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Richard Schaller Wins the Postdoctoral Distinguished Performance Award

Richard (Rich) Schaller has won the 2006 Postdoctoral Distinguished Performance Award for work related to semiconductor nanocrystals. Rich joined the Softmatter Nanotechnology and Advanced Spectroscopy team of the Chemistry Division at Los Alamos in 2002 after completing his graduate studies at UC Berkeley. He came to LANL first as a postdoctoral associate and was soon promoted to the status of Director’s Funded Postdoctoral Fellow. Rich made a fantastic start at LANL. In less than a year, he not only assembled a complex amplified femtosecond laser system but also produced several important pieces of work, including the first demonstration of light amplification in the infra-red using PbSe nanocrystals. This work was featured in Chemistry & Engineering News  as one of the 10 most important discoveries in Nanoscience in 2003 and was highlighted in numerous press releases. Based on his exceptional performance during the first year at LANL, Rich was promoted to a Reines Fellow.

Another important recent piece of work, which Rich directly contributed to, was the discovery of ultrahigh efficiency carrier multiplication. This work demonstrated for the first time that a semiconductor nanocrystal could respond to a single photon by producing not just one but multiple excitons with a hundred percent efficiency. In addition to its fundamental importance, this discovery offers tremendous technological potential in areas ranging from photovoltaics and photocatalysis to low-threshold lasing and quantum computation. Most recently Rich’s effort in this field helped to establish the generality of carrier multiplication to nanocrystalline materials and to identify the mechanism for this phenomenon.

Victor Klimov, Rich’s research adviser and Team Leader in C-PCS, says, “I am very happy for Rich. He is a very talented experimentalist and a tireless worker. He is curious and observant and knows well that small details can lead to big discoveries. I am very glad that all his hard work paid off. First, the prize recognizing the best postdoctoral publication in experimental sciences and now this prestigious award. It is a very well deserved recognition. I feel proud that Los Alamos can produce such an accomplished researcher as Rich. I wish him new discoveries and continued success in his research career.” 

More information on Rich’s work is available at http://quantumdot.lanl.gov/

Contact: Victor Klimov

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