American Institute of Physics
Press Release

AIP Congratulates 2023 Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry

OCT 04, 2023

Illustration by Abigail Malate, AIP

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2023 – The 2023 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus, and Alexei Ekimov “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.”

“The Nobel Committee has once again affirmed we are living in a Quantum Age,” said Michael Moloney, CEO of the American Institute of Physics. “The 2022 and 2023 physics prizes, as well as this year’s chemistry prize, are rooted in the power of quantum mechanics. This chemistry prize acknowledges that electrons’ behavior at the nanoscale has real-world applications. Quantum dots enable us to harness the potential of quantum effects, exemplifying that physics at the smallest scales brings tangible benefits to our daily lives.”

Quantum dots are the common name for semiconductor nanoparticles, tiny objects only a few atoms across whose properties are governed by the principles of quantum mechanics. As early as the 1930s, physicists theorized small nanoparticles could exhibit size-dependent quantum properties. However, it would take half a century before the 2023 Nobel honorees succeeded in fabricating such small nanoparticles.

When excited by ultraviolet light, quantum dots glow brightly in a single color determined by their size. This has led to their adoption in modern QLED displays, lasers, and as fluorescent dyes in biological and medical imaging. Their electronic properties make quantum dots a valuable tool in applications such as quantum computing, solar cells, and optical electronics.

“Between the methods of synthesis and control involved and the considerable effort to understand fundamental properties at the quantum scale, the research behind this prize sits at the fascinating intersection of chemistry and physics,” said Penelope Lewis, Chief Publishing Officer at AIP Publishing. “Thanks to Bawendi, Brus, and Ekimov, quantum dots have sparked scientific curiosity for decades. Their development of this entirely new type of material — with characteristics independent of its molecular properties — has ushered in realms of new understanding and led to innumerable advances in bioengineering, medical imaging and diagnostics, catalysis, displays, and sensors, to name just a few.”

Alexei Ekimov works as a scientist at Nanocrystals Technology Inc. In the early 1980s, he became the first person to synthesize quantum dots. He grew semiconductor microcrystals in a glassy matrix to realize quantum dots and observe their electronic and optical properties.

Louis Brus is the S. L. Mitchell Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. In 1983, he successfully synthesized quantum dots in an aqueous solution and developed a theory to describe their behavior, publishing a series of papers in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

Moungi Bawendi is the Lester Wolfe Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1993, his group developed the rapid injection method for producing quantum dots. This method was essential for creating uniform, consistent nanoparticles for practical applications and is still the most widely used method to manufacture quantum dots.

“The field of quantum mechanics has grown exponentially since its inception. This and recent Nobel prizes provide us the opportunity to celebrate these laureates, their discoveries and highlight a century of progress,” said Moloney. “We’re looking forward to celebrating Quantum’s centennial with the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology in 2025.”

To help journalists and the public understand the context of this work, AIP is compiling a Nobel Prize resources page featuring relevant scientific papers and articles, quotes from experts, photos, multimedia, and other resources.

Dedicated Resources Page
A list of scientific resources and contacts will be filled with relevant information pertaining to the winners and their scientific achievements and available at . The page will be updated as more information, assets, and resources are uncovered concerning the winning science.

Access to Experts for Comment and Interviews
Scientific experts from AIP and AIP Publishing journals are available to comment on the new laureates, their accomplishments, and the importance of the Nobel Prize to the broader world of science. Interviews and quotes can be obtained by contacting .

Multimedia Archives
Digital images from the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives are available for free to anyone who is diving into photos for images of laureates, past and present. The new, searchable platform for photos also houses manuscripts, publications, audiovisual materials, and more from AIP’s Niels Bohr Library & Archives.

Nobel Reporting
Physics Today , an AIP publication, will be adding their reporting expertise. There will be a morning briefing and an afternoon comprehensive report on the physics prize posted on their site and sent to weekly email newsletter subscribers.


About AIP
The mission of AIP (American Institute of Physics ) is to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity. AIP is a federation that advances the success of our 10 Member Societies and an institute that operates as a center of excellence supporting the physical sciences enterprise. In its role as an institute, AIP uses policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences. AIP is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies.

About AIP Publishing
AIP Publishing’s mission is to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity by breaking barriers to open, equitable research communication and empowering researchers to accelerate global progress. AIP Publishing is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and supports the charitable, scientific, and educational purposes of AIP through scholarly publishing activities on its behalf and on behalf of our publishing partners.

For more information:
AIP Media
+1 301-209-3090