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Yoichi Miyahara – Physics



Yoichi Miyahara – Physics

The Project

Yoichi Miyahara – Physics

Quantum technology is a class of technology based on the exploitation of the principle of quantum mechanics, such as quantum entanglement and quantum superposition, and promises revolutionary improvement in computing, communications, and sensing. As quantum technology becomes reality, exploration of new types of materials that can be used as quantum bits (qubits)—the fundamental building blocks of quantum technology—is increasingly important for their more wide-spread use.

My CAREER project pursues experimental techniques to characterize diverse nanometer-scale materials such as nanoparticles, nanowires, and single molecules as qubits. Quantum information stored in a qubit is very fragile and hard to read out and thus requires a new readout technique, which is the main subject of the project. The outcome of this project will enable us to “discover” a broad range of nanomaterials that have not been investigated as qubits. These new types of qubits could operate at much higher temperatures, enabling wider spread use of quantum technology.

CAREER Journey

I feel lucky and grateful to have been awarded a CAREER grant because it was my very first proposal submitted to NSF. I first learned about the NSF CAREER award while I was considering accepting the faculty job offer from Texas State. Previously, I had only worked outside the U.S.

At first, I thought CAREER awards were meant for young faculty and not for someone like me, who obtained my Ph.D. nearly two decades ago. Even after confirming my eligibility for the award, I was still skeptical because I had no idea how ageism might play a role in CAREER proposal reviews. So, I decided to talk to program officers to clear my doubt and also to figure out which NSF division would be most appropriate for my proposal. I ended up talking with four or five officers, and the conversations were very fruitful. They not only encouraged me to submit a CAREER proposal regardless of my age but also suggested the most appropriate division for my proposal after officers in multiple divisions discussed my project with each other. Some of them told me they would be interested in reviewing my proposal. These positive comments convinced me to give it a try.

After starting to write the proposal, I asked some of my department colleagues to read it through. I really appreciate the useful comments they provided me. I am also grateful for the grant writing workshops I attended and the feedback from external grant writing advisors. All the support I received was invaluable for someone like me, who had no experience in writing NSF grant proposals, to get awarded a CAREER grant.