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Japan Analytical and Scientific Instruments ShowJASIS2017

Sep 6 - 8, 2017

Now you can watch live demonstrations at our JASIS 2017
booth (September 6 - 8) on demand.

  • Separation

  • Elemental

  • Surface observations/
    Structural analysis

  • Spectroscopic

  • RoHS

Product installation case studies: Hearing directly from our users

Product installation case studies

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    【Chinese ver.】

    We want to use our knowledge of chemistry to create useful tools for the life sciences

    My personal specialty is synthetic organic chemistry, and I do research in the field of chemical biology. Our laboratory develops experimental methods in which light is used to manipulate interactions among molecules that mediate information-related processes within or between cells in living organisms; our goal is to contribute to advances in basic research in the life sciences. More specifically, we make use of caged compounds. These are compounds that work by attaching optically sensitive protective groups to a biologically active molecule, thus “trapping” or “caging” the molecule and temporarily suppressing its biological activity—but allowing that activity to be restored momentarily via light irradiation. In other words, we attach optical switches to molecules to allow them to be turned on with light. To date, a number of caged compounds have been developed for practical use, but they tend to suffer from various drawbacks—such as low generality, inefficient optical response, slow reaction speed, and toxicity—and we are conducting research projects with a variety of collaborators in the hope of solving these problems. We start by chatting with our collaborators to understand their needs and propose compounds to address them, and then we design and synthesize new compounds with the necessary functionality, test whether or not they actually function as desired in cell cultures, and finally provide them to our collaborators for use in their research.

    Lower barriers to MS measurements makes our research more efficient

    In our laboratory we use a high-speed liquid chromatograph (Chromaster HPLC) with a mass detector (Chromaster 5610 MS) and autosampler for our research. Like any organic synthesis, the synthesis of our caged compounds requires many stages of reactions, and we must verify the structures obtained at each stage before advancing to the next stage. In the past, we would only perform NMR measurements before advancing to the next reaction, but it’s very useful that these can now be combined easily with MS measurements. Even if the precision of an infusion measurement is not perfect it allows us to determine instantly whether or not our target compound is present, which is one of the reasons it seems so convenient. We also make frequent use of HPLC to analyze the efficiency of the reactivity of caged compounds. Observing the temporal variation in a substance’s reactivity to light, or to an enzyme, requires analyzing a large number of samples, so we installed an autosampler, which makes the analysis easy and has become an extremely valuable tool. For MS measurements, in the past we had to send samples out-of-house to external labs for confirmation, so we could only really do this in cases where we were already quite sure our target compound was present. After installing the autosampler, the barriers to MS measurements are much lower, and now we routinely combine MS analysis with NMR spectrum analysis and other types of data. I think this has really streamlined our research.

    Our new tools are helpful for sustaining student morale

    For LC-MS, in the past we used shared facilities at our university, but the operating procedures were complicated, and maintenance was a hassle—on top of which, my own techniques for using the equipment were probably a little rough around the edges—and the result was that, to be perfectly honest, people avoided making measurements whenever possible. On other hand, at this point it’s been just about a year since we installed the Chromaster 5610, and we’ve yet to encounter a single problem—we’re grateful that the machine is so straightforward to use. The undergraduates and graduate students in our lab use it as well, and they can generally get started making measurements after just two or three tutorial sessions. They are always figuring out how to use the newest features—at this point they’re probably more knowledgeable than I am. From what I’ve heard, the fact that students can check their results themselves seems to be a key factor in sustaining their motivation. Most of the caged compounds we’ve developed include bromine atoms, which exhibit a characteristic MS peak. Recently, one of our graduate students was able to use MS and NMR in tandem to determine the structure of a compound with greater accuracy, which meant the student could transition immediately to testing the compound in cell cultures.

    A sales representative we can trust

    In our lab, we started by installing the HPLC and the autosampler, then added the MS and gradually expanded the range of our instrumentation. I think that high degree of expansion potential was a key factor motivating my decision to go with Hitachi. Another huge factor was that our sales representative turned out to be somebody we could really trust. Of course, the more instruments we have the better, but we have to consider our equipment budget, lab space, operating costs, and many other factors. Not only does our sales representative get back to us quickly whenever we have questions, but from the very beginning I had the sense that what we were hearing was the unvarnished truth, which makes me feel that I can trust our discussions.

