Sumio Iijima

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飯島澄男 Sumio Iijima
Born (1939-05-02) May 2, 1939 (age 78)
Koshigaya, Saitama
Nationality Japan
Fields Nanotechnology
Known for High resolution electron microscope and Carbon nanotubes
Notable awards See below.

Sumio Iijima (飯島 澄男 Iijima Sumio, born May 2, 1939) is a Japanese physicist, often cited as the inventor of carbon nanotubes. Although carbon nanotubes had been observed prior to his "invention", Iijima's 1991 paper generated unprecedented interest in the carbon nanostructures and has since fueled intense research in the area of nanotechnology. For this and other work Sumio Iijima was awarded, together with Louis Brus, the inaugural Kavli Prize for nanoscience in 2008.

Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1939, Iijima graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1963 from the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo. He received a Master's degree in 1965 and completed his Ph.D. in solid-state physics in 1968, both at Tohoku University in Sendai.

Between 1970 and 1982 he performed research with crystalline materials and high-resolution electron microscopy at Arizona State University. He visited the University of Cambridge during 1979 to perform studies on carbon materials.

He worked for the Research Development Corporation of Japan from 1982 to 1987, studying ultra-fine particles, after which he joined NEC Corporation where he is still employed. He discovered carbon nanotubes in 1991[1] while working with NEC. He is also a University Professor at Meijo University since 1999. Furthermore, he is the Honorary AIST Fellow of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Distinguished Invited University Professor of Nagoya University.

He was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics in 2002, "for the discovery and elucidation of the atomic structure and helical character of multi-wall and single-wall carbon nanotubes, which have had an enormous impact on the rapidly growing condensed matter and materials science field of nanoscale science and electronics."

He is a foreign associate of National Academy of Sciences, foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[2] Also, He is a Member of the Japan Academy.

Research Fields[edit]

Nano Science, Crystallography, Electron Microscopy, Solid-State Physics, Materials Science

Professional Record[edit]

  • 1968 - 1974: Research Associate, Research Institute for Scientific Measurements, Tohoku University, Sendai
  • 1970 - 1977: Research Associate, Department of Physics, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • 1977 - 1982: Senior Research Associate, Center for Solid State Science, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • 1979: Visiting Senior Scientist, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge
  • 1982 - 1987: Group Leader, ERATO Program, Research Development Corporation of Japan, Nagoya
  • 1987 – Present: Senior Research Fellow, NEC Corporation, Tsukuba (Joined NEC in 1987 as Senior Principal Researcher)
  • 1998 - 2002: Research Director, JST/ICORP "Nanotubulites" Project Tsukuba and Nagoya
  • 1999 – Present: University Professor, Meijo University, Nagoya
  • 2001 – 2015: Director, Nanotube Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba
  • 2005 – 2012: Dean, SKKU Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology (SAINT,, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Korea.
  • 2006 – 2009: Project Reader, NEDO “Carbon Nanotube Capacitor Development Project”
  • 2007 – Present: Distinguished Invited University Professor of Nagoya University, Nagoya
  • 2008 – 2012: Distinguished Invited Chair Professor for World Class University (WCU) Program, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Korea.
  • 2015 – Present: Honorary AIST Fellow, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)



Major Awards[edit]


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