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Naomi Halas named director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute

19 January 2015

photo of Naomi Halas

Nanotechnology pioneer and SPIE Fellow Naomi Halas was named Rice University's director of Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology on 15 January.  Halas is also the Director of the Rice Quantum Institute (RQI).

Originally established as the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, the institute was renamed in 2005 to honor Richard Smalley, who received the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of carbon fullerenes, also called "buckyballs." After training at the IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, Halas was recruited to Rice University by Smalley in 1990.

Halas is one of the pioneering researchers in the field of plasmonics and created the concept of the tunable plasmon. She specializes in studying how light interacts with engineered nanoparticles.

As the author of over 250 publications and 23 papers published in the SPIE Digital Library, her research ranges from electromagnetic theory to chemical nanofabrication. Halas is the first person in Rice University's history to be elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for research done at Rice.

As Halas succeeds interim director Dan Mittleman, professor of electrical and computer engineering, she plans to expand the scope of Smalley Institute's efforts to foster pioneering research. The Smalley Institute and RQI both serve the broad community of fundamental and applied physical sciences at Rice University. As director of both institutes, Halas said the institutes have common goals and there are many new opportunities for the two faculties to create coordinated programs. 

Halas a member of the program committee for the Plasmonics in Biology and Medicine conference in February at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco. 

Naomi Halas SPIE profile
Rice University's press release