Auburn Engineering professor emeritus named senior member of National Academy of Inventors

By Chris Anthony

Published: Jun 27, 2019 4:17:00 PM

Yonhua (Tommy) Tzeng Yonhua (Tommy) Tzeng

The National Academy of Inventors has named Yonhua (Tommy) Tzeng, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, to its inaugural class of senior members.

Tzeng is one of 66 academic inventors elevated to senior member by NAI. Senior members are active faculty, scientists and administrators at NAI member institutions with success in patents, licensing and commercialization, according to NAI.

“The election of the inaugural class of NAI senior members is a significant designation for a group of prolific inventors from NAI member institutions who are collectively a driving force in American innovation,” said Paul R. Sanberg, NAI president. “This is truly an accomplishment worth celebrating.”

Tzeng has been a prolific inventor throughout his career, garnering 16 U.S. patents. His research focuses on lab-grown diamond and carbon nanotechnology with applications in energy storage devices and molecular sensors. Tzeng co-invented a low-series-resistance electrode involving nickel fiber paper coated with carbon nanotubes for rapid charging and discharging of electrical energy storage from batteries and supercapacitors.

Tzeng joined the Auburn University faculty in 1983 and retired in 2007 to accept a position closer to his family in Taiwan. During his tenure at Auburn, he was a researcher in the Alabama Micro/Nano Science and Technology Center, eventually becoming the center’s associate director.

“Tommy spent decades of his life advancing nanotechnology research at Auburn University,” said Mark Nelms, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Being elevated to an NAI senior member is a fitting recognition for his distinguished body of work in this field. We are proud to call him an Auburn engineer.”

Since 2007, Tzeng has been a faculty member and administrator at Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University, serving as Vice President for Research and Development and then as Dean of the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Tzeng is an active member of IEEE, serving as president of the Nanotechnology Council, which is composed of 22 IEEE technical societies with interest and specialties in nanotechnologies.

Media Contact: Chris Anthony,, 334.844.3447

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