JST has announced that the development subject the "zeolite nanoparticle production method and particle diameter control technology" in the Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-driven R&D (A-STEP) enterprise-led phase NexTEP-A type (*1) was a success. Hydrothermal synthesis of zeolites, the general zeolite synthesis technique, faces challenges such as high cost, size and morphology control, and the difficulty of mass production, etc., but this program has established new technologies for producing zeolite nanoparticles by utilizing "bead-milling and recrystallizing method" and "particle growth method".
We have advanced this corporatized development subject based on the research outputs of Associate Professor Toru Wakihara et al. at the School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, by outsourcing the development to Nakamura Choukou Co., Ltd. from August 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019.
Zeolites are a class of crystalline aluminosilicate materials which have tiny pores derived from their crystal structures and, due to their unique structures, have greatly benefited modern chemical and petrochemical industries as catalysts, adsorbents and ion-exchangers. This new technology succeeded in the stable synthesis of zeolite nanoparticles using two techniques: the "bead-milling and recrystallizing method" can produce zeolite nanoparticles with size smaller than 100 nanometers (nm, 1 nanometer being one-billionth of a meter), and the "particle growth method" can produces zeolite nanoparticles relatively larger size from 150 to 300 nm. Due to this success, production of zeolite nanoparticles at approximately one-tenth of the former cost has become possible. We are already proceeding with the evaluation of consumers in the fields of packaging materials, cosmetics, and hygiene products, etc., and business development is expected going forward.
(*1) Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-driven R&D (A-STEP)
This is a technology transfer support program targeting the research and development phase. The program aims for practical applications of research outcomes important for the national economy, generated in universities and public research institutions. The objective of the NexTEP-A type, the enterprise-led phase in A-STEP, is to support the development of large-scale practical applications of technology seeds by enterprises based on the research outcomes of universities and so on.