The 2017 Masao Horiba Award winners have been announced: The award ceremony will be held on October 17

24 July 2017

An external incentive award for researchers in analytical and measurement technologies
Research working to enrich people’s lives by ensuring the safety and reliability of water

HORIBA, Ltd. announces the winners for the 2017 Masao Horiba Award, a research incentive award for analytical and measurement technologies, targeting researchers and developers from universities and public research institutes in and outside of Japan.
The theme for this year, which marks the 14th anniversary of the award since its inauguration in 2003, was: “Water measurement enriches people’s lives.” We sought applicants from March through May this year and received 29 applications, including some from abroad. A panel of eight reviewers, consisting of experts in the field of application, evaluated the applications with a focus on potential, inventiveness, and the possibility of development into a unique measuring instrument, and selected three Masao Horiba Award winners and one honorable mention. The commemorative seminar and award ceremony will be held at Shiran Kaikan, Kyoto University on October 17 (Tuesday), inviting attendees from the academic and administrative sectors.

About the Masao Horiba Award

The Masao Horiba Award was founded in 2003, commemorating the 50th anniversary of HORIBA, Ltd., to recognize emerging researchers engaged in measurement technologies. This award is intended to support scientists and experts who are devoting themselves to research and development that will generate innovative technology in the field of analysis and measurement. It also aims to strengthen the position of measurement technologies within the scientific and industrial world. The specific technical field for the award is chosen each year, with a focus on the principles and fundamental technologies fostered by HORIBA, and the award highlights unique research and development with findings and potential that deserve a global recognition.
This year’s target field was “Water measurement enriches people’s lives.” We received a total of 29 applications (23 domestic, 6 from abroad) during the application period from March 1 to May 19.
The three winners and one honorable mention for the 2017 Masao Horiba Awards have been selected through careful review by the review panel regarding their achievements and potential in terms of being engaged in research and development expected to create innovative, unique analytical and measurement techniques and technologies as future drivers of the progress in analytical and measurement technologies.

Winners and their award-winning research

[Masao Horiba Award Winners]

Dr. Ryoichi Ishimatsu
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Applied Chemistry, Kyushu University
“Electrochemical and photometric sensing for some substances in environmental water”

The pollution of environmental water and soil is still a worldwide concern. Therefore, simple measurement technologies which can be applied to the on-site checking of water safety are in demand.  Focusing on ion transfer voltammetry, Dr. Ishimatsu has devised a measuring principle that enables the highly sensitive analysis of moderately hydrophilic anions in water.  He has also developed "amperometric ion selective electrodes (ISEs)" which can simultaneously detect several kinds of cations in water with high-selectivity. Furthermore, by applying organic light-emitting diodes and organic photodiodes, he has established an analytical system that enables the detection of neutral substances as well. Non-ionic surfactants at the ppb-level are one of the examples of the detection, which are difficult to analyze with ion transfer voltammetry.  Analytical systems, which he developed can be constructed in a compact housing and are expected to contribute globally on-site analysis of pollutants in waters.

Dr. Dai Kato
Senior Researcher, Biomedical Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) 
“Development of sputtered nanocarbon film-based electrodes with extended analyte zones”

Electrochemical measurement methods are a way to detect the analytes by measuring the current or potential on an electrode interface during a redox reaction.  The electrochemical method is expected to be an easy and inexpensive way to test water quality; however, substances which can be detected by the method have been limited due to the narrow measurable potential range and insufficient sensitivity for trace substances.  Using a nanocarbon film precisely designed, Dr. Kato has developed “sputtered nanocarbon film-based electrodes”.  This electrode design enables the high-sensitivity detection of (bio)molecules such as nucleic-acid bases, antioxidants such as vitamin E, and arsenic ion.  These materials are difficult to measure with conventional electrodes.  His study has expanded the possibility of the use of electrochemical methods and is expected to be applied to many practical measurement devices. These could find application in various fields such as drinks, foods, environmental and biochemical substances.  The new electrode attracts attention as a possible candidate for standardization of quantitation methods for the substances which are difficult to detect at conventional electrode.

Dr. Shiho Tokonami
Associate Professor / Deputy Director of RILACS, Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Applied Chemistry / Research Institute for Light-induced Acceleration System (RILACS), Osaka Prefecture University
"Detection of bacteria in water based on a transferring technique of bacterial surface structure"

It is important to prevent the spread of food poisoning and infection caused by pathogenic bacteria in order to protect the safety of food and drinking water.  Conventional methods of bacterial identification usually take a few days and require complicated sample pretreatments and special technique for testing.  Dr. Tokonami established a synthesis method of templates in which bacterial surface structures are transferred precisely.  She developed a novel method of bacterial detection by combining the templates with dielectrophoresis which controls bacterial movement.  This technique enabled rapid detection, which succeeded in reduction of time for measurements in comparison with preexisting methods.  It is also remarkable that the templates show high specificity for respective bacteria.  This method can be used as a bacterial detection system in the water treatment plant and the food industry where require strict hygiene control.

[Honorable Mention]

Dr. Michael Gonsior
Assistant Professor, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Center for Environmental Science, University of Maryland
“Time-resolved photodegradation of natural colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and contaminants in fresh- and marine waters using a custom-designed photodegradation system”

Dissolved organic matter is often measured as a representative indicator for surface and marine water quality because it influences many important biological and chemical processes. For the light absorbing colored or chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in water, photochemistry is one of the most important natural CDOM degradation mechanisms. Dr. Gonsior has recently developed an advanced photodegradation system that can achieve semi-continuous measurements of CDOM optical properties during illumination with precisely controlled solar simulated light. Using this custom-built system, he has investigated the photochemical decay of CDOM and pollutants in fresh- and marine waters. The results have shown for the first time kinetics of time-resolved optical property changes of CDOM and relationships between CDOM and other water quality indicators as a function of photodegradation. This evaluation method for dissolved organic matter, which is closely related to the environment and ecosystem well-being, is expected to provide important beneficial information about the conservation and improvement of water quality.


Masao Horiba Awards