Dr. Alexander Efros Receives R.W. Wood Prize

8/28/2006 - 45-06r
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Dr. Alexander Efros, a senior researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), is one of three recipients of the R.W. Wood Prize from the Optical Society of America "for the discovery of nanocrystal quantum dots and pioneering studies of their electronic and optical properties."

Dr. Efros' research has focused on the theory of optical, transport and magnetic properties of low-dimensional semiconductor structures, including linear and nonlinear optical properties of nanocrystals, nanorods, and nano-wires; optically active Si-based structures; and Auger processes and carrier multiplications in the nanocrystals. Size- and shape-controlled tunability of the electronic, optical, and transport properties of these nanoscale semiconductors, combined with the ability to chemically and physically manipulate these "free-standing" nanostructures with nanometer precision, open exciting new opportunities for the development of novel functional materials with a wide range of applications. Some of these applications are directly relevant to Navy/DoD interests. For example, scientists are developing tunable PbSe nanocrystal based lasers which can work at 1.6 microns, the wavelength that propagates through the atmosphere without absorption or scattering and that is ocularly safe. Another application involves the successful labeling of biological molecules by nanocrystals. These experiments illustrate the possibility of creating nanoscale semiconductor-based ultra sensitive and highly efficient detectors.

Dr. Efros is also working on the theory of optical and electric field manipulation of electron spin and electron spin coherence time for spintronics and quantum information processing. This research area could lead to a new approach for information encryption and secure quantum communications, as well as to the creation of a quantum computer in the long term.

Dr. Efros received his Master of Science degree in physical engineering in 1973 and his Ph.D. in physics in 1978, both from the Technical University in Leningrad, USSR. From 1981 to 1990, he worked as a senior researcher at the Ioffe Institute in Leningrad. Then he worked as a senior researcher in the Physics Department of the Technical University of Munich from 1990 to 1992. Dr. Efros was a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1992 to 1993. And in 1993, he came to NRL as a consultant; becoming a senior researcher in NRL's Materials Science and Technology Division in 1999.

Dr. Efros has authored more than 150 articles in refereed journals and holds one patent. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was appointed to the advisory board of The City College of New York's DoD Center for Nanoscale Phonic Emitters and Sensors in 2005. Dr. Efros received a 2005 NRL Review award for best feature article. He received Alan Berman publication awards in 1998, 2001, and 2005. He received the 2003 NRL Patent Award. Dr. Efros is a member of the Materials Research Society, American Physical Society, and American Chemical Society.

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