Junichiro Kono received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in applied physics from the University of Tokyo in 1990 and 1992, respectively, and completed his Ph.D. in physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1995. He was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of California Santa Barbara from 1995-1997, and the W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory Fellow in the Department of Physics at Stanford University from 1997-2000. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Rice University in 2000 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2005 and to Professor in 2009. He is currently a Professor in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, and Materials Science & Nanoengineering at Rice University.
Professor Kono has also founded and implemented multiple education programs, including the nationally recognized international research experience program called NanoJapan. NanoJapan was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and received the Heiskell Award for Innovation from the Institute of International Education in 2008. In 2016, his team was selected by the U.S.-Japan Council to implement TOMODACHI STEM @ Rice, which serve as a catalyst for female Japanese students interested in science and engineering research and engagement with the U.S. through international research collaborations. Professor Kono is a leader in optical studies of condensed matter systems and photonic applications of nanosystems, including semiconductor nanostructures and carbon-based nanomaterials. He has made a number of pioneering contributions to the diverse fields of semiconductor optics, terahertz spectroscopy and devices, ultrafast and quantum optics, and condensed matter physics.
Specifically, his high-impact achievements include: exploration of extreme nonlinear optics in semiconductors using small-energy photons; ultrafast optical manipulation of collective spins in ferromagnetic semiconductors; observation of the Aharonov-Bohm effect in carbon nanotubes via magneto-optics; ultrafast and nonlinear optical studies of carbon nanotubes; first observation of superfluorescence in a solid through cooperative recombination of quantum degenerate electron-hole pairs; and demonstrations of the ultrastrong coupling regime in high-Q terahertz cavities. Kono’s research group uses state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques to probe charge, spin, and vibrational dynamics. Their experimental facilities include the RAMBO system -- a unique mini-coil-based 30-T pulsed magnet system equipped with ultrafast and nonlinear optical spectroscopy setups.