Shiv won the "Superior Presentation" medal at the 2008 Sigma Xi: Scientific Research Society's Annual Student Conference in Washington D.C. for a poster presentation on his NanoJapan research project. Click here to view an interview from the conference or click here to see Shiv's research website.
NanoJapan Research Overview
I worked in the Itoh Laboratory at Keio University just outside of Tokyo. The principal investigator of my lab, Kohei Itoh, is a leading expert on quantum computers and semiconductor isotope engineering. Though I am a biomedical engineering student, my project focused on nanofabrication of single atom-wide wires for applications towards quantum computation. I polished silicon wafers using advanced materials so that they had step-like patterns on their surface. I then used an atomic force microscope (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to characterize these steps. The goal was to then use the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) machine to deposit silicon 29 atoms (with nuclear spin) in a single row against these steps. My goal coming into the laboratory was to learn techniques, which I most certainly did. I probably will not work on quantum computers in the future, but I definitely expect to use an STM or AFM for future research projects. The theoretical knowledge I picked up will also be useful for future research endeavors.
Meaning of NanoJapan
When I first heard about NanoJapan, I knew it would be the perfect summer. I had been looking for a way to combine an exciting international experience with productive science/engineering research. NanoJapan is unique in that it successfully provides both opportunities without sacrificing one for the other. It was a pleasure to meet 15 other motivated engineering students from other institutions because nanotechnology is a small world (pun intended) in that many researchers know each other. It was also great to be able to meet and keep in touch with students and professors in Japan. NanoJapan not only gave me a solid foundation to pursue further work in nanotechnology (a potential thesis topic of mine), it allowed me to meet people whom I expect to stay in contact with throughout my career.
Daily Life in Japan
Of all of my NanoJapan peers, I almost certainly had one of the best experiences with my labmates. I quickly made friends with my graduate student supervisors, Jun Ozawa, Tomoya Arai, and Shinchan Huang. We had a good time inside and outside of the lab. They were integral in getting me moved in and acquainted with Keio University, where I spent 8 weeks of my summer. A representative daily schedule during my time was as follows: wake up, make breakfast, bike to the lab, work on sample preparation/imaging, eat with my labmates, do some more research, bike back to the dorm, go out and explore different shops/restaurants, practice Japanese, etc. Keep in mind that this schedule does not do justice to my actual daily life in Japan. Every day there was something new to explore, learn, eat, etc. I traveled every weekend with my friends and visited Kamakura, Kyoto, Himeji, Hiroshima, Osaka, Sendai, and even Sapporo in Hokkaido (thanks to the Japan Rail Pass). The weekly reports we submitted to NanoJapan provide more detailed information about my everyday challenges (mostly language) and rewarding experiences (travel times) during the summer.
My favorite experience in Japan was...
Traveling to Sapporo with two friends and spending the weekend with our other NanoJapan friends who were doing research at Hokkaido University.
Before I left for Japan I wish I had...
Finished my final exams so I could have fully enjoyed the first week without having to study for organic chemistry.
While I was in Japan I wish I had...
Not worn shorts while climbing Fuji and I wish my group had not gotten lost on the way down.