Three quantum dot researchers awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov share prize for research that added color to nanotechnology – Chemical & Engineering News

Credit: MIT (Bawendi); Columbia University (Brus); Nexdot (Ekimov)
Moungi Bawendi (left), Louis Brus of Columbia University (center), and Alexei Ekimov (right)

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three researchers “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.” Moungi Bawendi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Louis Brus of Columbia University, and Alexei Ekimov, formerly chief scientist at Nanocrystals Technology, will each receive one-third of the prize money—11 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million).

Quantum dots are semiconductor crystals in the nanometer size range—so small that about 500,000 nm fit across the period at the end of this sentence. Because of the effects of quantum mechanics, these particles exhibit a number of physical properties that uniquely depend on the size of the crystal. For example, how these particles absorb and emit light varies widely between particles that differ just slightly in size. Researchers, including this year’s chemistry laureates, have exploited those size-dependent traits to make quantum dots that glow in every color in the rainbow.

Credit: Milad Abolhasani/NCSU
Scientists who discovered and synthesized quantum dots like those within the solutions in this photo won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.