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Micro-Nano Science and Technology, in which Mechanical Engineering Plays a Major Role

  Micro-Nano Science and Technology Division Charter

The Micro-Nano Science and Technology Division was founded in April 2012 as the 21st division of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME). The background behind the establishment of this new division and its aims are described below. We earnestly hope that many members will register in this new division.


The minimum dimensions of items that are easily handled by humans have decreased from micrometers to nanometers. Moreover, the related subjects are becoming increasingly diverse. The use of new carbon-based materials such as nanotubes and graphene, the manipulation of molecules such as DNA, patterning of semiconductor circuits, and writing on magnetic discs are only a few examples of the dimension miniaturization that has occurred during the last 10-20 years.


Engineering technology that targets materials, processing, movements, controls, etc. at the micro- and nanoscales is crucially important for industries related to energy, information, biology, and medicine, for which growth and expansion are expected. Specific research topics include new micro- and nanoscale topics such as problems with the strength and failure of micro-nano structures that cannot be solved by the extension of continuum mechanics, energy exchange between gas molecules and the surfaces of structures with dimensions below the molecular mean free path, heat transfer in a micro-domain space, lubrication and wear between solids spaced nanometers apart, models of micro-fabrication processes that use atomic and molecular units, mechanical properties of nanomaterials such as nanotubes and graphene, and the mechanical properties of silicon, which has been treated to date as an electronic material, and the operation and property evaluation of genes, cells, and living tissues. All of these subjects involve mechanical engineering.


Numerous technical problems and research topics are not limited to mechanical engineering but fall into multiple disciplines including the electrical, electronic, physical, chemical, and medical fields. Consequently, a single narrow and specialized field cannot adequately address the scope of these issues. Mechanical engineering is expected to contribute proactively to these topics even more than before.


Mechanical engineering is being asked to address the micro- and nanoscale phenomena that are inherent in processes from materials to system construction, to control these phenomena through engineering, and to develop materials and process technologies to fabricate these micro-nano structures, thereby realizing new functionality as a system. This achievement demands an engineering approach that can accommodate multiple scales, starting with elucidation and analyses of the elementary steps at the nanoscale up to a design with full system functions in the micrometer, millimeter, and meter ranges.


As one of the few academic organizations that retain simulation technology, JSME can faithfully recreate phenomena at the atomic and molecular scales, micro-nano scale processing technologies, and macro-scale optimal design technology. Consequently, it shoulders a great responsibility. For this reason, "micro-nano science and technology where mechanical engineering plays a major role" is needed.


Researchers belonging to this society have naturally been conducting research activities in this field. However, because their activities are scattered across 20 divisions for each field of expertise, these activities are not entirely visible from outside the society and are virtually unknown inside and outside Japan, especially in industry. The exchange of information among divisions has also remained severely limited.


Based on the understanding presented above, the Professional Committee of Micro-Nano Mechanical Science and Technology was founded in 2006 as an organization preceding the creation of a division. Five years of activities were acknowledged, culminating in its recognition as a division. The Micro-Nano Science and Technology Division promotes the following activities:

  1. It offers a place to present research and to have discussions: for example, it will continue to hold symposiums on micro-nano science and technology.
  2. It holds debriefing meetings for international conferences on micro-nano science and technology.
  3. It improves individual technology through technical section activities.
  4. It plans and manages special events through cooperation with other academic societies, both domestic and international.

As a fundamental idea for division management, we considered the fact that the domain covered by this division is involved directly with the competitiveness of Japan's industries. Therefore, we strive for the timely dissemination of information to industry. To train young researchers and technicians, we regularly hold seminars to disseminate basic information about micro-nano science and technology. We have been considering the implementation of an educational/training program in collaboration with several universities.


Regarding activities, as a division that addresses a composite domain, we highly value cooperation with other divisions. We plan organized sessions for annual congresses with the other divisions and actively support and participate in other divisions' congresses. Members who are active in other divisions are chosen as Division Steering Committee members to promote information exchange and networking.


Recent developments in science and technology demand that excellent researchers and technicians create a network that extends beyond their existing expertise and that they cooperate proactively. We hope that this network leads to improved innovations of research and development in technology. We believe that the Micro-Nano Science and Technology Division will provide such occasions and nurture new technology. This academic society includes areas of expertise that have been specific to mechanical engineering for 100 years, in addition to new fields of combined interests with high socioeconomic demand. The Micro-Nano Science and Technology Division is definitely the latter. We believe that the JSME will need the strength and dynamism which derives from the vertical and horizontal arrangement of the key divisions above and new divisions representing combined interests. We recommend that JSME members register with our combined new division and one more division in addition to your key division. We welcome your proactive participation.

The Micro-Nano Science and Technology Division covers general engineering research areas at the micro- and nanoscales. Keywords are the following, but the continued development of new fields is anticipated.
Modeling and measurement on the atomic and molecular scales Multi-scale simulation
First-principles calculations Molecular dynamics
Material search and creation of nano-materials and functional materials Evaluation technology of micro- and nano-materials
Interfacial phenomena Nano-micro flow
Micro-nano tribology Positioning technology
Micro-machine technology MEMS technology
Micro-bonding and mounting technology Nano- and micro-machining
Ultra-precision machining Micro-sensors and actuators
Measurement and control technology of micro- and nano-systems Micro-energy conversion
Micro-combustion Energy harvesting
Cellular kinetics Cell and DNA manipulation
Micro TAS Micro-scale medical and welfare devices