Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Naomi Halas
Rice University


"For creating nanoparticles and complexes with tunable optical resonances resulting from hybridized surface plasmons, and demonstrating applications of these nanomaterials that range from photothermal cancer therapy to hot electron photodetection and modular plasmonic photocatalysis."


Naomi J. Halas is a University Professor and the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. She is also Director of the Smalley-Curl Institute. She received her undergraduate degree from La Salle University in 1980, and her PhD from Bryn Mawr College in 1987. She is best known for showing that the shape of noble metal nanoparticles controls their optical properties. She was the first person to introduce structural control into the synthesis of coinage metal nanoparticles to control their optical resonances, which are due to collective electron oscillations known as plasmons. She pursues fundamental studies of coupled plasmonic systems as well as applications of plasmonics in biomedicine, optoelectronics, chemical sensing, photocatalysis, and solar water treatment. She is the author of more than 350 refereed publications, has more than 25 issued patents, and has presented more than 600 invited talks. She is co-founder of Nanospectra Biosciences, a company offering ultralocalized photothermal therapies for cancer based on her nanoparticles, and co-founder of Syzygy Plasmonics, a company with more than 100 employees currently deploying light-based chemical reactors for Hydrogen production based on photocatalyst particles originally invented in her laboratory. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK).