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04 October 2023

Pioneers in quantum dots named 2023 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry

Moungi G. Bawendi and Optica Wood Prize Winners Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov share the prize

Quantum dots are everywhere in optics. The semiconductor crystals are so small they are governed by quantum size effects. The precise engineering of these particles—achieved through breakthroughs in chemistry—enable optics applications in lighting, displays and imaging.

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, congratulates Moungi G. Bawendi (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Louis E. Brus (Columbia University) and Alexei I. Ekimov (Nanocrystals Technology Inc.) who today are awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They share the prize equally “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.” Brus and Ekimov also share the 2006 Optica R.W. Wood Prize for the discovery of quantum dots and for pioneering studies of their optical properties.

“Chemistry and optics meet in the creation and application of quantum dots,” said Michal Lipson, 2023 Optica President and Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. “The contributions of Drs. Bawendi, Brus and Ekimov created a nanotechnology toolkit that allows us to harness quantum effects. Quantum dots now light our world through LEDs and help to illuminate biologic processes with imaging.”

“These laureates envisioned and created the chemistry of materials in an entirely new regime: one where their size, rather than their material composition, dictates entirely new optical emissive properties,” said Naomi Halas, Optica Fellow and Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. “Semiconductor quantum dots have been called ‘nano-beacons’ and serve that purpose in a wide range of applications, ranging from biomarkers to flat-panel displays.”

Moungi G. Bawendi is the Lester Wolfe Professor at MIT, where he leads a research group responsible for developing the most widely-used method of quantum dot synthesis. He received his PhD in 1988 from the University of Chicago, and shortly after, in 1993, he developed the hot-injection synthesis method for creating quantum dots. This strategy provided a new level of control over the size and optical quality of quantum dots, leading to large-scale quantum dot production and application.

Louis E. Brus, Samuel Latham Mitchell Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, showed in 1983 that nanoparticles floating freely in a fluid—now known as colloidal quantum dots—have size-dependent quantum effects. He conducted his Nobel Prize winning work with a team at Bell Labs. He has received numerous awards and prizes for his quantum dot research including the 2006 R.W. Wood Prize, the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics from the American Physical Society, and the Inaugural Kavli Prize in Nanoscience. He is a fellow of APS and the American Academy of arts and Sciences.

Alexei Ekimov is the Chief Scientist at Nanocrystals Technology Inc. He received his PhD 1974 from the Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, Russia. He performed his research leading to the discovery of quantum dots at the Vavilov State Optical Institute, Russia in the early 1980s. Using his knowledge of optical techniques in research of doped-glass, he was able to create size-dependent quantum effects in colored glass. For this work, he has received the 2006 Alexander von Humboldt Award and the 2006 R. W. Wood Prize, together with Brus and Alexander L. Efros.

Select Relevant Papers Available from Optica Publishing Group

The three Nobel Laureates have published papers with Optica Publishing Group. A selection of their papers related to their work recognized by the Nobel Prize is included below.

Quantum Size Effects and the Surface Photochemistry of Small Semiconductor Crystallites

Brus, L. E.

1984, International Conference on Luminescence, Paper# FA2  View: PDF

Spectroscopy and photodynamics of nanometer size lI-VI semiconductor crystallites

Bawendi, Moungi G.

1993, Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, Paper# JTuA5  View: PDF

Absorption and intensity-dependent photoluminescence measurements on CdSe quantum dots: assignment of the first electronic transitions

Ekimov, A. I.; Hache, F.; Schanne-Klein, M. C.; Ricard, D.; Flytzanis, C.; Kudryavtsev, I. A.; Yazeva, T. V.; Rodina, A. V.; Efros, Al. L.

1993, Journal of the Optical Society of America B 10(1) 100-107  View: HTML | PDF

Absorption and intensity-dependent photoluminescence measurements on CdSe quantum dots: assignment of the first electronic transitions: erratum

Ekimov, A. I.; Hache, F.; Schanne-Klein, M. C.; Ricard, D.; Flytzanis, C.; Kudryavtsev, I. A.; Yazeva, T. V.; Rodina, A. V.; Efros, Al. L.

1994, Journal of the Optical Society of America B 11(3) 524-524  View: HTML | PDF

Multispectral imaging via luminescent down-shifting with colloidal quantum dots

Geyer, Scott M; Scherer, Jennifer M.; Jaworski, Frank B.; Bawendi, Moungi G.

2013, Optical Materials Express 3(8) 1167-1175  View: HTML | PDF [Suppl. Mat. (2)]

Brightening and Control of Quenched Quantum Dots with Strong Terahertz Pulses

Gao, Frank Y.; Shi, J.; Zhang, Z.; Utzat, H.; Barotov, U.; Farahvash, A.; Han, J.; Deschamps, J.; Baik, C.-W.; Bulović, V.; Willard, A. P.; Baldini, E.; Gedik, N.; Bawendi, M. G.; Nelson, K. A.

2021, CLEO: Science and Innovations, Paper# SW4F.2  View: PDF


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