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What is TeraNano?

This U.S.-Japanese partnership explores terahertz (THz or 1012 Hz) dynamics in nanostructures. The electromagnetic spectrum from 0.1 to 10 THz offers many opportunities to study physical phenomena, with potential payoff in numerous technologies.
However, this regime is poorly developed compared to those of electronics (< 100 GHz) and photonics (> 10 THz). By a judicious combination of THz technology and nanotechnology (“TeraNano”), we significantly advance our understanding of THz physics, while improving existing, and developing new, THz devices. Although Japan and the U.S. are global leaders in both THz research and nanotechnology, there remain obstacles to further collaboration between them, primarily linguistic and
cultural barriers. By breaking down these barriers, this PIRE program achieves long-term scientific and societal impact, providing future generations of researchers with an understanding of both the culture, and state-of-the-art technology, in each country.

TeraNano builds on our successful PIRE I program, supported by NSF since 2006. Our unique, interdisciplinary, team is strategically expanded for this renewal, including researchers and educators with a wide range of complementary backgrounds. All members have strong track records in international collaboration, and our combined expertise brings together all components needed to undertake large-scale research and education projects that would otherwise be impossible for any smaller group of PIs. A key feature of this team is our proven record of successfully integrating research and education in global settings. In this renewal program, we provide innovative educational opportunities for U.S. participants, including structured research internships in Japan for participants at all levels, from freshman undergraduates to graduate students.

Intellectual Merits: This research (a) advances our quantitative understanding of the THz dynamics of interacting, confined, and driven electrons in nanostructures, (b) grows, synthesizes, and fabricates novel nanostructures for THz study and applications, (c) advances our cutting-edge experimental
techniques in THz spectroscopy and imaging, and (d) provides new knowledge useful for developing novel semiconductor or carbon-based devices that operate in the THz “technology gap.”

Broader Impacts: Our program (a) fosters interest in nanotechnology (freshmen and sophomores), (b) prepares the next generation of graduate students in nanoscience and nanotechnology (juniors and seniors), (c) adds to the skill set of active nanoscience researchers (graduate students and faculty), (d) creates participants who are internationally aware and have a specific interest and expertise in Japan (all levels), (e) simultaneously educates participants in culture, language, science, and technology (all levels), and (f) yields transformational institutional change, developing a new model for multi-disciplinary collaboration among scholars in engineering, the sciences, and the humanities.

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