Smallest Tufts Logo Ever

Chemistry postdoctoral scholar uses 51 atoms to spell out the university name
Tufts logo in 51 atoms
Photo: Courtesy of Natalie Wasio
February 1, 2016

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Tufts has some big boosters—and some small ones, too.

That was certainly the case for chemistry postdoctoral scholar Natalie Wasio. She’s working with Charles Sykes, a professor of chemistry, on a project to turn molecules into motors. Recently she tried to develop a chain of “cog wheels” made of molecules. One of the byproducts of the process was individual atoms of bromine—a nonmetallic element that is a liquid at room temperature—shed from the molecules as they hit the surface.

“Being the curious scientist, I wanted to have a little fun with them,” says Wasio, so she wrote “Tufts” by positioning 51 bromine atoms on a copper surface, using the lab’s low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope. The logo is 20 nanometers wide—for perspective, the head of a pin is 1 million nanometers.

What’s Wasio’s next atomic logo? Here’s a hint, she says: Valentine’s Day is not far off.

Taylor McNeil can be reached at taylor.mcneil@tufts.edu.