October 09, 2023

A Quantum Leap


A Quantum Leap
Samples of coal-derived graphene quantum dots that glow when exposed to light. Wikimedia Commons, U.S. Department of Energy.

The laureates of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry were revealed in Stockholm on October 4. The list includes American scientists Moungi Bawendi and Louis Brus, as well as Alexey Ekimov, who is Russian-American.

They received the award for their groundbreaking work in developing a technique for producing quantum dots.

Quantum dots are minuscule nanoparticles with quantum phenomena behavior. Their most renowned application is in the field of electronics, where quantum dots can substitute for the conventional light-up material (phosphor) used in electronic displays.

Swedish media outlets broke the news on the morning of October 4 that the Royal Academy of Sciences had inadvertently leaked the names of potential Nobel laureates in chemistry via email several hours ahead of the official announcement. The list in question featured the names of Bawendi, Brus, and Ekimov.  However, the Royal Academy of Sciences swiftly clarified that the final decision regarding the award recipients had not been concluded, emphasizing the need to await the forthcoming official announcement.

The previous Russian Nobel laureate was Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov, who was awarded the Peace Prize in 2021. In the scientific disciplines, Russia celebrated a Nobel Prize win in 2010 when Konstantin Novoselov, in collaboration with Andre Geim, secured the Nobel in physics for their research on graphene.

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