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Chief Scientist Laboratories Star and Planet Formation Laboratory

Chief Scientist: Nami Sakai (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Nami  Sakai(Ph.D.)

Star and planet formation is one of the most fundamental structure-formation processes in the universe. By use of the state-of-the-art radio telescopes including ALMA, we are investigating when a disk structure is formed around a solar-type protostar, and how it is evolved into a protoplanetary disk and eventually to a planetary system. This is an essential question deeply related to the origin of the Solar system. We particularly focus on a relation between physical evolution and chemical evolution during star and planet formation. Related laboratory spectroscopic studies in the millimeter and submillimeter regimes are also planned.

Main Research Fields

  • Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Related Research Fields

  • Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Astronomy
  • Physics
  • Earth and planetary science


  • Star formation
  • Planetary system formation
  • Radio astronomy
  • Astrochemistry
  • Spectroscopy

Selected Publications

Papers with an asterisk(*) are based on research conducted outside of RIKEN.

  • 1. Yao-Lun Yang, Joel D. Green, Klaus M. Pontoppidan, Jennifer B. Bergner, L. Ilsedore Cleeves, Neal J. Evans, Robin T. Garrod, Mihwa Jin, Chul Hwan Kim, Jaeyeong Kim, Jeong-Eun Lee, Nami Sakai, Christopher N. Shingledecker, Brielle Shope, John J. Tobin, and Ewine F. van Dishoeck.:
    "CORINOS. I. JWST/MIRI Spectroscopy and Imaging of a Class 0 Protostar IRAS 15398–3359"
    ApJL, 941, L13, 16pp (2022)
  • 2. Satoshi Ohashi, Riouhei Nakatani, Hauyu Baobab Liu, Hiroshi Kobayashi, Yichen Zhang, Tomoyuki Hanawa, and Nami Sakai.:
    "Formation of Dust Clumps with Sub-Jupiter Mass and Cold Shadowed Region in Gravitationally Unstable Disk around Class 0/I Protostar in L1527 IRS"
    ApJ, 934, 163, 17pp (2022)
  • 3. Yoshimasa Watanabe, Yutaro Chiba, Takeshi Sakai, Akemi Tamanai, Rikako Suzuki, and Nami Sakai.:
    "Spectrometer Using superconductor MIxer Receiver (SUMIRE) for laboratory submillimeter spectroscopy"
    PASJ, 73, pp372-393 (2021)
  • 4. Yao-Lun Yang, Nami Sakai, Yichen Zhang, Nadia M. Murillo, Ziwei E. Zhang, Aya E. Higuchi, Shaoshan Zeng, Ana López-Sepulcre, Satoshi Yamamoto, Bertrand Lefloch, Mathilde Bouvier, Cecilia Ceccarelli, Tomoya Hirota, Muneaki Imai, Yoko Oya, Takeshi Sakai, and Yoshimasa Watanabe.:
    "The Perseus ALMA Chemistry Survey (PEACHES). I. The Complex Organic Molecules in Perseus Embedded Protostars"
    ApJ, 910, 20, 38pp (2021)
  • 5. Nami Sakai, Tomoyuki Hanawa, Yichen Zhang, Aya E. Higuchi, Satoshi Ohashi, Yoko Oya, and Satoshi Yamamoto.:
    "A warped disk around an infant protostar"
    Nature, 565, p206-208 (2019)
  • 6. Yuji Ebisawa, Nami Sakai, Karl M. Menten, and Satoshi Yamamoto.:
    "The Effect of Far-infrared Radiation on the Hyperfine Anomaly of the OH 18cm Transition"
    ApJ, 871, 89, 28pp (2019)
  • 7. Aya E. Higuchi, Nami Sakai, Yoshimasa Watanabe, Ana Lopez-Sepulcre, Kento Yoshida, Yoko Oya, Muneaki Imai, Yichen Zhang, Cecilia Ceccarelli, Bertrand Lefloch, Claudio Codella, Rafael Bachiller, Tomoya Hirota, Takeshi Sakai, and Satoshi Yamamoto.:
    "Chemical Survey toward Young Stellar Objects in the Perseus Molecular Cloud Complex"
    ApJS, 236, 52, 25pp (2018)
  • 8. Aya E. Higuchi, Aki Sato, Takashi Tsukagoshi, Nami Sakai, Kazunari Iwasaki, Munetake Momose, Hiroshi Kobayashi, Daisuke Ishihara, Sakae Watanabe, Hidehiro Kaneda, and Satoshi Yamamoto.:
    "Detection of Submillimeter-wave [CI] Emission in Gaseous Debris Disks of 49 Ceti and βPictoris"
    ApJL, 839, L14, 6pp (2017)
  • 9. *Nami Sakai, Takeshi Sakai, Tomoya Hirota, Yoshimasa Watanabe, Cecilia Ceccarelli, Claudine Kahane, Sandrine Bottinelli, Emmanuel Caux, Karine Demyk, Charlotte Vastel, Audrey Cautens, Vianney Taquet, Nagayoshi Ohashi, Shigehisa Takakuwa, His-Wei Yen, Yuri Aikawa, and Satoshi Yamamoto.:
    "Change in the chemical composition of infalling gas forming a disk around a protostar"
    Nature, 507, p78-80 (2014)
  • 10. *Nami Sakai and Satoshi Yamamoto.:
    "Warm Carbon-Chain Chemistry"
    Chem. Rev., 113, p8981-9015 (2013)

Recent Research Results

Annual research report

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Nami Sakai
Chief Scientist

Core members

Yao-Lun Yang
Research Scientist
Takahiro Oyama
Research Scientist
Akemi Tamanai
Research Scientist
Yuki Okoda
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Ross Alexander Burns
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Shaoshan Zeng
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Ziwei Zhang
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Asensio Judit Ferrer I
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Yoshimasa Watanabe
Visiting Scientist
Satoshi Ohashi
Visiting Scientist
Shota Notsu
Visiting Scientist

Contact Information

S407 Chemistry and Materials Physics Building,
2-1 Hirosawa,
Wako, Saitama
351-0198, Japan
Email: nami.sakai [at] riken.jp