Halas wins American Physical Society’s Lilienfeld Prize

David Ruth

Jade Boyd

Halas wins American Physical Society’s Lilienfeld Prize

Rice University nanoscientist honored for pioneering research in plasmonics

HOUSTON — (Oct. 23, 2017) — The American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Rice University nanoscientist Naomi Halas the prestigious 2018 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize.

The prize, which includes a $10,000 award, is given annually to recognize an outstanding contribution to physics. Halas is being honored for her “pioneering research at the intersection of optics and nanoscience, and groundbreaking applications of those findings in the field of plasmonics, and for her exceptional impact communicating the excitement of scientific discoveries and their vital role in improving people’s lives.”

Naomi Halas

Naomi Halas

Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of chemistry, bioengineering, physics and astronomy, and materials science and nanoengineering. She also is director of Rice’s Smalley-Curl Institute. She will receive the Lilienfeld Prize at the APS annual meeting in Los Angeles in March.

A pioneer in the study of light-activated nanoparticles and their possible uses, Halas is the first person in the university’s history to be elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for research done at Rice. Her discoveries have wide-ranging applications in areas as diverse as cancer treatment, solar steam generation with applications in off-grid water treatment, optoelectronics, photocatalysis and chemical sensing.

She has authored more than 300 refereed publications, and her work has been cited more than 45,000 times. She also is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society, the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Society for Optical Engineering and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


A high-resolution IMAGE is available for download at:

CAPTION: Naomi Halas (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

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About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.