Research Units

Microstructure Analysis and Grain Boundary Engineering

Many of the materials around us are polycrystalline materials composed of many crystals or "grains". Grain boundaries are interfaces between two grains of different orientations, and their structures and properties depend on the crystal orientation relationship between the neighbouring grains. The properties of grain boundaries often control the physical properties of the entire polycrystalline material. One example of the importance of grain boundaries is the issue in solar cells of polycrystalline materials, a key technology in the search for greener and sustainable energy, grain boundaries are one of the main causes of losses causing decreases in the conversion efficiency of sunlight to electrical energy, but an important point is that not all grain boundaries contribute to this loss to the same extent. There are certain types at which the decrease in the conversion efficiency hardly occurs at all. This example shows that it is important to make the best use of the individual characteristics of grain boundaries to design and control materials properties. The research in our group takes as its basis grain boundary and interface science and engineering and the PMP triangle of 'Microstructure-Properties-Processing', with the aim of developing advanced materials with excellent function and performance.

Microstructure Analysis and Grain Boundary Engineering

Unit members

  • Japan
    Unit coordinator
    Sadahiro TSUREKAWA
    Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Kumamoto University
  • Germany
    Dmitri Aleks MOLODOV
    Professor, Institute of Physical Metallurgy and Metal Physics, RWTH, Aachen University/ IROAST Distinguished Professor
  • Czech Republic
    Pavel LEJČEK
    Professor, Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague/ IROAST Visiting Professor
    Czech Republic
  • Japan
    Mitsuhiro MATSUDA
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Kumamoto University
  • Austria
    Thomas WAITZ
    Associate Professor/IROAST Visiting Professor, Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna
  • Austria
    Christian RENTENBERGER
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna/ IROAST Visiting Professor
  • Japan
    Yoshitaka MATSUKAWA
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Kumamoto University



J-E Brandenburg, J. Seo, K. Eto, D. A. Molodov, S. Tsurekawa, Influence of symmetrical <101 ̅0> high-angle tilt grain boundaries on the local mechanical properties of magnesium bicrystals, Materials Science & Engineering A, 2021, v. 826, 141913. DOI: 10.1016/j.msea.2021.141913

L. A. Barrales-Mora, Yoshiyiku Tokuda, D. A. Molodov, S. Tsurekawa, On incipient plasticity in the vicinity of grain boundaries in aluminum bicrystals: Experimental and simulation nanoindentation study, Materials Science & Engineering A, 2021, v. 828, 142100. DOI: 10.1016/j.msea.2021.142100

S. Ii, T. Enami, T. Ohmura and S. Tsurekawa, Direct characterization in relation between mechanical response and microstructure evolution in Aluminium by transmission electron microscope in-situ straining, Materials, 14(2021), 1431. DOI: 10.3390/ma14061431

M. Berahmand, M. Ketabchi, M. Jamshidian, S. Tsurekawa, Investigation of Microstructure Evolution and Martensite Transformation Developed in Austenitic Stainless Steel Subjected to a Plastic Strain Gradient: A Combination Study of Mirco-XRD, EBSD, and ECCI Techniques, Micron, 143 (2021), 103014. DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2021

S. Kobayashi, W.T. Yang, Y. Tomobe, R. Okada, S. Tsurekawa, Low-angle boundary engineering for improving high-cycle fatigue property of 430 ferritic stainless steel, J. Mater. Sci. 55 (2020), 9273. DOI: 10.1007/s10853-020-04555-0

  • M. Matsuda: Promotion of Joint International Research (Fostering Joint International Research(B)) of KAKENHI, "Development of innovative functional materials based on the evaluation and control for interface dynamics", Grant Number JP19KK0125 (from FY2019 to FY2022),
  • M. Matsuda: Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), “Development of high temperature shape memory alloy based on the atomic shuffling mechanism in martensitic transformation”, Grant Number JP20H02427 (from FY2020 to FY2023).
  • S. Tsurekawa: Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), “Grain boundary – dislocation interactions under chemical and physical reaction fields associated with grain boundary segregation”, Grant Number 20H001760 (from FY2022 to FY2025).
  • S. Tsurekawa: The Iron and Steel Institute of Japan Research Promotion Grant, “Impact of grain boundary character and structure on hydrogen embrittlement of grain boundary in a-iron” (from FY2022 to FY2023).


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