Emergent Molecular Assembly Research Unit

Principal Investigator

PI Name Hiroshi Sato
Degree Ph.D.
Title Unit Leader
Brief Resume
2008Ph. D., The University of Tokyo
2008Researcher, JST-ERATO Kitagawas Integrated Pores Project
2010Project Assistant Professor, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University
2012Assistant Professor, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University
2014Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, University of Tokyo
2020Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, University of Tokyo
2020Researcher, PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency (-present)

Unit Leader, Emergent Molecular Assembly Research Unit, Cross-Divisional Materials Research Program, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (-present)


The aim of this unit is to unleash the potential of molecules by controlling their assembly and arrangement patterns, and to create novel functions that are impossible to achieve with single molecules. Our specific research themes are as follows.
(1) Creation of materials by precise arrangement of topological bonds: By periodically arranging topological bonds such as catenanes, we will realize new materials.
(2) Sequence control in supramolecular polymerization: In supramolecular polymerization, it is still challenging to control the monomer sequence, so we are trying to control the sequence in coordination polymers.

Research Fields

Chemistry, Materials Science


Crystal engineering
Porous materials


Photoresponsive Porous Crystals

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous materials constructed from metal ions and organic ligands, and their various types of pores can be applied to gas storage, separation, catalysis, etc. In general, MOFs that readily take in guest molecules do not readily release them, and there is often a trade-off between taking in and releasing guest molecules. We are challenging this long-standing dilemma for porous materials by developing MOFs composed of diarylethene derivatives, photoreactive molecules. The MOFs can be disassembled into solution by UV light irradiation and reconstructed by visible light irradiation, which enables the highly effective release and uptake of various guest molecules.

Photochemically Crushable and Regenerative Porous Crystals


Hiroshi Sato

Unit Leader hiroshi.sato[at]riken.jp


  1. H. Sato, T. Matsui, Z. Chen, J. Pirillo, Y. Hijikata, and T. Aida

    Photochemically Crushable and Regenerative Metal-Organic Framework

    J. Am. Chem. Soc. 142, 14069 (2020)
  2. S. Suginome, H. Sato, A. Hori, A. Mishima, Y. Harada, S. Kusaka, R. Matsuda, J. Pirillo, Y. Hijikata, and T. Aida

    One-Step Synthesis of an Adaptive Nanographene MOF: Adsorbed Gas-Dependent Geometrical Diversity

    J. Am. Chem. Soc. 141, 15649 (2019)
  3. V. K.-M. Au, K. Nakayashiki, H. Huang, S. Suginome, H. Sato, and T. Aida

    Stepwise Expansion of Layered Metal-Organic Frameworks for Nonstochastic Exfoliation into Porous Nanosheets

    J. Am. Chem. Soc. 141, 53 (2019)


Room 155, Main Research Building, Hirosawa 2-1, Wako, Saitama 351-0198 Japan