Laboratory of Transformational Soft Matter

Transformational research to create new functional materials from a basic understanding of polymer gels

Research Theme

In the Laboratory of Transformational Soft Matter, we create functional polymer hydrogels, understand the mechanism of their functions, and use the knowledge obtained as a guideline for designing the next generation of functional gels. By repeating the cycle to create even more highly functional materials, we can enhance the usefulness of polymer gels as if climbing a spiral staircase. In the middle of the spiral staircase, some technologies lead to biomaterials and new physical property measurement methods, which lead to the exit for “real world” applications. In our laboratory, you can learn about topics ranging from fundamental basics of materials to cutting-edge applications through gel research. Examples of research themes that traverse this range include understanding fundamentals of friction, wear, and fatigue; developing double-network gels with toughness exceeding natural cartilage; and creation and physical property analysis of gels for therapeutic use. The culmination of this work leads to the development of tough soft composite materials with the potential for applied use, and a real impact on society.

For more information about individual topics, click here.



We have published a new paper in Macromolecules, entitled "In Situ Evaluation of the Polymer Concentration Distribution of Microphase-Separated Polyelectrolyte Hydrogels by the Microelectrode Technique" by T. Nishimura, T. Kurokawa, and coworkers. Congratulations Nishimura-san!


Takuya Nishimura won an excellent poster presentation award at the 11th CSJ Chemistry Festa. Congratulations Nishimura-san!


We have published a new paper at Matter, entitled "Tiny yet tough: Maximizing the toughness of fiber-reinforced soft composites in the absence of a fiber-fracture mechanism" by W. Cui, D. R. King, and coworkers. This is a collaborative work with the Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter. Congratulations Cui-san! Please send an email to dking at for reprints of this paper.


Our new paper is now available online (open access) at Scientific Reports, entitled "Improving the strength and toughness of macroscale double networks by exploiting Poisson's ratio mismatch" by T. Okumura, D. R. King, and coworkers. Congratulations Okumura-san!


Our new website is online!


Dr. King has published a preview article in Chem, the chemistry partner journal of Cell. Click here to see the article and abstract, and feel free to email us for a copy of the article!


Our new laboratory has formed!


Contact kurokawa at (日本語) or dking at (English)
to get more information about our laboratory

Funding and Support

We we would like to acknowledge our funding from the following sources: