This nano innovation center (iCONM) includes facilities for chemical experiments, biological experiments, as well as nano-,micro- and milli- fabrication engineering. Nikon is developing new medical diagnostics equipment so this environment matches our R&D plans. This is why we located our research hub here. Nikon will celebrate its 100th anniversary in July 2017. To-date, our business is based on technology for cameras, equipment for manufacturing semiconductors and liquid crystal displays, optically measurement equipment and microscopes. Based on this history and technical expertise, to promote medical business to develop products for medical applications, we established a division in June 2014
So, currently we are focusing on the development medical instruments and devices to expand our portfolio of products.
Several tens of engineers from Nikon are working at iCONM on basic research and product development.
I think that iCONM has two major attractive characteristics. The first is an environment that enables development of devices and products. The facilities include engineering equipment for nanofabrication, science and chemical experiments. We can also carry out experiments on molecular biology and clinical chemistry. That is, we can focus our attention on the development key technological elements for Nikon’s medical products of the future.
Furthermore, iCONM has bio-safety level 2 facilities for in depth analysis of our medical devices and underlying elemental technology.
Another feature of iCONM is the ability to network and develop connections with researchers from academia and other companies. Such discussions lead to ‘level-up’ of members of Nikon.
Based on our expertise in optical technology and precision fabrication, we are developing in-vitro diagnostic systems for analyzing blood samples etc in test tubes.
Using microfabrication technology we developed bio-devices with micro- fludics (micro channel) that are known are as microTAS.
We have also developed high sensitivity bio-devices based on our expertise in optical technology.
In particular, we are collaborating with Professor Ichiki of Tokyo University on using nanotechnology for basic research and product development.
In our ‘nano-diagnostic system’ developed at COINS consists of a measurement and control instrument and a cartridge made of plastic.
A blood sample is put into the cartridge section and the ‘answer’ comes out. That is, ‘sample-in result-out’.
Completion of ‘sample-in result-out’ yields a quick and easy check. We have high expectations for this “nano diagnostics device”. This system is being used for the detection of biomarkers and types and quantities of micro-RNA.
Measuring micro-RNA opens up the possibility of early detection and diagnosis of cancer.
Furthermore, micro RNA analysis is expected to lead to the understanding of state of many kinds of diseases with potential biomarkers.
The plan to construct a bridge across the Tamagawa River in 2020 will enable researchers to walk from iCONM to the international terminal of Haneda Airport in approximately 15 minutes. This accessibility is expected to enable the formation of truly global networks for researchers at KINGSKYFRONT.