Along with American Louis Brus and Russian Alexei Ekimov, Tunisian-American scientist Moungi Bawendi has won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots”, which light up computer and television screens and are used by doctors to map tumours.
Bawendi, 62, is the Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The three scientists were awarded the prize on Wednesday for “the discovery and development of quantum dots, nanoparticles so tiny that their size determines their properties”, according to a press release from the jury.
Bawendi, who studied chemistry at Harvard University in Boston, is the son of mathematician Mohamed Salah Bawendi, one of the first Tunisian professors at the Faculty of Science in Tunis.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Bawendi and his team at MIT in Cambridge have studied semiconductor nanostructures known as ‘quantum dots’ or ‘QDs’, as part of research combining synthetic and biological chemistry.
Quantum dots now light up computer monitors and television screens based on QLED technology. They also shade the light of certain LED lamps, and biochemists and doctors use them to map biological tissues.