Smallest Tufts Logo Ever

Chemistry postdoctoral scholar uses 51 atoms to spell out the university name

Tufts logo in 51 atoms

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

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