    Friendly competition with rivals produces better platform technologies

    The fact that I have been able to make progress in my current field of research is due in large part to Roger Y. Tsien, my beloved mentor during my study abroad. Dr. Tsien was instrumental in spreading awareness of the usefulness of green fluorescent protein, for which he shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Dr. Osamu Shimomura.
    I think it’s beautiful when tools that make the impossible possible are constructed on the basis of chemical knowledge and intuition. Research in the life sciences spans a huge range, from the molecules that comprise cells all the way up to the complexities of human biology. Basic research encompasses both efforts to determine the fundamental frameworks underlying biological phenomena—the origins of life, the workings of the brain, the immune system—and work aspiring to triumph over disease, for example by elucidating the mechanisms of cancer. Even researchers pursuing different subjects in different fields often turn out to need the same platform technologies. Our mission is to create technologies that change the very ways in which research—in many different areas of the life sciences—is done. We hope that, as other researchers use the methods we develop in our lab, they will add their own clever new tricks and expand the range of applicability.
    We often deliver lectures to researchers in similar fields on experimental methods that we’ve developed using equipment installed in our labs. Even though researchers in other labs might technically be considered competitors, this sort of thing happens all the time among people working on technology development, and it often serves as a stimulus to develop new molecules beyond anything we could have imagined ourselves—which of course just motivates us to push our research even further.

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    【Chinese ver.】

    Toward comprehensive analysis of natural resources

    Our specialty is the chemistry of naturally occurring substances, and at present we are searching for compounds in naturally occurring substances—both land-based and marine substances—that exhibit biological activity, such as antibiotic or anti-cancer properties. The range of substances we analyze is extremely broad—from soil samples, to marine organisms, plants, and mushrooms (fungi)—and in the past our main problem was figuring out how to determine, relatively easily and at the earliest possible stage, whether or not a given substance will produce useful new compounds. However, for comprehensive analyses using liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer (LC-MS) techniques, measurements always require a certain amount of time, and conventional LC-MS instruments were rather delicate—so much so that, whenever we tried to analyze an unpurified sample, something or other would go wrong almost immediately, and we eventually had to abandon that approach.

    A solid, durable instrument—that boasts easy maintenance

    For precisely these reasons, the efficiency of our research has ticked up dramatically since we installed Hitachi’s Chromaster® 5610 mass detector, which allows us to analyze culture solutions as is, prior to component separation. Another advantage of this instrument is that its maintenance is so simple that it doesn’t even require tools. I’m delighted to see that my graduate students are able to use the instrument to conduct experimental analyses with ease. In fact, we don’t even clean the instrument all that frequently, but somehow it never seems to lose sensitivity. Thanks to our ability to carry out day-to-day maintenance operations ourselves, we haven’t had a single issue with the instrument in since we installed it around a year ago.
    Back when the concept of the Chromaster®5610 was first explained to me, I had the sense that it would be extremely easy to use in our research. That intuition was completely confirmed the first time we had a chance to use the actual machine in practice. I’m very impressed by how thoroughly Hitachi has incorporated feedback and requests from researchers into the design of this instrument.

    A trusted partner for analyzing compounds

    Compared to the hardware, the software has some room for improvement, and we’re looking forward to an upgraded version that incorporates feedback from users. We’re also grateful for the various ways in which Hitachi works with us to support our research—customer support is always timely and thorough, and fluorescent fingerprints are a useful way to visualize the characteristics of culture solutions.
    The goal of our research is to discover compounds exhibiting biological activity—such as antibiotic or anti-cancer properties—in natural resources, and to make these compounds available to the wider world. Of course, in the meantime, the reality is that the natural world continues to boast a wealth of resources that remain unexplored. Our next step is to organize the information we have acquired in the form of a database of compounds, and we’re hopeful that the Chromaster®5610 will help us to share our findings with many researchers in this field, spurring the progress of research through the sharing of information.

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    【Chinese ver.】

    Taking on the challenge of developing new approaches to diagnosing and treating diseases

    Our laboratory’s primary expertise is in pharmaceutical chemistry and chemical biology. At the moment, we’re particularly focused on developing new cancer drugs that target the survival environment for cancer cells. These drugs act not only on cancer cells themselves, but also address cellular adaptivity reactions in the survival environment specific to cancer cells, attempting to obstruct these as an indirect means of weakening cancer cells themselves. This differs from past approaches to treatment pharmacology, and we think it can lead to cancer treatments with fewer side effects.
    We also study the creation of various types of functional molecules—from boron carrier molecules used in boron neutron capture treatments to fluorescent probe molecules that may help to diagnose diseases by detecting specific substances within living organisms—and we are hopeful that this work will spur advances in medicine and the life sciences.

