Researcher Introduction
Elements Strategy Initiative for Catalysts and Batteries, Kyoto University Researcher Hiroaki Koga

Motivation for Becoming a Researcher

I have always wanted to be a scientist because, even as a child, I was fascinated by such things as atoms and molecules. At the university, I was taken with molecular simulation techniques because they allow one to follow the motion of atoms and molecules. This greatly helps us understand complex physical and chemical processes.

Your Greatest Strengths

Though I majored in metallurgy at the university, I have worked in various academic fields such as physics, chemistry, and electronics. Thus, I have a flexible mindset about what constitutes research and am not limited by the ideas inherent in one specialized field.

What Makes Your Research Interesting or Worthwhile

One good thing about materials science is that you can create new materials or discover unexpected properties and functions of known materials. As a theorist, I find it very pleasurable to explore the possibilities of novel catalysts and reaction mechanisms through computations, particularly if those possibilities have not yet been considered by experimentalists.

Other Research That Interests You

Normally, catalytic metals like platinum are used as ultrafine particles supported on the metal-oxide surface, but some “inverse” catalysts with an oxide layer on the metal surface exhibit unexpected chemistry. I am currently studying their potential for use in NOx reduction based on first-principles calculations, but in the future I would like to explore their behavior in extremely challenging reactions such as selective oxidation.

Interests Other Than Research You Would Like to Pursue

I would like to study chemistry afresh. Not having been a chemistry major, I sometimes feel that my knowledge of chemistry is limited when it comes to subjects such as organic reactions and coordination compounds. So, I am now attempting to learn those things.

Hiroaki Koga

Elements Strategy Initiative for Catalysts and Batteries, Kyoto University Researcher

Principal Work History:

After earning my doctorate in 2005 in the Department of Materials Engineering at the University of Tokyo, I engaged in a computational study on nanomaterials assembly at the National Institute for Materials Science as a JSPS postdoctoral researcher (2005-2008). Thereafter, I worked as an assistant professor at the Research Center for Integrated Quantum Electronics, Hokkaido University (2008-2013). Since moving to ESICB in 2013, I have been involved in a computational study on the catalytic reaction mechanism of exhaust-gas purification.

Notable Articles:

  • [1] Koga, H.; Tada, K.; Hayashi, A.; Ato, Y.; and Okumura, M. “High NOx Reduction Activity of an Ultrathin Zirconia Film Covering a Cu Surface: A DFT Study.” Catal. Lett. 147 (2017): 1827–1833. DOI: 10.1007/s10562-017-2086-5
  • [2] Koga, H. “Structure of GaAs(-1 -1 -1) Under Ga-Rich Conditions: A √19 × √19 reconstruction Model.” Phys. Rev. B 82 (2010): 113301. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.82.113301

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