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York welcomes top Japanese scientists

Posted on 20 June 2011

The leading international expert in the field of spintronic devices will deliver the 2011 Cantor Nanoscience Lecture at the University of York.

The open lecture by Professor Hideo Ohno from Tohoku University, Sendai on Monday, 27 June is the highlight of a three-day Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) York-Tohoku Research Symposium on “Magnetic Materials and Spintronics”.

Prof Ohno has been at the forefront of this field for more than 20 years.  He runs the best spintronics facility in the world.  We are very happy to collaborate with him through our joint EPSRC/JST funding.

Professor Kevin O'Grady

York academics are particularly pleased to welcome Professor Ohno and other colleagues from Tohoku University to the city after the devastation faced by the Sendai region in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in March.

Thirteen Japanese academics from Tohoku University and the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) will speak at the symposium, which will take place in the superb Ron Cooke Hub on the University’s Heslington East campus. Other Japanese guests include Professor Kozo Hiramatsu, the Director of JSPS and representatives from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).  JST fund two grants for collaboration between York and Tohoku and York and NIMS.

The annual lecture and workshop were initiated by the University of York’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor and Professor Akihisa Inoue, President of Tohoku University, following the signing of a formal co-operation agreement between the Universities five years ago. 

The event, from 27 to 29 June, organised by the University of York’s Departments of Electronics and Physics, will offer an excellent opportunity for both UK and Japanese researchers to access the latest research results and discuss these with world leaders in the field. 

Spintronics is one of the emerging fields in physics and electronics and is used intensively in magnetic recording in hard disk drives. Japan plays a leading role in high-quality film growth and device fabrication, while the UK leads in characterisation and modelling.  

Professor Cantor said: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome so many of our friends and colleagues from Tohoku University and other institutions to York for the joint symposium, especially in light of the on-going problems in Sendai. The workshop will provide an excellent platform for the sharing of ideas, knowledge transfer and research which will benefit both Japan and the UK.  The holding of this workshop reflects the standing of the University of York in this important field.”

In his public lecture “Spintronics meets semiconductor integrated circuits”, Professor Ohno will explain how the magnetic tunnel junction, a spintronics device, may provide the answer to the problems of power consumption and interconnection delay faced by semiconductor very-large-scale-integrated-circuit (VLSI) technology.

Professor Kevin O’Grady, from the University’s Department of Physics, said: “Prof Ohno has been at the forefront of this field for more than 20 years.  He runs the best spintronics facility in the world.  We are very happy to collaborate with him through our joint EPSRC/JST funding.”

Professor Ohno joined Tohoku University in 1994, where he is currently Director of Laboratory for Nanoelectronics and Spintronics. He has been a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP) since 2004, an honorary professor of the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2006, and a Fellow of the Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP) since 2007.

Other speakers at the two-day event will include Professors Koki Takanashi, Hiroaki Muraoka and Migaku Takahashi from Tohoku University, Professors Yashushi Yamauchi and Seiji Mitani from the National Institute of Materials Science in Tsukuba, Professor Burkard Hillebrands, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany and Professor Claudia Felser, Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany.  In addition six senior figures from other UK universities will also give talks.

One of the most anticipated lectures will be by Professor Migaku Takahashi who has recently made a stable magnetic compound of iron and nitrogen (Fe16 N2). Researchers from around the world have been trying to produce this material without success for 25 years.  This material has the strongest magnetic effect of any material but was found to be unstable.  Prof Takahashi’s breakthrough is to stabilise this new material.  This advance has important implications for alternative energy supplies since it will increase the amount of power generated by wind or wave turbines and make electric cars more efficient.  Importantly both iron and nitrogen are cheap and easily available unlike exotic rare earth materials that are currently used.

The symposium is funded through the JSPS Symposium Scheme for Japanese Researchers based in the UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). Representatives from these organisations will also be attending the event.  

The IEEE Magnetics Society and the Institute of Physics Magnetism Group have provided funding for students from other UK universities to travel to York for this important event.

Academics from Germany involved in a Japan-Germany Cooperative Programme are attending the symposium and will discuss future joint applications to the EU. The hope is to extend existing links between the UK and Japan to one between the EU and Japan.

Admission to the Cantor Nanoscience Lecture in the Ron Cooke Hub on 27 June at 5.30pm is by free ticket only, available from For further information email or phone 01904 322622.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322029

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