Complex Energy Processes

The Laboratory for Complex Energy Processes Complex Energy Processes Research Section

Professor : Masahiro KINOSHITA
Associate Professor : Hiroyuki OKADA

We are investigating such subjects as the biological self-assembly sustaining life and the heating and confinement of hightemperature plasmas.

Chemical Physics of Life Phenomena Arising from Correlations of Water and Biomolecules

Professor : Masahiro KINOSHITA

We are theoretically investigating the mechanisms of biological processes sustaining life such as protein folding, molecular recognition, and association of proteins. In our studies, the emphasis is on the roles of water through its translational configuration entropy, and the feature is in the development of an original statistical-thermodynamics theory ccounting for a protein and water in the atomic detail. Major subjects are microscopic mechanisms of protein folding and denaturation (pressure, thermal, and cold denaturating), calculation of the free-energy change upon receptor- ligand binding, prediction of the native structure of a protein, functions of ATP-driven and proton-motivated proteins, and mechanism of molecular recognition by intrinsically disordered proteins. We have recently started developing a fast method of predicting mutations leading to higher stability of GPCR. We have tackled a variety of unresolved problems and been successful in elucidating them in a unified manner within the same theoretical framework.

Free-Energy Function for Predicting the Native Structure of a Protein

We have developed a free-energy function which allows us to discriminate the native structure of a protein from thousands of misfolded decoy structures. It has been tested for 133 proteins and the native structure has been discriminated with almost 100% accuracy. Of course, this is a world record in the protein research community.

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Plasma harmonizes with the magnetic field

Associate Professor : Hiroyuki OKADA

Nuclear fusion power plant using deuterium and lithium in the sea as a fuel is considered to be one candidate of solutions for the energy resorce problem. Realizing fusion power plant is very valuable in a poor resorce country, Japan. My research subject is to generate and confine high temperature plasmas aiming at nuclear fusion with special emphasis on the plasma heating and diagnostics. A plasma and a helical coil form the combined spiral shape in Heliotron J. On the basis of understanding the behavior of the fast ions and the sponteneous toroidal current, the better confinement of plasmas is investigated.

Heliotron J plasma and antennas for plasma heating

Hydrogen plasma observed from a tangential view port in Heliotron J. The hydrogen gas near the edge of the plasma radiates light. The antennas for the plasma heating using radio frequency wave in VHF band are installed in the vacuum chamber of Helitoron J.

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