Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2023 has been awarded to Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexey Ekimov for their work on quantum dots, a fundamental discovery in nanotechnology. Nanoparticles and quantum dots are essential and are used in LED lights and can also be used to guide surgeons while removing cancer tissue. The discovery and synthesis of quantum dots, illuminate computer monitors and television screens and are used by doctors to map tumors.
The Nobel Laureates 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
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Two American scientists and a Russian researcher have been honored with the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking work on quantum dots, a pivotal advancement in the field of nanotechnology. The esteemed prize is evenly distributed among Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus, and Alexey Ekimov, whose discoveries have had a transformative impact on a wide array of industries, spanning from consumer electronics to healthcare.
Moungi Bawendi, an American chemist of French and Tunisian heritage, is affiliated with MIT. Louis Brus is affiliated with Columbia University, while Alexey Ekimov serves as the chief scientist at Nanocrystals Technology, a New York-based company. The official announcement followed an inadvertent leak of the three laureates’ names in an email to a Swedish newspaper earlier on Wednesday morning, marking an unfortunate incident for the academy. Johan Åqvist, the chair of the academy’s Nobel committee for chemistry, initially stated that the winners had not been chosen, but the names were ultimately confirmed during the official announcement.
Upon receiving the news of his award via an overnight phone call, Bawendi expressed feeling “very surprised, shocked, sleepy, and very honored,” noting that he had not been aware of the leak. He humorously added, “I was awakened by the Swedish academy, I was sound asleep.” The academy did not provide any response to inquiries regarding the leak’s occurrence or whether an investigation would be initiated to determine accountability.
What is Quantum Dots?
Quantum dots are man-made nanostructures with diverse properties, determined by their material composition and shape. Their unique electronic characteristics make them suitable for use as active components in single-electron transistors. Quantum dots (QDs) are artificial nanoscale crystals with unique optical and electronic characteristics.
They can transport electrons and emit light of different colors when exposed to UV light. These synthetically created semiconductor nanoparticles have a wide range of potential applications, including use in composites, solar cells, fluorescent biological labeling, displays, lighting, and medical imaging.
The concept of quantum dots, which are essentially nanoparticles of semiconductors, was first proposed in the 1970s and successfully synthesized in the early 1980s. When semiconductor particles are reduced to a small enough size, they demonstrate quantum effects. These effects constrain the energies at which electrons and holes (the absence of electrons) can exist within the particle.
Since energy is correlated with wavelength (or color), this leads to the tunable optical properties of the particle based on its size. By precisely controlling the size of the particle, it can be engineered to emit or absorb specific wavelengths (colors) of light.
Background of Development of Quantum Dots
During the early 1980s, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov, both recipients of this year’s chemistry Nobel Prize, achieved a significant milestone by independently creating quantum dots. These are minuscule nanoparticles whose properties are governed by quantum effects due to their incredibly small size.
In 1993, another chemistry laureate, Moungi Bawendi, brought about a revolutionary advancement in the production techniques for quantum dots. This elevated their quality to an exceptionally high standard, a crucial requirement for their widespread application in modern nanotechnology.
The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognizes the breakthrough in uncovering and advancing quantum dots, which are nanoparticles so minute that their characteristics are defined by their size. These particles possess extraordinary attributes, illuminating screens in televisions and Light Emitting Diode lamps. They also serve as catalysts in chemical reactions and offer surgeons a clear light source for illuminating tumor tissue.
Initially, researchers focused on employing quantum dots to produce colored light. However, they envision a future where these dots play a role in flexible electronics, minuscule sensors, more streamlined solar cells, and potentially encrypted quantum communication.
How did Bawendi’s work make quantum dots practical?
In 1993, Bawendi and his team at MIT devised a technique for manufacturing quantum dots with greater precision and higher quality than previously attainable. They achieved this by swiftly introducing the chemical precursors into an exceptionally heated solvent, prompting instantaneous growth of the nanocrystals.
Subsequently, the researchers promptly halted crystal growth by reducing the solvent’s temperature, resulting in minuscule crystalline “seeds.” Through gradual reheating of the solution, they could carefully control the ongoing growth of the nanocrystals. This method consistently yielded crystals of the desired size and proved adaptable to various systems.
Where are quantum dots being used?
If you’ve ever enjoyed shows on a QLED TV, you’ve witnessed these nanoparticles in action. Beyond television screens, they find applications in biomedical imaging and lighting. Scientists are actively investigating further uses for these particles, such as in quantum computing and communications, flexible electronics, sensors, high-efficiency solar cells, and catalysis for solar fuels.
Nobel Prize 2023 Winner List
The Nobel Prize announcements are a highly anticipated global event, celebrating remarkable accomplishments and contributions across a spectrum of fields, including science, literature, peace, and economics. Below is the list of winners for the Nobel Prize 2023.
|Nobel Prize 2023 Category||Winner of Nobel Prize 2023|
|PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE||Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman|
|PHYSICS||Anne L’Huillier, Pierre Agostini, and Ferenc Krausz|
|CHEMISTRY||Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexey Ekimov|
|LITERATURE||Will be announced on Thursday, 5 October|
|PEACE||Will be announced on Friday, 6 October|
|THE SVERIGES RIKSBANK PRIZE IN ECONOMIC SCIENCES||Will be announced on Monday, 9 October|
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who won the chemistry Nobel Prize 2023?
Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.
2. Who got 2 times Nobel Prize for chemistry?
Frederick Sanger and Barry Sharpless have both been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry twice.
3. Has any Indian won Nobel Prize in Chemistry?
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel Prize in Chemistry won Nobel Prize in Chemistry
4. Who is the youngest Nobel Prize winner in chemistry?
Frédéric Joliot won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for ‘synthesis of new radioactive elements.