    Past problems with the operating environment for measurement instruments

    Creating molecular compounds with desired functions is a multi-stage procedure that requires many repetitions of various processes: design, synthesis via chemical reaction, confirmation of the resulting compounds, refining, and characterization in actual reactions. In the past, we used TLC (thin-film chromatography) for tasks such as verifying synthesized compounds, but a problem in this method is that it is not very well-suited to studies of hydrophilic compounds, which we handle frequently. For observing reactions and making quantitative measurements of hydrophilic compounds, LC-MS (liquid chromatograph / mass spectrometer) is more appropriate, but in the past we only had access to our university’s shared-use LC-MS facility, which meant that we couldn’t simply use the instrument whenever we wanted, and when we did use it we would need to wait a long time to get results back.

    Getting detailed information right then and there is a major advantage

    We finally decided that we needed to improve our equipment installation to advance our research more effectively, and that was when we learned that there was a compact and easy-to-use LC-MS instrument known as the Chromaster®5610. We installed it around a year ago.
    Like many university laboratories, our floor space is limited, so the Chromaster®5610 is perfect for our needs—it occupies about as much space as a conventional HPLC (high performance liquid chromatograph) machine and fits in our small laboratory space, but is nonetheless equipped with a MS. The primary users are around 20 students affiliated with our laboratory—from 4th-year undergraduates to graduate students—and we appreciate that the operation and maintenance of the instrument are so easy. We use the machine not only as an LC-MS instrument but also just as an MS, with applications including reaction monitoring for hydrophilic compounds, ultra-fine-scale reaction tracking, studying conditions for HPLC sampling, identifying compounds, and analyzing and quantifying rough products.
    The fact that we can get detailed information and results for reactions right then, right there is a major advantage for studying synthesis of compounds. With students growing more and more ambitious in their research, at this point the Chromaster®5610 gets the most use of all the instruments in our laboratory. I definitely feel that installing the instrument was the right decision, and going forward we intend to use the Chromaster®5610 as much as possible to advance our research goals.

  • 【English ver.】

    【Chinese ver.】

    Developing manufacturing processes that use microwaves—on a plant-wide scale

    Our company was founded in 2007 as a venture spinoff from Osaka University; our mission is to provide microwave-based methods for making things on a plant-wide scale. In the past, conventional wisdom around the world held that manufacturing processes making use of microwaves are difficult to scale up to large sizes. We shattered this intuition in March 2014 by opening the world’s first large-scale microwave chemical plant—with annual production capacity of 3200t—at Suminoe, Osaka; this furnished real-world proof that microwaves could be used in a wide range of fields, from organic and inorganic synthesis to pharmaceutical production. Another example is graphene, a topic of current interest for which many different types of companies have growing development needs.

    Using the instrument in quality testing for a new material of intense interest: graphene

    Graphene is a new material whose excellent properties—extremely high electrical conductivity, transparency to visual light, extraordinary lightness and strength—make it promising for a wide range of applications, from devices to structural materials. In the past, the difficulty of mass production had been a stumbling block, but we established a method for producing graphene at volumes on the order of 10 g by applying our microwave chemical synthesis technology. Today we’re able to provide samples of adjustable thickness and weight in response to requests from our corporate clients.
    Hitachi’s AFM5500M has been a crucial, irreplaceable tool for testing the quality of these samples. The AFM we were using previously, a university shared-use facility, was difficult to use—just configuring the settings took several hours. But with the AFM5500M things like cantilever switching and optical-axis adjustment are optimized automatically, so we can just focus on the measurements themselves. This is the greatest advantage of the instrument.

    We’re hopeful that SÆMic solutions will enable more thorough analysis

    Since we installed the AFM5500M, graphene height measurements have become dramatically faster, and the instrument’s automation features ensure that anyone can acquire data under identical conditions. Even if you make a mistake while using the instrument, all you have to do is follow the instructions on the screen to obtain error-free measurements. This makes the instrument extremely easy to use.
    In the solutions stage of our work involving SÆMic with the SU8000 series and the AFM5500M, we perform two different types of measurements on the samples we synthesize: SEM imaging to characterize the morphology of the sample as a whole and analyze element distributions, and AFM measurements for close-up observations of Z-axis height or physical properties such as electrical conductivity. We’ve only just installed the new instrument, but we are hopeful that combining the two types of measurement will allow us to analyze our samples in even greater depth.

