In the article Dohnalová describes research on silicon quantum dots – small nanocrystals in which quantum mechanical characteristics play a clear role. By adding a thin carbon layer to the quantum dots, Dohnalová and her colleagues managed to change the electronic structure of the dots so that they transmitted light far more efficiently.
The efficient silicon quantum dots form a suitable material for LEDs, displays and flexible solar cells. In solar cells they could replace other toxic materials such as cadmium-selenium. As the silicon quantum dots are biodegradable they are also suitable for medical applications such as bio-imaging.
The FOm/f advisory committee noted that in a relatively short time Dohnalová has made an important contribution to this breakthrough in the area of photonics. Dohnalová carried out this research within the Joint Solar Programme, one of the Industrial Partnership Programmes of FOM.
Katerina Dohnalová gained a double doctorate in 2007: a PhD from the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg (France) and a PhD from the Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic). She then worked as a postdoc at the Czech Academy of Sciences. From 2009 to 2013 she worked as a postdoc in the group of professor Tom Gregorkiewicz at the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, University of Amsterdam. She currently holds the appointment of assistant professor in this research group after receiving a MacGillavry fellowship.
The biannual Minerva Prize for the best physics publication from a female scientist is part of the FOm/f Programme. The aim of the prize is to draw attention to excellent female physicists and to boost the career of the prize winner. The prize is awarded to a Dutch female researcher or to a foreign female researcher who has done research in the Netherlands for her publication. A sum of 5000 euros is awarded with the Minerva Prize and the winner is free to use this as she pleases.
Dohnalová will receive her prize on the evening of 21 January 2014 during the Physics@FOM 2014 Congress. On Wednesday 22 January Katerina Dohnalová will give a presentation about the research she described in the prize-winning article.
For further information about the research please contact: Dr. Katerina Dohnalová, +31 (0)20 525 57 93.
For further information about the Minerva Prize and the FOm/f Programme please contact: Dr. Paula van Tijn, +31 (0)30 600 12 17.
Dohnalová, K., Poddubny, A.N., Prokofiev, A.A., De Boer, W., Umesh, C.P., Paulusse, J.M.J., Zuilhof, H. & Gregorkiewicz, T., Surface brightens up Si quantum dots: direct bandgap-like size-tunable emission, Light: Science & Applications (2013) 2, e47; doi:10.1038/lsa.2013.3.