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April 11, 2008

Berkeley Lab Names Paul Alivisatos as Deputy Director

BERKELEY, CA — Paul Alivisatos, an award-winning chemist and international authority on the fabrication of nanocrystals and their use in solar energy applications, has been named the new Deputy Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). His appointment is effective April 7, 2008. Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory, managed by the University of California (UC), that conducts unclassified scientific research.

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A. Paul Alivisatos
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“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Alivisatos as Deputy Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,” said Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu. “Paul has been a world leader in the synthesis of  artificial nanostructures and quantum dot technology, and one of the principal scientific drivers behind the use of nanoscience technologies to create a new generation of solar photovoltaic cells. At a time when Berkeley Lab is initiating critical new scientific efforts and vital construction projects, Paul’s enormous energy and extraordinary organizational skills will be a great asset.”

Said Alivisatos, “I have spent my whole career as a scientist with this Laboratory and it is a great honor to be named its Deputy Director. This Laboratory has a magnificent history of scientific achievement and I look forward to working closely with Steve Chu to ensure that this great legacy is continued.”

Alivisatos has been serving as Berkeley Lab’s “acting” Deputy Director since December of 2007. He has also been serving as the director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division since 2003, and Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences since 2005. In addition, he holds appointments with UC Berkeley as Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science, and as the Larry and Diane Bock Professor of Nanotechnology. He joined the Berkeley Lab staff in 1988, following a postdoctoral fellowship at AT&T Bell Labs. He earned his B.A. in Chemistry, with honors, from the University of Chicago in 1981, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics, from UC Berkeley in 1986.

Alivisatos is widely recognized for his contributions to the chemical synthesis and characterization of functional semiconducting nanocrystals, also known as quantum dots.  He has demonstrated that advanced properties of solid state electronic materials can be duplicated in colloidal nanocrystals produced by simple and accessible synthetic chemistry approaches. He played an early role in the development of Quantum Dots as biological labels, a technology in widespread use today. Most recently, he has focused on the application of artificial nanostructures to solar energy technologies. Towards this end, he created a new generation of solar cells using colloidal nanocrystal building blocks.

Alivisatos played an important role in fostering the development of the Helios Project, a joint effort between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley to develop methods of converting solar energy into renewable transportation fuel. He has been the champion behind the establishment by DOE of the Helios Solar Energy Research Center.

For his ground-breaking research, Alivisatos has won, among other recognitions, an E.O. Lawrence Award, the highest scientific prize given by DOE, plus the Eni Italgas Prize for Energy and Environment, and the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics Award. He has also helped launch several successful nanotech startup companies, including Quantum Dot Nanosys, Solexant, and has mentored a growing body of highly successful young nanoresearchers. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is the Editor of the American Chemical Society Journal and Nano Letters. 

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