  • 【English ver.】

    【Chinese ver.】

    Make accurate measurements with a single click of the mouse—even if you’re not an expert

    Our company is continually creating new technologies—rooted in our core strengths of interface science—targeting a wide range of applications. The impetus for us to adopt Real Tune II was the need to make nanoscale measurements spurred by the development of our Dia Lumie translucent projector screen. However, operating an AFM turned out to be quite difficult—as we had heard might be the case—and, after seeing some hands-on examples and participating demonstrations from various vendors, we concluded that AFM was not a technology we could ever hope to master, and we almost changed our mind regarding our decision to install the instrument.
    This was the point at which the folks at Hitachi explained to us that there do exist instruments that are easier to use, and we arranged—still only half expecting anything to come of it—to observe a demonstration. The only word I can think of to describe our reaction the first time we laid hands on the Real Tune II would be shocked! As we clicked the Auto button on the console and watched the instrument proceed to make the measurement by itself, we started to think, “This is actually something we can use.”

    The ease of using the instrument creates an ever-expanding breadth of applications

    Originally, we used the instrument to observe the dispersion and condensation of nano-diamonds, but since then the range of things we do with the tool just seems to keep growing—from cross-sectional surfaces of hairs, to processed fibers, new materials, and data on films that can’t be observed via SEM. The reason we can use the system for such a broad spectrum of applications is that it automatically adjusts the measurement settings appropriately for each sample, making it extremely easy to use. We’ve also become quite familiar with the menus and windows. As far as resolution is concerned, it obtains images of the same quality as TEM images, which is more than adequate performance for our needs. Another key advantage is the ability to use the instrument in ambient conditions, allowing us to make measurements of samples close to their natural state.
    We use SIS Mode to make measurements in cases requiring greater accuracy. Our company manufactures things like cosmetics, so it’s really convenient that we can make accurate measurements of samples with high water content.

    Excellent customer support allows us to use the instrument with confidence

    Before we installed this instrument, our company lacked AFM experience, so when we first started seeing images we didn’t even know if they had been measured correctly. At that point it was very reassuring that we could email our images to Hitachi support and receive helpful expert advice—such as “the probe might be experiencing friction.” We’re grateful for the extensive support framework that makes it easy to ask questions whenever there’s something—even something minor—that we don’t understand.

  • 【English ver.】

    【Chinese ver.】

    The ease of controlling environmental conditions was the decisive selling point for us

    We’re a company that conducts morphological observations, surface analysis, composition analysis, and other types of measurements on a wide variety of organic and polymer materials. In particular, my group is currently responsible for scanning probe microscope techniques for surface analysis.
    We installed the AFM5300E in 2010, and one of the major reasons we chose this instrument was the simple and easy environmental controls it offered. For companies like ours that accept requests for outsourced analytical work on a contractual basis, the fact that the AFM5300E allows analysis under all types of environmental conditions makes it extremely convenient, and in the 7 years since we acquired the instrument we’ve used it to characterize the physical properties of a huge variety of samples.

    The fact that the customer support system allows us to ask our questions directly is very reassuring.

    We’ve found the customer support system to be quite reliable.
    For the most part, the AFM5300E is an instrument that rarely malfunctions—but we’re still grateful for the speedy and thoughtful response we’ve received in cases where we caused our own problems by using the instrument incorrectly. The fact that we can ask questions directly by e-mail or phone whenever we aren’t sure about something—that was one of the major reasons we decided to go with this model.
    I previously learned the basics of AFM measurements from lectures at a Hitachi-organized seminar, and I still remember being struck by how thoroughly the presenters understood their subject. Ever since, I’ve continued to be impressed by the presentations at seminars and advanced courses pointing out an ever-broadening range of applications. Hitachi offers seminars and practical-training courses quite frequently, and we’re always encouraging our younger staff members to participate to broaden their skills. Of course, the only way to learn to use the instruments is actually to use them in practice, but Hitachi’s educational opportunities are excellent opportunities to entrench one’s understanding of the theoretical side of things.

    SIS mode offers a whole new level of stability—even for samples that are difficult to measure

    An attractive feature of SIS mode is that it allows stable, reliable measurements even for soft, sticky samples—and for extremely hard samples as well. For example, we’ve been able to study the surfaces of soft samples like dielectric polymers at high resolution with good accuracy. Also, for analyzing hybrid materials involving mixtures of components of varying hardnesses, conventional instruments always had problems with reproducibility, but SIS mode allows stable measurements every time. This is incredibly helpful.
    For the clients who trust us to handle their contract analysis work, the absolute number-one requirement is reliable data. The fact that SIS mode always allows us to acquire stable data is a huge advantage. Another nice feature is that, because the probe tip is not dragged along the surface in SIS mode, the tip suffers only extremely minimal damage, helping to keep operating costs under control.

