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When Plasmons Interact, Worlds Collide: The Emerging Field of Nanophotonics

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NSF Distinguished Lecture in Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Prof.  NAOMI HALAS  (Rice U.)



Perhaps the most important and potentially far-reaching outcome of the many nanotechnology initiatives worldwide is the birth of the new field of Nanophotonics.  Our growing abilities to generate and manipulate light at nanoscale dimensions based on the properties of metals springs from the confluence of scientific disciplines, from condensed matter physics to electromagnetism, including chemistry and modern materials science. The impact of this emerging field is already evident in applications spanning the spectrum from chemical sensing for homeland defense, solar light harvesting for alternative energy,  new device concepts for state-of-the-art computer chips to new and revolutionary biomedical applications.  In my talk I will discuss how metallic nanostructures, known since antiquity for their remarkably vivid and colorful optical properties, are now being designed and engineered as new nanoscale optical components that successfully serve a role in all these applications.


Naomi Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering at Rice University.  She holds a BA degree from LaSalle College and MA and PhD degrees from Bryn Mawr College.

Professor Halas is interested in the rational design of nanoscale optical devices which exploit the plasmon resonant properties of ultrasmall metal structures to focus and manipulate light.  This work combines electromagnetic theory with nanofabrication tools developed largely from chemistry.  For the past few years her research has focused primarily on Nanoshells, a layered dielectric core/metal shell composite nanoparticle developed in her laboratory at Rice.  The Halas Nanoengineering Group is actively pursuing applications of nanoshells in biomedicine, in applications relating to ultrafast immunoassays, optically triggerable drug delivery, early-stage cancer detection and photothermal cancer therapy.

Professor Halas has been named Fellow of the American Physical Society and has recently received the "Cancer Innovator" Award from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the U. S. Department of Defense.   Her work was resulted in over 100 publications and was recently profiled on NOVA ScienceNow and CNN.

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