Every moment of ultrafast chemical bonding now captured on film

The emerging moment of bond formation, two separate bonding steps, and subsequent vibrational motions were visualized.

Targeted cancer drugs work by striking a tight bond between cancer cell and specific molecular targets that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer. Detailed images of such chemical bonding sites or pathways can provide key information necessary for maximizing the efficacy of oncogene treatments. However, atomic movements in a molecule
have never been captured in the middle of the action, not even for an extremely simple molecule such as a triatomic molecule, made of only three atoms. A research team led by IHEE Hyotcherl of the Institute for Basic Science (IBS, South Korea) (Professor, Department of Chemistry, KAIST), in collaboration with scientists at the Institute of Materials Structure Science of KEK (KEK IMSS, Japan), RIKEN (Japan) and Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PAL, South Korea), reported the direct observation of the birthing moment of chemical bonds by tracking real-time atomic positions in the molecule. “We finally succeeded in capturing the ongoing reaction process of the chemical bond formation in the gold trimer. The femtosecond-resolution images revealed that such molecular events
took place in two separate stages, not simultaneously as previously assumed,” says Associate Director IHEE Hyotcherl, the corresponding author of the study. “The atoms in the gold trimer complex atoms remain in motion even after the chemical bonding is complete. The
distance between the atoms increased and decreased periodically, exhibiting the molecular vibration. These visualized molecular vibrations allowed us to name the characteristic motion of each observed vibrational mode.” adds Ihee.

>Read more on the KEK (Photon Factory) website

Image: Figure 2. (left) Time-dependent positions of the wave packet in the multidimensional nuclear coordinates were obtained from the femtosecond x-ray scattering experiment on a gold trimer complex. (Credit: Nature & IBS) (right) By inspecting the motion of the wave packet, it was revealed that the bond formation reaction in the gold trimer complex occurs through an asynchronous bond formation mechanism. (Yellow: gold atoms, gray: carbon atom, blue: nitrogen atom, 1000 times 1 fs is 1 picosecond (ps), 1000 times 1 ps is 1 nanosecond (ns))

Credit: KEK IMSS

Lab. Tour of KEK during international workshop

International Joint symposium of 3rd Innovative Measurement and Analysis for Structural Materials and TIA-Fraunhofer workshop

The conference was held at AIST from Oct.3 to Oct.6, 2017. This conference has been held as an annual meeting of Innovative Measurement and Analysis (TIA) Group in a national project: the Structural Materials for Innovation of the Cross ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) of Japan Science and Technology (JST). Researchers including ones from Fraunhofer Institute and University of Bristol, gave presentations and discussed their mutual interests in the field of advanced analytical techniques, non-destructive inspection, CFRP (carbon-reinforced plastic), and ceramic coating.

Prof. Yoshitaka Kimura received the Order of the Sacred Treasure

A disctinction for his long term contribution in the field of education and research activities

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Yoshitaka Kimura, Professor Emeritus of KEK, received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, from Japanese Government for his long term contribution in the field of education and research activities.

In 1966, he received a Ph.D. at University of Tokyo, and started his career as Research Associate, School of Science, at University of Tokyo. From 1967 to 1968, he developed experimental facilities for nuclear physics using cryogenics and superconductive technologies as Lecturer, School of Engineering. During 1970 and 1971, Dr. Kimura was engaged in the high energy physics experiments with Proton Synchrotron at CERN.

When National Laboratory for High Energy Physics (KEK), the predecessor of High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), was established in 1971, he came to KEK as Associate Professor. Then he joined design and construction of KEK‘s 12 GeV Proton Synchrotron (KEK-PS). Above all in the machine design, construction of beam transport system, and beam development studies, he played leading role and led KEK-PS to success.

A better quality of tomography images

A research group composed of Dr. Naoki Sunaguchi (Gunma University), Prof. Tetsuya Yuasa (Yamagata University), M.D. Rajiv Gupta (Massachusetts General Hospital), Shin-ichi Hirano (Mercian Cleantec Corporation, MiZ Company Limited), and Prof. Masami Ando (Tokyo University of Science and Emeritus Professor at KEK) developed a new algorithm to improve the quality of an X-ray phase-contrast image.

X-ray phase-contrast imaging can provide far higher contrast in soft tissue compared to classical absorption-based imaging. Many groups have been developing a variety of imaging methods for potential clinical use. All these imaging methods suffer from a common problem: severe imaging artefacts arise when x-ray phase alternation exceeds the dynamic range of the imaging system, typically in the vicinity of bones and dense calcifications. These artefacts are similar to the metal and beam-hardening artefacts seen in traditional attenuation-based X-ray computed tomography (CT) even though they tend to be more severe and have a different physical basis. A particularly worrisome part of this type of artifact is the fact that it spreads broadly across a wide area on CT image even when the dense tissue responsible for it localized.

>Read more on the Photon Factory website

Image: A rat foot model of rheumatoid arthritis. Left: Absorption image, Middle: Phase image using conventional algorithms, and Right: phase image employing the proposed algorithm. All images were taken at the BL-14C, Photon Factory, KEK.