Chemistry Nobel Prize goes to a split for “Quantum Dots”
The Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2023 was awarded to Alexey Ekimov, Louis Bruce, and Maungi Bavendi in recognition of their groundbreaking research on quantum dots. These quantum dots are exceptionally small crystals possessing unique characteristics, and they have found applications across a diverse range of industries, including quantum computing and the most advanced LED screen technologies.
In an official statement released by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Wednesday, it was emphasized that quantum dots hold the potential to deliver substantial benefits to both humanity and the scientific community, and our understanding of their potential is just beginning to unfold. Researchers envision that quantum dots will play a pivotal role in the development of flexible electronics, miniature sensors, thin solar cells, and may even facilitate secure quantum communication in the future.
Prior to the official announcement, it came to light that the identities of the Nobel Prize recipients were inadvertently disclosed in an email, which the Swedish press was able to obtain during one of the brief periods when the names of the laureates are made public.
What are “Quantum Dots”?
“Quantum dots are extremely small, barely a few nanometers across, and can only contain a few thousand atoms. A sextillion atoms can fit into a grain of sand, for comparison. The consequences of quantum mechanics are significantly more obvious at the atomic level. Similar to other atoms, when light is shined on a quantum dot, it will absorb it and then radiate it at various frequencies or colors. In particular, the size of the dot affects the hue of the light that is released: the smaller the dot, the bluer the light that is emitted. The size of the dot affects the distance between these levels.
Quantum dots were originally studied by Drs. Ekimov and Bruce (separately) in the early 1980s, effectively demonstrating the existence of these glass and liquid crystals capable of emitting light with a range of colors depending on their size. But they ran across a problem: they couldn’t reliably produce superior quantum dots.
Dr. Bavendi and his team discovered the solution in 1993. They heated the fluid after adding microscopic drops of a semiconductor to it until they were pleased. The small droplets in the fluid quickly started to coalesce, and the semiconductor itself gave them a standardized shape. When heated for a longer time, bigger crystals developed after forming a solution.
Leading researchers Carolyn Bartosz, Morton Meldal, and Barry Sharpless received last year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, often known as “Click Chemistry,” for their groundbreaking work in identifying reactions that enable atoms to “click” together to form new molecules. $1 is equal to 11.0225 Swedish Kronor.
Scientist who won Chemistry Noble Price for “Quantum Dots”
Russian solid-state physicist Alexey Ivanovich Ekimov made the groundbreaking discovery of quantum dots while he was employed at the Vavilov State Optical Institute. He earned his degree from Leningrad State University in 1967 and was honored with the USSR State Prize in 1975 for his pioneering research in semiconductor electron spin orientation. Furthermore, his significant contributions to the study of nanocrystal quantum dots led to him receiving the 2006 R. W. Wood Prize.
In 2023, Ekimov, along with his colleagues Brus and Bawendi, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their collective achievement in discovering and synthesizing quantum dots. Since 1999, he has been residing and conducting his work in a different country.
Louis Bruce, a British wrestler and one of the pioneering Black tram drivers in London, lived from December 17, 1875, to March 31, 1958. He made a significant mark in history by competing in the men’s freestyle heavyweight division at the 1908 Summer Olympics, earning the distinction of being the first Black British Olympian.
Born under the name Louis Bruce McAvoy Mortimore Doney in Morningside, Edinburgh, in 1875, he was born to a widow named Jane Elizabeth Doney, formerly known as Mortimore. His birthplace was Plympton, Devon, and during the 1908 Olympics, he was residing in Hammersmith. Competing in the heavyweight division, he advanced to the Quarterfinals and secured fifth place overall. His status as the inaugural Black Olympian to represent Great Britain was subsequently officially acknowledged.
Moungi Bawendi, the son of Tunisian mathematician Mohammed Salah Baouendi, came into this world in Paris on March 15, 1961. At a young age, his family made the move to West Lafayette, Indiana, after immigrating to the United States. Bawendi grew up to become a highly respected researcher in the field of quantum dots, achieving academic milestones with degrees from both Harvard and the University of Chicago.
Despite some early uncertainty surrounding a leaked announcement, Bawendi pursued his education at MIT, where he excelled and garnered numerous honors. His dedication and groundbreaking work in the synthesis and discovery of quantum dots culminated in the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2023.