The Institute of Materials Structure Science (IMSS) was founded in 1997, as one of 19 Inter-University Research Institutes belonging to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. The Inter-University Research Institute is leading academic research in national universities and specialized research organizations, by performing collaborative research among its member groups and international collaborators. The IMSS is pioneering a new field called materials structure science.
In materials structure science, we can determine atomic-level and electronic structures of any material, including living systems, natural and artificial materials, and even materials from outer space. Knowledge of these material structures makes it possible to synthesize new materials for technological development.
In the 20th century, the science of materials was based on the extraction of components contained within the materials themselves. However, the characterization of each component is not sufficient to fully understand the properties of materials, because they have multi-functionalities, and the interactions of components govern this phenomenon. A key concept in materials structure science, starting around the turn of the 21st century, is the multi-characterization of the multi-functionality of materials. The IMSS leads materials structure science by combining scientific skills and knowledge via our unique research environment, which utilizes multi-quantum beams, such as photons, neutrons, muons, and positrons in the study of materials.