanotechnology knowledge while delving into the life of Ota Keishin, CEO.

‘Spinner’ that applies a carbon film to the surface of particle samples via CVD (chemical vapor deposition), their newest device.

Lithium Battery Development to Increase Battery Life

According to Mr. Ota, the world will not be able to function without batteries in this coming age of electric cars. Thus, thrust into the limelight of science is the lithium battery.
In order to increase the battery life of lithium batteries, the negative electrode material graphite must be replaced with silicon, which has ten times the amount of battery capacity. In order to put the silicon to use, carbon films must be applied to the silicon particles, because carbon has conductivity silicon simply cannot match, and the applied film greatly increases the durability of the silicon.

The one problem with applying carbon film to the silicon is that it creates unevenness on the surface of the silicon particles. In order to mitigate this problem, the ‘Spinner’ was developed. The ‘Spinner’ agitates the silicon while carrying out CVD (chemical vapor deposition). Without agitation, the carbon can adhere to the surface, but will not go very deep. This device allows for the even application of film via the agitation that occurs from spinning the reaction tube. It is only one step in the development of batteries, but Mr. Ota says it is a crucial step in increasing battery life.

View through a transmission electron microscope. Using the Spinner, a 6 nanometer film of carbon can be applied to the silicon

Putting that Solid Technology Research and Experience to Full Use

While Microphase does not develop lithium batteries, they use their acquired nanotechnology research and knowledge to their full extent in order to support product and service development for businesses. Microphase’s strength is grasping that ‘something’ larger business are missing in their research development.

Doing What Larger Companies Can’t, and What Companies in the Same Trade Won’t

Many cases brought to Microphase concerning the support of technological development of products and services are those where the client, usually a larger company, does not know exactly how to deal with them. Although business used to commit more energy to training facilities for technological development, that basic groundwork does not seem to exist in many business any longer. Due to this, cases are regularly brought to Microphase as if they were a shelter for troubled companies.

Another large part of the cases brought to Microphase are those that other research development companies refused, or simply did not have enough experience to be confident in their endeavors. General business often turn down cases in which they have no experience in that particular field, but there’s not a smidgen of such negativity at Microphase. Even when no clues to how a case can be solved are apparent, the case is taken on carefully, examining every possibility by asking things like ‘What if I did that?’ or ‘How about trying this?’ and thinking of possible solutions through trial and error. Clients have a great appreciation for this attitude, and it seems to have built relationships of trust for Microphase.

The reason why Microphase can bravely do what big companies can’t and similar companies won’t is all thanks to the technology development experience and knowledge mentioned before. With that kind of performance under their belt, they can effectively tackle problems even in fields where they might not have as much knowledge as others. Of course, the challenging spirit of the company and aggressive attitude to tackle new problems is a large factor as well.

The Crucial Role of the Supporter that Lets the Main Act Shine

Microphase doesn’t participate in the common efforts of marketing to scope out the needs of the world, nor do they partake in product development, creation, or sales for the market.
Most of their clients are large companies, and they take a stance off center stage in a role that supports and promotes the big names. Microphase supports these companies with technology research that is the axis of nanotechnology, and they can truly be called the unsung heroes of the industry.

While supporting technology research is Microphase’s main effort, they don’t stop at the development or creation of a single constituent or product. Microphase works on the same scale as larger companies while zeroing in on their main focus, technology development. Seeing as Microphase does not need to expend any resources on manufacturing or sales and the factory and storage space or man power that comes with them, they can work freely and truly focus on their core business.

As for future developments, Microphase has their sights set on expanding overseas to China and other countries. Mr. Ota also says that it is necessary they make more connections.
Certainly we can expect a lot out of Microphase in their new supporting role on the stage overseas.

Interview Date: August 21, 2018

company information

We are a venture business launched by Tsukuba University, and our core business consists of the research and development of nanotechnology. We will support the R&D and practical application business of customers in the technological front. We will fully understand the purpose and needs of customers, and based on that we will actively propose the shortest route to achieving their goals. We will not only make use of the abilities we have accumulated until now, but we will also strive to acquire new knowledge and abilities by challenging ourselves in new areas.

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