George Hasegawa obtained his M.S. and PhD degrees under the supervision of Prof. K. Nakanishi at Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University in 2009 and 2012, respectively. He became a JSPS research fellow in Prof. T. Abe’s group (Kyoto University) and studied electrochemistry related to energy storage devices from 2012 to 2015. During these periods, he visited several foreign research groups: Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Prof. M. Antonietti) in 2010, University of Montpellier 2 (Prof. H. Mutin) in 2011, Argonne National Laboratory (Prof. K. Amine) in 2013, and Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research (Prof. J. Maier) in 2014. Since 2016, he has been an assistant professor of Prof. K. Hayashi’s group in Kyushu University. His current research interests are in electrode materials with an emphasis on electrochemical phenomena in solid and at solid/solid or solid/liquid interface.
George kindly accepted to answer our questions on his career and sol-gel.
– How did you start working on sol-gel?
My research career on sol–gel started with the living radical polymerization of organic gels after a year of hard work in the organosynthesis group. Compared with the organosynthesis, the sol–gel synthesis does not require complicated processes, such as purification with a column, which fits well to my lazy personality.
– What are your goals for your research activities and your career?
Most of my research has been related to porous monolithic materials synthesized by sol–gel processes, particularly focusing on tailoring “beautiful” architectures. However, what I found based on my experiene is that the “beautiful” structure rarely leads to high functionality in a practical application. So, one of my goal is to develop materials having beautiful structures as well as splendid functionality that are useful in practice by using the sol–gel technique.
– What is the most interesting part of your job and what would you like to change?
I like my job because I can be exposed to various people with different cultures and research backgrounds all over the world. I hope to engage in international collaboration works to develop next-generation technology in near future.
– What do you like in the sol-gel community?
The sol–gel community is relatively compact but multidisciplinary, where researchers can broaden their mind and network in various fields. I also like the open atmosphere of this delightful community.
– Do you have any advice for students who approach sol-gel chemistry for the first time?
I would like to recommend retrying an unsucceeded experiment after a certain period when getting used to the sol–gel. There is “know-how” (or “sense of sol–gel”) that one cannot learn from literatures but acquires through research experience, and that is very important to obtain a reproducible result.