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One of Japan's youngest professors at Warwick

Professor Michisato Toyoda
Professor Toyoda
Originally published 5 December 2003

Award-winning Professor Michisato Toyoda, one of Japan’s youngest professors of Physics, has chosen the Chemistry Department at the University of Warwick as the place to spend his UK development year.

Funded by a research grant by Osaka University, Professor Toyoda was given finance to research and study at any UK university.

Because of the reputation of the University of Warwick for work in mass spectroscopy, Professor Toyoda welcomed the opportunity to attend Warwick.

His work centres on creating mass spectrometers that achieve very high resolution, in small spaces, in order to allow detailed analysis of compounds during space exploration.

High resolution typically needs a large machine, because mass resolution is proportional to flight length, but Professor Toyoda got around this by using a clover-leaf path that passes samples around the same controlled path many times.

Using this method, Professor Toyoda has achieved a resolution of 350,000 after 500 turns, (or 600 meters) which is the highest value achieved in time-of-flight mass spectrometry. This gained him the prestigious Curt Brunnée award, presented at the International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC) in Edinburgh. This award recognises the contributions of a researcher under the age of 45 toward the development of mass spectrometry instrumentation.

This type of equipment can be used to test very precisely for drug use, detect problems in the chemistry of DNA, and to detect metabolites produced by certain cancers, a vital component of early and precise diagnosis and treatment.

His visit will also enable the Chemistry Department to obtain record-breaking mass spectrometers of its very own.