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Sumio Iijima ( born May 2, 1939) is a Japanese physicist, often cited as the discoverer of carbon nanotubes. Although carbon nanotubes had been observed prior to his "discovery"1, Iijima's 1991 paper generated unprecedented interest in the carbon nanostructures and has since fueled intense research in the area of nanotechnology.

Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1939, Iijima graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1963 from the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo. He received a Master's degree in 1965 and completed his Ph.D. in solid-state physics in 1968, both at Tohoku University in Sendai.

Between 1970 and 1982 he performed research with crystalline materials and high-resolution electron microscopy at Arizona State University. He visited the University of Cambridge during 1979 to perform studies on carbon materials.

He worked for the Research Development Corporation of Japan from 1982 to 1987, studying ultra-fine particles, after which he joined NEC Corporation where he is still employed. He discovered carbon nanotubes in 1991 while working with NEC. He is also a professor at Meijo University since 1999. Furthermore, he is the director of the Research Center for Advanced Carbon Materials, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

He was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics in 2002, "for the discovery and elucidation of the atomic structure and helical character of multi-wall and single-wall carbon nanotubes, which have had an enormous impact on the rapidly growing condensed matter and materials science field of nanoscale science and electronics."

He is currently the dean of SKK Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology (SAINT).


* "About Myself" - NEC's page about Dr. Sumio Iijima

* "Nanotubulites" - Meijo and JST's page about Dr. Sumio Iijima


* 1 - http://www.cemes.fr/fichpdf/GuestEditorial.pdf

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