Pittcon Program Committee Announces Naomi J. Halas as the 2015 Wallace H. Coulter Lecturer


Pittsburgh, PA – June 27, 2014 – The Pittcon Program Committee is pleased to announce its 2015 Wallace H. Coulter Lecture, “Plasmonics: Shedding Light on Cross-cutting Science and Technologies,” which will be presented by Naomi J. Halas, Stanley C. Moore, Rice University, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The lecture will take place during the Pittcon Opening Session on Sunday, March 8, 2015, Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Halas is a professor at Rice University and the founding director of the Rice Laboratory for Nanophotonics. She is a pioneering researcher in the field of plasmonics, creating the concept of the “tunable plasmon” and inventing a family of nanoparticles with resonances spanning the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. Halas pursues fundamental studies of coupled plasmonic systems, and applications of plasmonics in biomedicine, optoelectronics, chemical sensing, photocatalysis, and solar energy, with ‘solar steam’ technology. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

When asked to summarize her research, Dr. Halas commented, “My research is centered around the creation of new nanoscale objects that perform a function…understanding the physical properties of those objects at a predictive and quantitative level…and incorporating them into unique applications of societal and technological impact.”

Halas’ lecture will focus on the new types of metal-based nanoparticles and nanostructures of various shapes and compositions that have given rise to new strategies to harvest, control, and manipulate light based on these structures and their properties. By assembling metallic nanoparticles into useful building blocks, a striking parallel between the plasmons of these structures and wave functions of simple quantum systems is universally observed.[1] These unique light-controlling properties can be put to use in a multitude of ways: for detecting single molecules and following chemical reactions, for generation of hot electrons for color-specific photodetection [2] and photocatalysis,[3] and most recently, for high-efficiency solar steam generation poised to tackle our planet’s energy and sustainability challenges.[4]

For more information, visit the Wallace Coulter Lecture page.


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Pittcon® is a registered trademark of The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a Pennsylvania non-profit organization. Co-sponsored by the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, Pittcon is the premier annual conference and exposition on laboratory science. Proceeds from Pittcon fund science education and outreach at all levels, kindergarten through adult. Pittcon donates more than a million dollars a year to provide financial and administrative support for various science outreach activities including science equipment grants, research grants, scholarships and internships for students, awards to teachers and professors, and grants to public science centers, libraries and museums. Visit pittcon.org for more information.

[1] E. M. Prodan, C. Radloff, N. J. Halas and P. Nordlander, Science 302, 419-422 (2003).
[2] M. W. Knight, H. Sobhani, P. Nordlander, and N. J. Halas, Science 332, 702-4 (2011).
[3] Shaunak Mukherjee, Florian Libisch, Nicholas Large, Oara Neumann, Lisa V. Brown, Jin Cheng, Britt Lassiter, Emily A. Carter, Peter Nordlander, and Naomi J. Halas, Nano Letters 13, 240-247 (2012).
[4] O. Neumann, A. S. Urban, J. Day, S. Lal, P. Nordlander, and N. J. Halas, ACS Nano 7, 42-49 (2013).