Chemistry journal co-editor wins national energy award for quantum dots work

February 09, 2007

A. Paul Alivisatos, co-editor of the American Chemical Society peer-reviewed journal Nano Letters, is among eight scientists named by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman this week as winners of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for contributions in support of the Department of Energy.

Alivisatos shared the award in the materials research category with Moungi Bawendi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) "for chemical synthesis and characterization of functional semiconducting nanocrystals, also known as quantum dots."

Nano Letters is the highest ranked journal in its specialty with regard to ratio of citations compared to articles published.

The Lawrence Award honors scientists and engineers at mid-career for "exceptional contributions in research and development that support the Department of Energy (DOE) and its mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States." The award, given in seven categories, consists of a gold medal, a citation and an honorarium of $50,000, which Alivisatos and Bawendi will share.

"These brilliant scientists and their varied and important research inspire us," Bodman said, in a news release announcing the awards Feb. 7. "Their work reminds us of the importance of continued investment in science and the need for increased emphasis on basic research and math and science education programs."

Alivisatos, also a professor of materials science in UC Berkeley's College of Engineering and the Larry and Diane Bock Professor of Nanotechnology, is a nanomaterials chemist who pioneered the creation of nanometer-size crystals that exhibit unique properties not seen in larger crystals. Nanocrystals, sometimes called quantum dots, are now being used as tracers because, depending on size, they emit light of different colors.

Alivisatos has extended these crystals into rods and other shapes which, in aggregate, have become the basis for a novel type of solar cell that is flexible and inexpensive. He also has helped launch several successful nanotech startup companies and mentored a growing body of highly successful young scientists in the nanotechnology field.
The Lawrence Award was established in 1959 to honor the memory of the late Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist and Nobel Laureate who invented the cyclotron, or particle accelerator, and after whom two major DOE laboratories at UC Berkeley and in Livermore, Calif., are named.

The other winners are Malcolm J. Andrews, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M., for the national security category; My Hang V. Huynh, Los Alamos National Laboratory, for the chemistry category; Marc Kamionkowski, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., for the physics category; John Zachara, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash., for the environmental science and technology category; Steven Zinkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the nuclear technology category; and Arup K. Chakraborty, MIT, for the life sciences category.

The American Chemical Society -- the world's largest scientific society -- is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

American Chemical Society

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