In addition to the R&D Center on the Suita Campus of Osaka University (Suita City, Osaka Prefecture), Nanophoton has a domestic base called the Tokyo Showroom in Minato Ward, Tokyo. Since I had only visited the Osaka office, I made the trip to Tokyo to visit the Tokyo Showroom. (e-mail Newsletter editor-in-chief / freelance writer Takeshi Nemoto)
5 minutes walk from Toranomon Hills Station
The Tokyo Showroom is a nine-minute walk from the Karasumori Exit of JR Shimbashi Station, a five-minute walk from Toranomon Hills Station Exit on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, and a six-minute walk from Onarimon Station Exit on the Toei Mita Line. The Jikei University Hospital and Toranomon Hills Mori Tower are located nearby. This time, we went to the Tokyo Showroom from Onarimon Station.
The Tokyo showroom is currently staffed by two employees. One of them, Mr. Katsuhito Aoki, Sales & Applications Engineer, welcomed us.
“We invite our customers to come and see our Raman microscope. They can actually touch it and see how easy it is to operate. We also have customers who are considering purchasing our products and bring samples for us to measure and compile into reports. We also receive consultations about measurements from customers who have purchased our products.
Many customers who have actually touched the device have commented on how small it is, how fast the measurements are, and how easy the software is to handle.
New product “RAMANwalk” was also installed.
In addition to the RAMANtouch laser Raman microscope, the showroom is also equipped with the new RAMANwalk random scanning confocal Raman microscope. If you come to our showroom, you can experience RAMANwalk.
Mr. Aoki: “RAMANwalk boasts the same spatial resolution as our highest performance RAMANtouch, but at a much lower price. Also, with the newly developed random scanning of the laser beam, images can be obtained in a fifth to tenth of the time of normal point scanning.
“So if you have a sample with multiple ingredients, you can see the approximate distribution as soon as you start measuring. Also, in the case of quality control, if there is even a small amount of a certain ingredient in the sample, we can use RAMANwalk and finish the inspection without waiting for all the measurements to be completed. I would like you to visit our showroom and see it in action.
Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul connected by Zoom
When we were shown the back room, there was a monitor showing the office in Osaka.
Nanophoton’s offices in Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul are always connected via Zoom, a web conferencing tool. Mr. Aoki said, “When I have a question I want to ask an employee in Osaka, I call out, ‘Hey. On the phone, I can’t see how busy they are, but since I can see their images, it’s easy to talk to them.
How is Mr. Aoki like at the Tokyo Showroom?
Dr. Aoki is 32 years old and was born in Ibaraki Prefecture. After graduating from the major course of Ibaraki National College of Technology, he went on to the graduate school of Tsukuba University to obtain his Ph. D. from the University of Tsukuba. “I joined a spectroscopy laboratory at the college of technology and took spectra of organic semiconductor thin films. That was the start of my life in spectroscopy. After my major course, I wanted to do more spectroscopy, so I joined a terahertz laboratory at the graduate school of Tsukuba University. After completing graduate school, he spent time as a postdoctoral fellow in Germany and Japan before joining Nanophoton in January 2019, where he currently works.
Mr. Aoki says that this is the first time he has used a Raman microscope since he joined the company. “The basic knowledge of optics is the same, so my past knowledge is useful. I learned about the equipment after I joined the company. Our customers are specialists in various materials, so I learn by listening to them.
Why did you choose a life in spectroscopy?
“It is interesting to see things that cannot be seen with an optical microscope at the molecular level when using spectroscopy. I would like to know what the substance is and the state of the substance.
In addition to samples from customers, he sometimes measures things around him to see what they are like. For example, he buys a loaf of bread with cream in it at a convenience store and measures the cream, or measures the container of cup noodles. “I’d like to try measuring the peotan, a Chinese dish, next time. I’d like to measure the peotan of Chinese food next time, because the Raman microscope should be able to show the denaturation of the protein,” she said, and I asked her to let me know the results. So I asked him to let me know the result. I may be able to report it here sooner or later.
I have talked with Mr. Aoki before on Zoom. When I met him in person, he was as friendly as my impression from that time. I wonder what kind of results I would get if I measured peanuts. But first, we need to measure boiled or raw eggs, right?