The recent news that IBM has produced computer chips with components that are only 2 nanometers in size reverberated around the globe in May 2021. IBM researchers at the Albany Nanotech Complex developed the groundbreaking chip architecture, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute nanoscale engineering student Justin Nhan, now a senior, is thrilled to have been involved in the effort as a result of SUNY Poly’s educational partnerships that provide unmatched hands-on learning in this exciting, innovative sector.
“I have been working with TEL Technology Center, America, LLC (TEL) as part of their internship program for about three months,” Nhan explained. “I ran specific processes and altered parameters within the process recipe on our TEL tool.”
Those processes played a role in the development of the technology, which can hold 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail. “I was ecstatic when I found out I had contributed to IBM’s 2nm chip breakthrough! This development has a crucial impact on our everyday lives, as semiconductor chips are found in all the electronic devices we use each day, such as computers, automobiles, phones, and more. Being able to take part in this experience is important to me because it enables me to apply the knowledge I have learned from my courses at SUNY Poly to real world applications.”
As a student at SUNY Poly’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Nhan said his path overall has been very rewarding, from engaging in cutting-edge research with professors to working on industry-leading research with renowned semiconductor companies, such as his current internship with TEL. “Through these special opportunities, I have gained many valuable experiences that will advance me in my future endeavors. It is gratifying to see the research I have done and how it has a direct impact in the field that I am majoring in!”
In addition to the proximity to leading global semiconductor-focused companies at SUNY Poly’s Albany campus, Nhan said, “I love being a student at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering because of the great professor to student ratio. It allows for closer interactions between the students and professors and gives students the opportunity to do cutting-edge research with the professors. These amazing opportunities enable students to gain many valuable hands-on experiences that other colleges do not offer.”
The inspiring experience left Nhan knowing he has an exciting future ahead in semiconductor research and development, built on a strong foundation. He has made the President’s List for Academic Excellence each semester since he began as a first-year SUNY Poly student. He has also taken part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and, as the first author on his SURP project poster, he received a 2019 seed grant award for the project, “Synthesis & Utilization of Chemical Detectors.”
In addition, SPIE recently published a research paper for which he was first author, “Modeling the Acid-Catalyzed Cleavage of Carbon-Oxygen Bonds.” He participated in and presented his related SPIE poster and slides during the SPIE Advanced Lithography conference.
Ask Nhan about his SUNY Poly education and he shares his gratitude for how it has helped him get where he is, along with his thanks for his colleague and family’s support. “I was thrilled when my TEL manager, Cory Wajda, and mentors, Daniel Newman and Dina Triyoso, gave me the chance to work on this project. As an intern, I greatly appreciate these opportunities that TEL provides. I would also like to thank SUNY Poly professor Dr. Robert Brainard, colleague Michael Murphy, and the loving support from my father, Matthew Nhan; my mother, Jenny Liu-Nhan; and sister, Kelly Nhan.”