Tamargo poses in her office in the CDI building. Photo by: Anthony Viola

By: Mia Chin

On September 6, the North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy Advisory Board awarded the work of Maria C. Tamargo. Tamargo will receive the 2017 MBE Innovator Award for her exploration in nanotechnology. On October 15, she will accept the honor in Galveston, Texas.

Tamargo received her PhD at John Hopkins University. In 1993, she began working as a professor at the City College of New York. As a leading Cuban-American scientist, she describes her research as “an evaporation technique.” She develops “with very precise control, so you can make extremely thin layers and stacks of layers. [This is] so you can manipulate the properties that you get from the materials at the end. These are materials for applications in electronics and photonics. They make semi-conductor devices out of them.”

The award recognizes individuals whose work has advanced the field of molecular beam epitaxy. Recipients are scientists whose inventive work continues to have a significant impact on the advancement of MBE technology.

As the recipient of the 2017 MBE Innovator Award, Tamargo will receive a $3000 prize and a plaque. She will present her research in “advancing the growth of the wide-bandgap II-VI semiconductors by molecular beam epitaxy and demonstrating their unique physical properties and potential novel device applications” at the NAMBE Conference.

“When we moved [to the CDI] and because the equipment is rather elaborate, it was a big deal,” says Tamargo. Photo by: Anthony Viola

Tamargo conducts her cutting-edge research at the City College Center of Discovery and Innovation. Three years ago, before the construction of CDI, her research team operated in Marshak. She describes the transition as “a big deal.” Tamargo currently has three doctoral students, one masters, and one undergraduate student working for her in the lab.

Her research included new materials never used in the field before. She states, “The innovation is not so much that I’ve innovated the technique, that in my case at least, we’ve done innovative things with it. Materials that are new and different, and they’ve resulted in interesting outcomes for technology.”

Tamargo’s team uses this equipment, which ultimately led to the MBE achievement. Photo by: Anthony Viola

When asked about her feelings surrounding her achievement, Tamargo responds, “it’s a community that I worked with for many years. I know many people, I have many friends in the community, and I’ve worked hard. I’ve enjoyed it because it’s a very dynamic field. It’s very nice when the people you work with appreciate you and want to recognize you. I felt very moved and very pleased.”

In addition to her faculty position at CCNY, Tamargo is the Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s CREST Center for Interface Design and Engineered Assembly of Low-dimensional Systems (IDEALS).


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