Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Open Facilities

Open Advanced Research Facilities Initiative (Project for Creation of Research Platforms and Sharing of Advanced Research Infrastructure)

Microscopic imaging platform for atoms and molecules

Promotion and expansion of the isotope microscope system installed at the Equipment Management Center for shared use by industry, academia and government.

Content of research

We invite, select and implement proposals for the effective use of stable isotope imaging technology, which is a special feature of the isotope microscope system, to expand it to industrial innovation.
Upon hearing the word, “isotopes,” the concept of “age measurement” immediately comes to mind. Actually, until now, isotope microscopes have been used to analyze isotope ratios, primarily in minerals and other areas of space science. This is a result obtained by observing the as-is cross-section of the obtained sample. However, by changing the concept of the measurement method, we can expand the use of isotope microscopes to industrial application. In other words, by actively doping a target sample with an isotope element, rather than observing it “as such,” it becomes possible to measure the desired imaging we were unable to see before. The use of stable rather than radioactive isotopes also allows us to work safely.

  • [Usage example] The use of the conventional method of labeling with fluorescent substances to observe the intracellular location of nucleic acid substances may cause changes in the chemical properties of the target substances.
    To solve this problem, we labeled nucleic acid substances with the stable 18O isotope and observed them with an isotope microscope, successfully observing their original localization. (Hamasaki et al., 2013, Nucleic Acids Research, 41 (12), e126, doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt344)

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Analyzing the localization of drugs in cultured cells
  • ・Observation of bone calcification
  • ・Visualizing substance transport processes in plants
  • ・Clarifying the progress rate of the cement hydration reaction
  • ・Analyzing impurities in semiconductors
  • ・Detailed analysis of the in-plane composition distribution of glass

Appealing points to industry and local governments

The Isotope Imaging Laboratory of the Creative Research Institution serves as a contact point, providing thorough support from application consultation to sample preparation, measurement and data evaluation.

Intellectual property related to this research