In the field of Nanotechnology, Materials and Manufacturing, AIST will work to establish the technological base supporting safe, secure life in a graying welfare society, and an advanced information society and sustainable society in harmony with the environment, by dramatically improving materials and manufacturing technologies. As part of these efforts, AIST intends to establish the industrial bases utilizing nanotechnologies used to manufacture and process materials in nanometer scale by developing, advancing and integrating individual element technologies toward their industrial application.
In this field, AIST is now in the process of establishing research strategies and the second midterm plan based on the new idea of "minimal manufacturing" as a fundamental concept. This concept is the name that we have given to technological systems which are capable of creating products with maximum functions from minimal resource inputs using minimal energy (production cost, environmental loads) in the manufacturing process, and with minimal end-of-life environmental loads. As part of efforts anticipating AIST's next midterm plan, a reorganization of research units was already carried out in April 2004: the Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute was established as a new unit to carry out research on materials and manufacturing technologies in a single research unit. The Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development, another new unit, has addressed global warming countermeasures. Furthermore, the Nanotechnology Research Institute was also strengthened.
Computational science has been increasing its importance as a common basic technology in this field. Computer simulations are expected to reveal the essence of phenomena by simulating the processes which cannot be seen in experiments or manufacturing processes. They are also expected to contribute to minimal manufacturing through the theoretical prediction and optimization. By leading the way in industrial technology innovation with a 10 unit system under this new concept, we hope to contribute to realizing a sustainable society.