Interview with Toma Susi in Austria's Die Presse Newspaper


Assistant Professor Toma Susi was interviewed in Austria's "Die Presse" newspaper as part of a series on outstanding young researchers.

Ass.-Prof. Susi first came to the University of Vienna as part of the Lise-Meitner program, an initiative of the Austiran Science Fund (FWF) in 2013. He received the title of Assistant Professor in 2019. His research group is focused on understanding the effects of electron and ion irradiation on low-dimensional materials via closely coupled atomically resolved experiments and first principles modeling.

The article on Dr. Susi's achievements highlights the Atom Tractor Beam project. Funded by the Vienna Business Agency, the initiative communicates current research results in materials physics. Materials are defined by their chemical structure, i.e. the arrangement of atoms. To control the material properties, you can either rearrange or replace atoms. The team of Dr. Susi uses an electron beam in a Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM) to manipulate strongly bound materials with atomic precision, opening new possibilities for nanotechnology. Because the instruments used are fully computerized, it is possible to show how researchers use them. This allows for compelling and realistic presentations of the most recent research in materials science.

The Atom Tractor Beam website offers a simulation game where users can mimic Dr. Susi's own work, using a simulated electron beam to manipulate the position of atoms. The same simulation game can be played "in person" at the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) as part of the exhibition "Weiter Gedacht: Arbeit & Produktion" (Looking Ahead: Work & Production). It shows, at a magnification of 50x million, how silicon atoms are shifted in a graphene pattern.

As Susi explains in his interview with "Die Presse": "We researchers do not sit directly in the room of the electron microscope, but control the high-precision technology from a PC in an adjoining room so as not to disturb the sensitive equipment. Our daily work looks more or less like a computer game, and with the help of the Vienna Business Agency we were able to create this experience."

The full interview can be read online (in German) on the website of "Die Presse".