Rice University Nanophotonics Expert to Receive Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the NANOSMAT Conference

Rice University nanophotonics expert Stephan Link has been chosen to receive the inaugural Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the NANOSMAT Conference, one of Europe’s premier annual meetings devoted to nanoscience, nanoengineering and nanotechnology.

Stephan Link

Link, associate professor of chemistry and of electrical and computer engineering, will receive the award Sept. 8 at the ninth annual NANOSMAT Conference in Dublin. The award, which will be given annually, recognizes a young international scientist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievements and innovation in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Link specializes in nanophotonics, a rapidly growing field dedicated to exploring the physical and electromagnetic properties of “plasmonic nanoparticles,” tiny bits of metal that interact strongly with light.

Link’s laboratory utilizes single-molecule and single-particle spectroscopy techniques to help decipher the physical rules that explain how plasmonic nanoparticles interact with one another and with their environment. Ultimately, researchers in Link’s lab hope to use what they learn to create novel nanostructured materials, such as self-assembled chains of nanoparticles that could serve as drug-delivery agents, plasmonic waveguides and antennas and other active light-activated devices. For example, he and colleagues published findings in January aimed at optimizing the extraction of so-called “hot” electrons from gold nanoparticles.

Link’s previous honors include the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s Prize for Young Chemists, the Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, the 3M Nontenured Faculty Award and the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award.

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