Topics: Chemistry, Nanomaterials, Nanotechnology, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Prize
Prize announcement. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Wed. 4 Oct 2023. < https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2023/prize-announcement/ >
4 October 2023
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023 to
Moungi G. Bawendi
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA
Louis E. Brus
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Alexei I. Ekimov
Nanocrystals Technology Inc., New York, NY, USA
“for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots”
They planted an important seed for nanotechnology
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023 rewards the discovery and development of quantum dots, nanoparticles so tiny that their size determines their properties. These smallest components of nanotechnology now spread their light from televisions and LED lamps and can also guide surgeons when they remove tumor tissue, among many other things.
Everyone who studies chemistry learns that an element’s properties are governed by how many electrons it has. However, when matter shrinks to nano-dimensions, quantum phenomena arise; these are governed by the size of the matter. The Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2023 have succeeded in producing particles so small that their properties are determined by quantum phenomena. The particles, which are called quantum dots, are now of great importance in nanotechnology.
“Quantum dots have many fascinating and unusual properties. Importantly, they have different colors depending on their size,” says Johan Åqvist, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.
Physicists had long known that, in theory, size-dependent quantum effects could arise in nanoparticles, but at that time, it was almost impossible to sculpt in nanodimensions. Therefore, few people believed that this knowledge would be put to practical use.
However, in the early 1980s, Alexei Ekimov succeeded in creating size-dependent quantum effects in colored glass. The color came from nanoparticles of copper chloride, and Ekimov demonstrated that the particle size affected the color of the glass via quantum effects.
A few years later, Louis Brus was the first scientist in the world to prove size-dependent quantum effects in particles floating freely in a fluid.
In 1993, Moungi Bawendi revolutionized the chemical production of quantum dots, resulting in almost perfect particles. This high quality was necessary for them to be utilized in applications.