Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Rice's Naomi Halas elected to National Academy of Engineering: Rice's pioneering nanophotonics researcher elected to second national academy

Naomi Halas
CREDIT: Rice University
Naomi Halas

CREDIT: Rice University

Abstract:
Rice University Professor Naomi Halas today joined the elite rank of scientists who have been elected to both the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Halas is one of 67 new NAE members announced today and was elected to the NAS in 2013.

Rice's Naomi Halas elected to National Academy of Engineering: Rice's pioneering nanophotonics researcher elected to second national academy

Houston, TX | Posted on February 6th, 2014

Less than 5 percent of NAS and NAE members have dual membership, and Halas is one of 12 women ever chosen for the dual honor. Election to these academies is one of the highest honors that can be conferred upon a U.S. scientist or engineer.

Halas is Rice's Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, and physics and astronomy. She also is the founding director of Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics and director of the Rice Quantum Institute. She is the first person in the university's history to be elected to both the NAS and NAE for research done at Rice.

The national academies -- private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter -- date to the formation of the NAS in 1863. Today, the academies include the NAS, NAE, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

"Election to a national academy is an honor bestowed by one's peers in the academy, and the fact that Naomi has earned the rare distinction of being elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science is a testament to her sustained, long-standing and fundamental contributions to cross-disciplinary science," said Ned Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Rice's George R. Brown School of Engineering and professor in materials science and nanoengineering and in chemical and biomolecular engineering. "Rice is doubly honored because the contributions were all made right here over the course of her remarkable Rice career."

Halas' research crosses boundaries of applied physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, medicine and optics. She joined Rice in the first wave of researchers recruited by the late Richard Smalley to explore the frontiers of nanotechnology. Halas, who had trained at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center and at Bell Laboratories, was uniquely positioned for nanoscience because of her training in both chemistry and physics.

Halas said Rice's small size was attractive, largely because of the corresponding culture of interdepartmental collaboration made possible by the campus's various institutes.

"When I interviewed at Rice, they took me to lunch at a meeting of the Rice Quantum Institute," Halas said. "You had all these professors from different disciplines and departments talking about their work, and it really reminded me of the lunch table at Bell Labs, where you had Nobel laureates sitting with postdocs sharing ideas and talking about how to work together.

"Rick Smalley was fond of saying that you could do really great science anywhere, and I had seen the great science that came out of small places like IBM Zurich and at Bryn Mawr, where I got my Ph.D.," Halas said. "I recognized pretty early on that Rice's institutes could bring people together in a special way."

She rapidly rose through Rice's academic ranks, but it was her invention of gold nanoshells in the mid-1990s that first drew international attention. Halas' nanoshells were among the first optically tunable nanoparticles, and the discovery established her as a pioneer in nanophotonics, a then-nascent field dedicated to the exploration of nano-optics.

Nanoshells have a solid nonconducting core, typically made from silica. Encasing this core is a thin shell of conductive metal, often gold or silver. The metal shell interacts with light, but only of a specific wavelength. By varying the thickness of the metal shell, Halas showed she could tune her nanoshells to selectively interact with many different colors of light as well as some wavelengths outside the visible spectrum.

About 15 years ago, Halas and Rice bioengineering researcher Jennifer West hit upon the idea of using nanoshells to treat cancer. The treatment derives from the ability of nanoshells to convert light into heat. By tuning the nanoshells to interact with near-infrared light -- an invisible wavelength that shines through skin and muscle -- Halas and West demonstrated they could use nanoshells to destroy cancer with heat. The method, which avoids the detrimental side effects often associated with chemotherapy, is now in clinical trials.

Halas also has published dozens of papers about the basic science of nanophotonics, often in collaboration with Peter Nordlander, her spouse and longtime research partner at Rice. Nordlander, a theoretical physicist who specializes in nano-optics, first met Halas when the two were working at IBM. In their longstanding collaborative work at Rice, Halas and Nordlander have addressed a broad spectrum of topics ranging from fundamental physics and electromagnetic theory to chemical nanofabrication and light-harvesting applications. In October, they, along with Tony Heinz of Columbia University, were jointly awarded the 2014 Frank Isakson Prize for Optical Effects in Solids in recognition of their groundbreaking research.

In their most recent work, Halas and Nordlander created a revolutionary new technology in 2012 that uses nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The new "solar steam" method is so effective it can even produce steam from ice-cold water. Halas is working to develop the technology for sanitation and water-purification applications in the developing world.

Halas said she finds research just as exciting today as when she began her career.

"There is nothing like it," she said. "I think most people believe that because scientists are objective and methodical that they aren't passionate. That couldn't be further from the truth. What we do is a creative and human endeavor that's every bit as exciting as artistic creation. Science engenders great passion. It's what gets us here early in the morning and keeps us here late at night."

Halas's scientific accomplishments have led to numerous honors, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Halas is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society, the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Society for Optical Engineering and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Halas has a B.A. in chemistry from La Salle College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in physics from Bryn Mawr College.

She joins Rice Bioengineering Professor Antonios Mikos as the only other member of Rice's faculty with dual academy membership. Mikos, who also spent his entire academic career at Rice, was elected to both the NAE and the Institute of Medicine in 2012.

In Rice's 102-year history, only two previous faculty members -- former provosts William Gordon and David Auston -- were dual members of the NAS and NAE. Both Gordon and Auston were elected to the academies for research accomplishments that predated their Rice tenure.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Ruth
713-348-6327


Jade Boyd
713-348-6778

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

For more information about NAE's newly elected members:

Related News Press

News and information

Iranian Researchers Present New Model to Strengthen Superconductivity at Higher Temperatures April 19th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce New Anti-Cancer Drug from Turmeric April 19th, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Academic/Education

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Global 450 consortium announces new general manager of internal operations: TSMC’s Cheng-Chung Chien Receives Unanimous Support, Brings History of Innovation and Efficiency to Global Consortium of Companies Driving Industry Transition to 450mm Wafer Technology March 26th, 2014

NanoTecNexus to Host "Chemistry of Wine" Fundraiser in Support of STEM Education - Collaborations Key to Success - March 20th, 2014

Announcements

Iranian Researchers Present New Model to Strengthen Superconductivity at Higher Temperatures April 19th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce New Anti-Cancer Drug from Turmeric April 19th, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

IDTechEx Printed Electronics Europe 2014 Award Winners April 1st, 2014

Dais Analytic Wins SBIR Grant: Dais Analytic Receives US Army Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Further Its Demonstrated Successes in Cleaning Most Forms of Wastewater March 28th, 2014

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark March 24th, 2014

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Lumerical files a provisional patent that extends the standard eigenmode expansion propagation technique to better address waveguide component design. Lumerical’s EME propagation tool will address a wide set of waveguide applications in silicon photonics and integrated optics April 16th, 2014

Near-field Nanophotonics Workshop in Boston April 14th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE