The scientific work of Tenio Popminchev has been attracting the attention of some of the brightest minds. It is not by chance that Nobel Laureates has placed him among the top 10 young researchers who have the chance to make revolutionary discoveries and change the world.
Science News calls them tenacious dreamers. Popminchev’s path started in the classes of legendary teacher of physics in the High School of Mathematics in Kazanlak, Teodosii Teodosiev, who introduced him into the vast world of science and opportunities in order for him to become inventor and creator. Tenio Popminchev is also grateful and he flew across the ocean especially for the 70th anniversary of his first science teacher.
Tenio Popminchev has attracted the attention of the biggest names of science with the x-ray laser he created in the laboratories of the University of Colorado Boulder. There he achieved doctorate degree and had the chance to study from the best in the world. As professor it is his turn to pass the knowledge to the next generation of young laser physicists. The X-ray laser he built can be fitted on a tabletop and can be used in fundamental science, industry and nanotechnology, early diagnosis of diseases, and the creation of a new generation of ultra-fast microprocessors and hard disks.
“If you want a much faster processor for your mobile phone or laptop, there will have to be a lot more transistors per unit of area. But then we will not be able to print small electronic circuits, nor see them,” Tenio Popminchev says. “While by using a similar laser that looks like an ultra-fast camera we have the ability to see nanoscale, but that's not its only property. And as we are talking about the quantum world, it is about extremely fast processes that human consciousness cannot perceive. Imagine, for example, that we play God and want to create nano and biotechnology. Then we should be able to see not only extremely small objects but also super-fast processes.”
It takes at least seven years to gain knowledge and experimental experience to allow you to work on a world level, the physicist says. The formula for his success: environment of first-class scientists plus 24-hour work and creative approach.
“Without questioning the dogmas of science, we will never have progress,” Tenio Popminchev says. “That is why creativity and even intuition are essential parts. After many years of working with nature you start to feel what it would allow you to do with her help. I would like to make an X-ray laser for medical purposes. This so-called "Swiss Knife" uses mild x-rays, i.e. X-rays that cannot penetrate deep into matter. While the solid X-ray laser I'm dreaming of will penetrate dense objects and make pictures with much higher resolution. In this way, we will diagnose cancer at a much earlier stage and body radiation will be localized only on the affected area, not on the whole organism.”
The way back in the 9th century Bulgarian Tsar Simeon the Great returned from the Magnaura School and created a Golden Age of Bulgarian Literature, nowadays compatriots who have succeeded abroad can help their native country, Tenio Popminchev says and adds:
“I would love to create a scientific center in Bulgaria. I plan to do so with the help of European funding and some professors from Sofia University. And if I had the support of the government and other academic communities in the country, I would love to create this center and I hope that other Bulgarians around the world would do things like that.”
And while waiting for the Bulgarian state to give him a helping hand, Professor Tenio Popminchev continues his work in the University of San Diego, California, the Technical University of Vienna and the University of Colorado Boulder.