For a special 15th anniversary episode of its podcast series, “Stories from NNI,” the National Nanotechnology Initiative this month features an interview with physics professor Mark Tuominen, associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Natural Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society. In the podcast, he reflects on highlights from NNI history and some of its notable accomplishments.
Tuominen, who was instrumental in establishing the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing on campus as well asthe National Nanomanufacturing Network, recalls that he has always enjoyed making things, but it wasn’t until he was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard that he became involved in nanotechnology, then called mesoscopic physics. He made and measured hundred-nanometer-scale electron tunneling devices known as single-electron transistors which, because of their small size, could control electrons one by one, or two by two if they are superconductors. “Derivatives of these devices are now used as quantum bits or qubits in quantum computing research and development,” he notes.
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