A science that creates molecules and values

History of our research

 The impact of molecules on science, technology, and society is profound, offering solutions to numerous challenges our planet faces. Our vision is to develop and introduce molecules with revolutionary functions or aesthetically pleasing structures to address these challenges. To date, we have successfully developed 23 molecules (commercialized), including molecular nanocarbons, reagents, catalysts, ligands, and bioactive molecules, which are widely used by researchers globally.

 The academic journey of Ken Itami (PI) includes studies in organic chemistry, bio-related chemistry, organometallic chemistry, catalytic chemistry, and synthetic chemistry at Kyoto University (Japan) and Uppsala University (Sweden). These studies laid the foundation for subsequent research focused on creating new materials through molecular and synthetic chemistry. As an assistant professor at Kyoto University, Itami contributed to the development of new synthetic methodologies and functional organic molecules with applications across various fields.

 After moving to Nagoya University in 2005, Itami aimed to lead impactful research with a focus on molecular targets that would influence materials science and chemical biology. Pioneering the field of “molecular nanocarbon science,”[1] Itami introduced novel nanocarbon structures globally, earning recognition such as “The Molecule of the Year” from Chemical & Engineering News (American Chemical Society) several times. Collaborative efforts with companies resulted in the active integration of molecular nanocarbons into materials science, particularly in organic electronics, establishing molecular nanocarbon science as a significant trend in chemistry.

 Concurrently with advancing molecular nanocarbon science, Itami founded the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) at Nagoya University,[2] operating under the World Premier International Research Centers Initiative (WPI). As the founding director, Itami initiated interdisciplinary research integrating synthetic chemistry, plant science, animal science, and theoretical chemistry. This pioneering approach aimed to tackle new challenges and broaden the scope of research.

 In April 2024, our lab relocated the research base to RIKEN, embarking on groundbreaking research in molecule creation chemistry.

Our lab’s main research achievements to date
Future research directions


  1. Accounts and reviews: (a) Y. Segawa et al., “Structurally uniform and atomically precise carbon nanostructures”. Nature Rev. Mat. 2016, 1, 15002. DOI: 1038/natrevmats.2015.2. (b) K. Itami et al., “Molecular nanocarbon science: present and future”. Nano Lett. 2020, 20, 4718-4720. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c02143. (c) I. A. Stepek et al., “New paradigms in molecular nanocarbon science” Tetrahedron 2022, 123, 132907. DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2022.132907.


Our commercially available molecules (22 compounds)

[15]Cycloparaphenylene, [15]CPP (Kanto Chemical)
[12]Cycloparaphenylene, [12]CPP (TCI, Kanto Chemical)
[11]Cycloparaphenylene, [11]CPP (TCI)
[10]Cycloparaphenylene, [10]CPP (TCI)
[9]Cycloparaphenylene, [9]CPP (TCI, Kanto Chemical)
[8]Cycloparaphenylene, [8]CPP (TCI)
[7]Cycloparaphenylene, [7]CPP (TCI)
Methylene-bridged [6]cycloparaphenylene, [6]MCPP (TCI)
(6,6)Carbon nanobelt bis(tetrahydrofuran) adduct, (6,6)CNB (TCI)
Warped nanographene, WNG (Kanto Chemical)
[1,2-Bis(dicyclohexylphosphino)ethane]dicarbonylnickel(0), Ni(dcype)(CO)2 (Kanto Chemical)
3,4-Bis(dicyclohexylphosphino)thiophene, dcypt (Kanto Chemical)
2,2‘-Bis[bis(3,5-dimethylphenyl)phosphino]-1,1’-biphenyl, Xyl-BIPHEP (TCI)
5-Adamantyl-IAA, super-strong auxin (TCI)
Yoshimulactone Green, YLG (TCI)
AMOR, glyco-enhancer of plant fertilization (TCI)
Vinylboronic acid pinacol ester (TCI, Sigma-Aldrich)
Bis[dimethyl(2-pyridyl)silyl]methane (TCI)
2-(Allyldimethylsilyl)pyridine (Sigma-Aldrich)
2-(Dimethylvinylsilyl)pyridine (TCI, Sigma-Aldrich)
2-(Trimethylsilyl)pyridine (TCI, Sigma-Aldrich)
2-(Dimethylsilyl)pyridine (Sigma-Aldrich)