Developers Speak

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    Optics Design Department Masahito Ito

    Since the very first instrument was brought to market in 1962, amino-acid analyzers have been used for measuring the umami components of foodstuffs and for a wide variety of other purposes in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Now, for the first time in 12 years, we are excited to introduce big changes in our product lineup.

    The new AminoSAAYA (Sustainable Amino Acid Your Analyzer) is based on three key design concepts.

    The first is the pursuit of a compact design. In response to the needs of our users for instruments that occupy less laboratory space, we have explored designs that yield the most compact footprint possible for each module. The AminoSAAYA represents a miniaturization to just 2/3 the size of predecessor models and can be installed in a desktop configuration.
    The second is to achieve further improvements in data reliability, one of the key selling points of our instruments.
    Finally, the third design goal—and the one we have prioritized above all else—is to achieve dramatic improvements in ease of use.
    From the height at which reagents are placed, to the positioning of samples, to the ease of replacing components, we have revisited every aspect of the user interface from the perspective of ergonomics, focusing with laser-like precision on ensuring a pleasant and efficient experience for users of the instrument. While taking pains to preserve the high measurement accuracy, data stability, and reliability for which our instruments have long been famous, we have achieved the dual goals of a compact design—making the instrument easy to install in any laboratory—and outstanding ease of use. Like its predecessors, the instrument uses the ninhydrin and ion-exchange reaction schema—which boasts outstanding accuracy and stability—allowing previously-acquired data archives to be carried over in full. Beyond the obvious usefulness of the instrument for analyzing umami components of foods, we am confident it will find applications as a development tool in a wide range of fields, from products for today’s health-conscious society—such as nutritious food and amino-acid supplements, which are much in the news today—to biopharmaceuticals.

  • 【English ver.】

    【Chinese ver.】

    Optics Design Department Jun Horigome, Analytical Sales Department Satoru Morikawa

    The F-7100 fluorescent spectrophotometer is a successor to our long-selling F-7000 instrument. With the F-7100, we succeeded in retaining the F-7000’s ease of use while significantly improving its basic performance and achieving huge enhancements in brightness and optical source lifetime by adopting a new and improved xenon lamp as the optical source. The new instrument boasts approximately 1.5 times the sensitivity of predecessor instruments [S/N (P-P): 360 or higher, S/N (RMS): 1, 2000 or higher]. The F-7100 offers the highest sensitivity of any instrument in its class and detect even weak fluorescence signals with low noise. The lifetime of the optical source has been increased by 5 times to 2,500 hours, reducing the frequency of complicated lamp replacements.
    Samples are placed in a cell or similar vessel for mounting in the sample chamber. The instrument supports samples in a variety of different forms, including liquid and solid samples. Measurement times are on the order of 3 minutes per sample, which is much shorter than for other analytical instruments.
    Fluorescence fingerprinting has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Tasks such as identifying samples and measuring the quantity of individual components used to require expensive instruments such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry systems. However, with fluorescence fingerprinting, which examines the characteristic fluorescence spectra of specific samples, it is possible to obtain results exhibiting highly relevant correlations.
    Fluorescence-fingerprinting systems offer many different capabilities, including distinguishing samples of different types, identifying where a given sample was produced, computing mixing ratios for blended samples, detecting hazardous substances such as toxic molds, and measuring quantities of functional ingredients in industrial materials. Such systems are expected to find applications in a wide range of fields, including engineering materials research, environmental research, food testing, and the life sciences.

    In addition to regular upgrades to analytical software, the “EEM Assistance Program”, which helps to routinize measurements, offers capabilities such as automating fluorescence-fingerprint measurements of multiple test bodies, performing multivariate analysis computations, and displaying the results of pass/fail tests. On top of all of this, the system can perform fluorescence intensity normalization, which corrects for day-to-day fluctuations or instrumental variations in fluorescence intensity, together with other features that improve the ease and convenience of daily analyses, such as the capability to output comprehensive 3-dimensional measurement data files to support fluorescence fingerprinting. Improved features such as these are one reason for the rapid adoption of fluorescence fingerprinting. The functional improvements we have incorporated into our instruments reflect the needs of our users to perform fluorescence fingerprinting more easily.
    We believe that fluorescence fingerprinting is a very promising analytical method that can make it easy to perform the type of analysis that in the past required complicated preprocessing and long measurement times. We expect that this will help to simplify experimental analysis for a wide range of users, and we are looking forward to spreading the word about this powerful tool.


Japan Analytical and Scientific Instruments ShowJASIS2016

Sep 7 - 9, 2016

Now you can watch live demonstrations at our JASIS 2016
booth (September 7 - 9) on demand.

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