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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Nobel Prize in Chemistry for quantum dot LED discovery

Scientists Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus, and Alexei Ekimov have been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking work on the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots, according to the Nobel committee. Quantum dots and nanoparticles are crucial components in LED lights and TV screens, and they also have applications in guiding surgeons during cancer tissue removal.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with a prize amount of 11 million Swedish crowns ($997,959), is presented by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Earlier on the same day, the academy accidentally revealed the names of the laureates.

Bawendi, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), conducted postdoctoral research under Brus before joining MIT in 1990. Brus, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, spent a significant portion of his career studying nanocrystals, starting at AT&T Bell Labs in 1972.

Ekimov, who originally worked at the Vavilov State Optical Institute in the Soviet Union, later moved to the United States and became the chief scientist at Nanocrystals Technology Inc. in 1999.

This chemistry Nobel Prize is the third of this year’s awards, following those for medicine and physics announced earlier in the week. Established in the will of Alfred Nobel, the prizes have been awarded since 1901, with some interruptions due to world wars. The economics prize, a later addition, is funded by the Swedish central bank.

While the physics Nobel Prize often garners more attention, the chemistry laureates include notable scientists such as Ernest Rutherford and Marie Curie. Last year’s chemistry award recognized Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and Barry Sharpless for their pioneering work in “click chemistry,” which led to the discovery of reactions allowing molecules to combine and create new compounds.

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