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International Researchers Working at NTT Laboratories

A cutting edge technological research haven in industry.

Imran Mahboob

Science and Core Technology Laboratory Group Basic Research Laboratories Physical Science Laboratory Hybrid Nanostructure Physics Research Group

Note:The contents and the name of the laboratory are as of the time of the interview.


Imran Mahboob was born in England, and joined NTT in 2005. He has always sought new challenges, enjoying puzzles as a child, and developing a passion for rock climbing as he grew older. The satisfaction derived from overcoming challenges, both as a student and now at NTT, encourage him to pursue research into future technology.

I first heard about NTT Laboratories while visiting Japan for an academic conference in 2004, as the organizer of the conference worked for NTT Laboratories. I did some research after returning to England, and found that NTT conducts advanced research and development in close contact with industry. This interested me, so finally I sent my resume and ended up joining them. Once inside the company, I had the great fortune of meeting my supervisor, a dedicated and inspiring person.

I studied nano-size resonators upon joining NTT Laboratories, but 2.5 long years passed without producing any tangible results. The struggle to succeed nearly broke my spirit many times, but I refused to give up and continued my research. At last my efforts bore fruit in the form of a nano-size mechanical resonator that could form the backbone of new generation of parallel low-power computing. A few years later, some this research even led to the development of the first mechanical phonon laser which was internationally recognized including the “Breakthrough of the YearEas awarded by the American Physical Society. I could not have achieved these results without the unflinching support of my boss and NTT Laboratories, both of whom created the environment for me in which cutting edge research could be executed.

Many international people I know here say they choose to live in Japan because they love the culture. Of course, I like Japanese culture too, but that's not really the reason why I work for NTT Laboratories. Every country has its own culture, and to me Japan is just another country.

Much more important to me is the fact that NTT allows me to focus so much on conducting such advanced research in an industrial setting. I don't like failing, so even in research, the more someone tells me something is too hard or impossible, the more determined I am to succeed. NTT Basic Research Laboratories where I work have the world's finest research equipment, and I doubt whether any other university or organization in the world is better equipped than we are here. This excellent environment helps to maintain my drive as I have no excuses and the only ingredient required to produce great research results is my own motivation. Just as lasers were studied for many years before optical communications technology blossomed into the highly digitally interconnected society we see today, my research technology may also take another 30 or 40 years to bloom. But I know that at NTT Laboratories, we can make this distant future a reality.

I have three key missions for my research here at NTT Laboratories. The first is to improve our already wonderful research environment. First class researchers come together at NTT Laboratories and leave behind unparalleled technologies. This in turn encourages and inspires the next generation of excellent researchers to join the NTT Corporation. To acquire the best human talent in the future and to pass the baton onto those who come after me, I too must produce and share the groundbreaking results of my research with the rest of the world. My second mission is to conduct research that will lead to a sustainable future for the NTT Corporation. NTT Laboratories place great value on future potential, and so have built an environment that is conducive to research for the distant future. Even if something can't be put to immediate practical use, it is our responsibility to develop technologies that will become the foundation of society in the future.

This potential of a future pipe line of technologies and products is especially important to institutional investors and it encourages them to support NTT which in turn gives us the confidence to pursue basic research. Finally, my third mission is to promote the NTT brand abroad. Since the Japanese domestic market is already mature, we must turn our attention to the world market. So if the strength of the NTT brand is recognized around the world through its ground breaking research results, it makes it easier to develop relationships with international markets. Indeed such strong brand awareness will enable our corporate ethos of developing sustainable business opportunities through basic and advanced research to form the cornerstone of such international partnerships. That is my role as a researcher at NTT Laboratories.