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Masataka Ohkubo

Director, Nanometronics Lab for Structural Materials

Supervisory Innovation Coordinator, Department of Electronics and Manufacturing and Tsukuba Innovation Arena
Nanoelectronics Research Institute
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

Visiting Professor, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK)
Visiting Professor, Tsukuba University

Dr. Masataka Ohkubo was appointed to the director of Research Institute of Instrumentation Frontier (RIIF), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in 2011. After reorganization, he became supervisory innovation coordinator of Tsukuba Innovation Arena (TIA) in 2013, and department of electronics and manufacturing, AIST, in 2015. He was also appointed as the director of AIST nanometronics lab for structural materials. The nanometronics lab was established to conduct the project of cross-ministerial strategic innovation promotion program - innovative measurement and analysis for structural materials (SIP-IMASM), which is one of the teams under the program of Structural Materials for Innovation (SM4I) operated by the cabinet office - government and Japan science and technology agency (JST). The SM4I focuses on aircrafts and power stations. The SIP-IMASM team is consisted of AIST, NIMS, University of Tsukuba, KEK, and University of Tokyo, and is also ranked as one of the projects under Tsukuba Innovation Arena (TIA). He was also appointed as visiting professor, faculty of pure and applied sciences, University of Tsukuba in 2015.

"Evolution from measurement into analysis with the dissemination of advanced instruments"

The efforts for seeing objects that are unmeasurable by conventional techniques contributes to the advancement of new materials development, industrial products, as well as sciences. However, just "seeing" that is measurement is not enough for providing solutions for problems in R&D and sciences. It is necessary to accumulate successful results of solving problems for evolution from measurement into analysis. In this course of efforts, our advanced measurement instruments are open to the public and we accept analysis requests from universities, research organizations, and industries. Standardization activities in IEC and ISO assist dissemination of new analytical instruments and analytical techniques.

My activities have been devoted to develop novel analytical instruments for life sciences, green technology, and safety by employing superconductivity. Some of our top-end analytical instruments are Mass Spectrometry (MS) and X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) spectrometry that are equipped with Superconducting Tunnel Junction (STJ) detectors or Superconducting Strip Detector (SSD). We built new clean room for analog-digital superconductivity (CRAVITY) in 2013 in order to accelerate our development of superconducting detectors and SFQ digital circuits, I was appointed as a chair man of the CRAVITY management board. The CRAVITY is also open to users outside: private enterprises, universities, and research institues. Our staffs help them to use microfabrication instruments, or produce superconducting devices upon request.

At the beginning of the superconducting detector development, we measured detectors themselves by using synchrotron radiation, that is the samples were superconducting detectors themselves. Currently, we can measure samples such as structural materials, wide-gap semiconductors, and biomolecules, completed with cryogenics at 0.3 K without liquid helium supply, and FPGA-based signal processing. Some of the parts commercialized by technology transfer can be purchase. The superconducting detector technology for analytical sciences which is now ready for evolution from measurement into analysis.

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Superconducting spectroscopy group HP


Recent topics

Full paper list is here.


Press release

Major research projects

Major papers

Invited papers


Mass Spectrometry (MS)


Presentations in ASMS


Major invited talks

International committee members

Major Activities in Academic Societies

Memberships of Academic Societies

Activity of International Standardization

"Superconducting sensors and detectors"

Superconducting sensors and detectors such as SQUID, STJ, TES, SSD (SSPD or equivalent detectors), SIS, etc. are candidates for the IEC-TC90 standardization. M.O. is the convenor of the Working Group 14 (WG14) (superconducting electronic devices) under IEC-TC90. Our effort for standardiztaion of superconducting electroncis collaborate with IEEE: both partices agreed it in an IEC-IEEE joint infromal meeting at Boston in 2013 (ISEC 2013). The superconducting detectors enable us to overcome fundamental limits of conventional analytical instruments. For example, conventional mass spectrometers cannot measure mass, but mass/charge (m/z) ratios of ions, because ions react to electromagnetic forces according to the m/z ratios. By replacing conventional ion detectors with superconducting detectors, it is possible to determine the charge states of the ions and we can realize true mass spectroscopy instead of m/z spectroscopy. In X-ray spectroscopy, superconducting detectors break the theoretical limit of energy resolution of semiconductor detectors. It enables XAFS measurement of, for example, dilute light element dopant atoms in compound semiconductors, which has never been performed by using conventional XAFS instruments, in beam lines of synchrotron radiation facilities. The SC-XAFS instrument is now settled in some beam lines at High-energy Accelerator Research Organization, Photon Factory (KEK PF).

The performance of the analytical instruments equipped with superconducting detectors is beyond the limitations of conventional instruments. Therefore, we believe that we can contribute advancement of a wide range of fields such as nanotechnology, green technology, interstellar science, and planetary science.


Superconducting spectroscopy group

Full paper list

Contact info.
tel +81-29-861-5685
e-mail: m.ohkubo @ aist.go.jp