(1) Basic researches on energy conversion mechanism and creation of materials with application of plasma
We have examined the possibility of creation of new material through nano-level shape controllability of electrode material under electro-hydraulic plasma environment. We have succeeded in refining spherical nano-balls include ultrafine particles smaller than 10 nm in diameter, by using cathode materials such as Ni, Ti, Ag, and Au (Fig. 1). This method is expected to realize a high-quality, mass productive, and low-cost refining process that exceeds existing both gas-phase and liquid-phase methods.
(2) Basic research of material by utilizing quantum beam
We are trying to install a laser-light irradiation system on MB-HVEM with existing ion accelerators. From the viewpoint of nano-scale observation or creation of new materials under nonequilibrium environment, it is thought useful to apply quantum beams of electron, ion and laser light onto material, successively or simultaneously. Outside an electron microscope, a series of irradiation experiments are now performing onto carbon powder sprayed on collodion polymer film, carbon slab and iron-platinum alloys slab, for obtaining quantitative estimation of laser-light irradiation effect in an electron microscope. Results show the creation of ultrafine carbon particles and nano-pit pattern on both surfaces of carbon and iron-platinum.
(3) Material development for high efficiency quantum energy conversion and nuclear energy utilization
Since SiC/SiC composite material is expected as heat-resistant material in the core of gas-cooled fast breeder reactor, we have developed a new sample holder for dynamically in-situ testing of crack propagation in TEM and examined the route of crack propagation by actually generating crack in sample (Fig. 2).
Moreover, we are undertaking researches of reactor materials for the development of next-generation nuclear reactors ensuring both safety and high-efficiency, and for the supply of new nuclear energy source.