Special Report

Photocatalyst Museum
The world’s first environment cleaning technology

Wow, photocatalysts are awesome!
Currently environmental problems are expanding on a global scale and also becoming a serious social problem as well. This phenomenon is spurring a need to clean contaminated environments and return them to their natural states. And the technology for doing this lies in the usage of "photocatalysts."
Are you thinking that sounds a little difficult? Well, you couldn't be more wrong.
You see, this technology is an intimate part of our daily lives, and it is also a very convenient and helpful technology (photo 1).
For example, applying light like sunlight or fluorescent light on a photocatalyst like titanium oxide can give it a deodorizing effect that kills unpleasant odors, an antibacterial / sterilization effect that kills viruses and unwanted bacteria, and an anti-fogging property that prevents mirrors from fogging up (photos 2 and 3). In other words, you can call this an environmentally friendly technology.
Regarding the everyday areas where photocatalysts are being used, did you know that they are used in the clothes that we wear every day (especially underwear)? Because they have an antibacterial and deodorizing effect, many manufacturers are using them, and many of you have probably seen them somewhere. It would be great if this technology could become even more popular.
Actually, these photocatalysts are a technology that was discovered by Dr. Akira Fujishima, the Director of the Office of Important Research Areas in the Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology (KAST). And now they are being applied in a variety of different forms. It's simply amazing how much Japan is leading the world in terms of technology! It is easy to see how Japan has a top position worldwide as a "superpower of manufacturing."


Creating knowledge and delivering research results for Japan and the entire world.
In its role as an institution linking industry, academia, and government, KAST is devoted to contributing to the development of regions and the improvement of daily living by promoting research and industrial progress in state-of-the-art technology. The KSP Techno Plaza Photocatalyst Museum is located in the Kanagawa Science Park in the Takatsu-ku area of Kawasaki City. In addition to explaining the basic principles of photocatalysts, this museum has exhibits that make it easy to see just how incredible they are (photos 4 and 5). It has over 40 display areas, including video explanations of the principles of photocatalysts, an area where visitors can freely browse through information journals on photocatalyst technology, and photocatalyst products (from raw photocatalysts materials to products that use photocatalysts) on display. Touring these areas will give you a deeper understanding of what photocatalysts are and how they work.
Photocatalyst technology is used in many areas other than clothing as well. You can find it in a variety of products including car side mirrors, covers for lights in tunnels, and air cleaners. And in the future, we can expect the fruition of research for the actualization of a even better environment and safer daily living arena with applications in areas like generating energy by deriving hydrogen from water using sunlight and usage in medical treatment. We definitely need researchers to devote efforts into making new discoveries in state-of-the-art technology. This is a big first step to opening the door to the future.
Upon arriving at the museum, kids will definitely want to take a look at the "Picture Book Corner" at the entrance (photo 6). This corner has a science related picture book and million-seller picture book area, and is arranged so that children will have fun developing an interest in science. It would be great if more children could cultivate an "eye for science" and develop big dreams of becoming a scientist or researcher in the future. And if this area becomes the inspiration behind the next child to become an outstanding student and win a Nobel Prize, that would be incredible.
KAST also operates science technology classes and seminars for children with the aim of cultivating intelligent and talented industry experts in the local community and offers an incredible science technology program that is based on the two pillars of experiments and hands-on experiences and targets everyone from elementary school children to adults. It's a wonderful opportunity that you will definitely want to take advantage of.


Photo 1
The "Helpful Photocatalysts" area.

Photo 2
The surface of the tent on the left is coated with photocatalysts. This helps the surface of the tent material stay cleaner longer.

Photo 3
This is a photocatalyst window glass. You can see the anti-fogging effect due to the photocatalyst coating.

Photo 4
Photocatalyst Museum entrance.

Photo 5
A photocatalyst fiber apron and uniform display. They have anti-bacterial and deodorizing effects.

Photo 6
The Photocatalyst Museum picture book area. Cultivate an eye for science.