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Arisaka, Katsushi

 Arisaka, KatsushiKatsushi Arisaka, Distinguished Professor

UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, 2010

Research Group: Arisaka Laboratory

Office: 4-145 Knudsen, Phone: 310.825.4925, Email



Katsushi Arisaka received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from University of Tokyo in 1985. He was a research investigator at the University of Pennsylvania from 1985 to 1988.  Since 1988, he has been with the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the University of California, Los Angles where he has established a sophisticated laboratory in search of the origin of life, consciousness and the universe through physics using today’s technology in advance photon detectors and optical systems. In 2013, he started a joint appointment as professor in the Electrical Engineering Department.

Research Interests

Katsushi Arisaka started his research in 1979 at University of Tokyo as a graduate student of Professor Masatoshi Koshiba. The first assignment was to develop the world’s largest, 20 inch Photomultiplier for the Kamiokande Experiment. This experiment eventually detected the neutrinos from Supernova Explosion in 1987, then neutrinos from the Sun, thus opened a new field of science called Neutrino Astronomy. Through this achievement, Toshi Koshiba was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002.

In the 1990’s, he focused on rare decay processes of kaons to understand the asymmetry of particles and anti-particles (called CP-Violation) at both BNL and Fermilab. Then in 1998, his research interest was shifted towards cosmology, in particular, understanding the origin of the universe. To unveil the mystery of the most energetic particles in nature, he participated in the construction of the Pierre-Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina. At the same time, he contributed to the construction of the CMS Endcap Muon Chambers for LHC at CERN in Switzerland. In 2007, Arisaka's interest was redirected to detection of dark matter particles. Currently the main focus is the dark matter experiment, XENON100 at Gran Sasso in Italy, and its successor, XENON 1Ton. His group is also collaborating with DarkSide and MAX.

While working on particle astrophysics in 2006, Arisaka became very intrigued with the mystery of the origin of life and consciousness. He then realized that the most advanced photon detectors for particle physics could be applied to optical microscopes to speed up any kind of biological observation. This new concept triggered many researchers in biology and medicine on UCLA campus, and it resulted in several fruitful collaborations, ranging from single molecule observation in live cells to neuroscience at UCLA Medical School.

Awards and Recognitions

    • 2010 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award


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