Nanophotonics Researchers Honored with 2014 Frank Isakson Prize

The American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Rice University researchers Naomi Halas and Peter Nordlander the 2014 Frank Isakson Prize for Optical Effects in Solids in recognition of their groundbreaking research in nanophotonics.

Naomi Halas & Peter Nordlander

Halas and Nordlander, whose research collaborations span more than 20 years, have addressed a broad spectrum of topics ranging from electromagnetic theory to chemical nanofabrication. Most of their work focuses on the interaction of light with engineered nanoparticles, and their research has resulted in new cancer-treatment technologies that are in clinical trials as well as an off-grid, solar-powered sterilization system that could aid more than 2.5 billion people who lack adequate sanitation.

Halas and Nordlander share the 2014 Isakson Prize with Columbia University photonics researcher Tony Heinz. In announcing the prize, APS cited Halas’, Nordlander’s and Heinz’s “seminal contributions to our understanding of the photophysics of low dimensional material systems, revealing the rich optical properties of plasmons, excitons and electrons in confined geometries.”

Halas, who was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Science in April, is one of the world’s most-cited experts in nanophotonics and plasmonics. She is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, physics and astronomy at Rice. She also is founding director of Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics and director of the Rice Quantum Institute.

Nordlander, professor of physics and astronomy and of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, is one of the world’s leading theoretical experts in nanoparticle plasmonics. His recent contributions include the development of the plasmon hybridization method, the theory for plasmonic Fano resonances and advances in the field of quantum plasmonics. He is a past director of the Rice Quantum Institute and fellow of APS, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Society for Optics and Photonics and the Optical Society of America.

The Isakson Prize was established in 1979 to recognize and encourage outstanding contributions to the field of optical effects in solids. It includes a $5,000 prize and an award certificate and will be presented next March at the APS’ national meeting in Denver.

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