The Nobel Prize for chemistry has been awarded to three scientists for their work in developing what are called quantum dots.
People may have come across these tiny crystals in their QLED TV sets where the nanoparticles create colour.
They are also used in medical imaging to guide surgeons, in better targeting of cancer drugs, and in solar panels.
Winners Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov will share the 11m Swedish krona (£824,000) prize.
Their names were released accidentally in a press release from Sweden’s Royal Academy of Sciences, hours before the official announcement on Wednesday morning.http://www.ln247.news
The Academy said it was trying to understand why the names were released early. “This is of course very unfortunate. We deeply regret what happened,” the secretary-general of the academy said.
He insisted that the final decision on the winners was not made until the Academy met just before the official announcement.
“It’s quite an honour,” prize-winner Moungi G. Bawendi, 62, told the Academy in a phone call minutes after the names were announced.
He said he was “very surprised, sleepy, shocked and very honoured”, adding that he had not heard the news before the Academy rang him.
Quantum dots are extremely tiny – just a few millionths of a millimetre across. They are an artificially-created collection of semiconducting nanoparticles that glow blue, red or green when exposed to light.
Their careful size decides the shade of light they emanate when given energy. The littlest quantum dabs radiate higher energy waves and produce blue light, and greatest spots discharge lower energy waves making red light, with the moderate sizes making the in the middle between.
The three researchers are US-based. Russian physicist Alexei I. Ekimov, 78, is credited with first finding quantum dabs during the 1980s, and US scientist Louis E. Brus, 80, then understood the precious stones could be created drifting in liquid.
Paris-conceived Moungi G. Bawendi created a strategy for making specially crafted quantum dabs, opening up additional business and logical purposes.