BY PATRICK KURP
Naomi Halas has been named a 2013 fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS). She is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, physics and astronomy and founding director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice.
This honor recognizes Halas’ “distinguished research accomplishments” and “outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research worldwide.” The MRS limits Fellow appointments each year to 0.2 percent of its current membership.
A Rice faculty member since 1990, Halas is one of the pioneering researchers in the field of plasmonics. She created the concept of the “tunable plasmon” and invented a family of nanoparticles with resonances spanning the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. She has been pursuing their applications in biomedicine, nanoscale optical devices, chemical sensing and most recently in solar steam generation, a technology founded in her laboratory at Rice with applications in energy and sustainability.
Halas pioneered a photothermal cancer therapy using nanoparticles, and she is co-founder of Nanospectra Biosciences Inc., a Houston-based company that is conducting several clinical trials of the technology. She was the principal investigator of an National Science Foundation-funded integrative graduate education and research training grant in nanophotonics, the first such graduate training program in the U.S. Since 2010, she has served as director of the Rice Quantum Institute.
Halas has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Society for Optical Engineering, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Halas will be honored during the 2013 MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit to be held April 1-5 in San Francisco. The MRS, founded in 1973, has almost 16,000 members in the United States and 80 other countries.