“Water” is one of the most essential substances which supports our basis of lives in various forms, and we, not only the human being but also all the life cannot survive without the benefit of water. It plays crucial roles to transfer oxygen, nutrition and waste, and to assist structuring and fulfilling cells, tissues and organs. Additionally, in industrial fields, it is of importance in drinking, cleaning, immersion, coating and so on. So, it is no exaggeration to say that water is the longest and most frequently used substance in our history. However, there are still plenty of unexplained issues in its properties, performance and function; especially, interaction between water and materials’ surface, namely “water interface”, is generally very complicated and particularly difficult to be fully understood (Fig. 1).
To tackle these issues, a former research center, Water Frontier Science and Technology Research Center (W-FST) was launched on November 2016 with Prof. Hiroharu Yui (Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science Division I). Through research activities of W-FST, it is found that the topic of “water interface” is crucial and is highly needed both for academics and industries. Then we concluded to keep our continuous challenges and progresses to these issues by expanding and deepening the fields. Now, the successive research center “Water Frontier Research Center (WaTUS)” is established after the reorganization on April 2021.
Fig.1 Various phenomena and applications of “Water Interface” from atomic/molecular scale to macroscale
We, WaTUS, aims to pursue leading-edge researches and developments relating to “Water Interface” with multi-disciplinarily collaborative researches. Our mission is to perform following missions (Fig. 2);
(i) Pursuit of state-of-the-art science and technologies of water interface by collaboration and technical excellence
(ii) Establishment of international research core of excellence
(iii) Provision of “one-stop service” of water researches for industries
(iv) Visualization of TUS through our research activities
Fig. 2 Strategies of WaTUS
Formation of research and development hub for “Water Interface” through our researches means to create the place where researchers all over the world can join and to establish research organization which can provide practical solutions to industries.
To carry out above-mentioned missions, highly intensive collaborations of fundamental researches and technical developments with researchers inside and outside of the center become a key.
Research organization of WaTUS
WaTUS promotes interdisciplinary collaborative researches to achieve our goals. We consist of matrix-based research units with approaches (Materials development, Measurement & Analysis, and Theory & Simulation) and targets (Materials & Water, Life & Water, and Environment & Water). In this 3 ´ 3 matrix-based research unit (Fig. 3), our center encourages researchers who develop novel materials with high functionality, ones who develop cutting-edge measurement and analysis techniques, and ones who perform advanced theoretical consideration and simulation, to perform intensively flexible collaborative studies expecting synergetic effects. Also, more flexible style of collaboration involving ones outside of the center are appreciated in this center.
Materials and Water : this unit pursues research and development considering relation between water and materials from atomic to macroscale
Life and Water : this unit pursues research and development contributing to human beings and medical diagnostics or medical and biological engineering
Environment and Water : this unit pursues research and development for environment and industries. Earth science and energy conservation is also included in this unit.
Fig. 3 Matrix-based research units in WaTUS
Future Development Goals
To promote advanced researches on water interface by collaboration, and to form a research organization offering one-stop service for water science and technology.
Water is one of the most familiar substances but there are many unexplained issues, especially around the interface with materials surface. We, WaTUS, tackle these researches relating to “water interface” by interdisciplinary approaches and aim to provide practical solutions to industries as well.