Louis E. Brus

Louis E. Brus

Louis Eugene Brus (August 10, 1943 – Cleveland, Ohio) is an American chemist. He is a professor at Columbia University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (photo: Columbia University) and a recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


1965 B.A. Rice University
1969 Ph.D. (chemical physics), Columbia University
1969-1973 Scientific Staff, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
1973-1996 AT&T Bell Laboratories
1996-Present Professor, Columbia University


2001 Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics (the American Physical Society)
2005 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials (American Chemical Society)
2006 R. W. Wood Prize
2008 Kavli Prize
2010 NAS Award in Chemical Sciences
2012 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science (the Franklin Institute)
2013 Welch Award
2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Research Achievements

Discovery of quantum dots (colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals). [2,3]

Brus discovered colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, called quantum dots [1], in the course of studying redox reactions of organic materials on the surface of photoexcited semiconductors at Bell Labs, and noticed that the band gap of cadmium sulfide crystals (semiconductors) in aqueous solution can be expressed as a function of particle size. [2] After discussion with colleague Michael Sturge et al., he reported that the relationship between the band gap and particle size could be explained by a theoretical model of quantum confinement in three-dimensional space.[3]

Development of a practical method for the synthesis of quantum dots. [4]

Based on the above findings, methods for synthesizing smaller CdSe quantum dots (surface modification and isolation and purification methods) were developed.[4]

Comments & Others

In his private life, he is an avid reader of history and biographies. He also gardens and is a father of three children. [5]

Video of him receiving the 2012 Bower Award and Prize: https://www.fi.edu/en/laureates/louis-e-brus

Video of the 2013 Welch Award:



  1. Efros, A. L.; Brus, L. E. ACS Nano, 202115, 6192–6210. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c01399
  2. Rossetti, R.; Nakahara, S.; Brus, L. E. J. Chem. Phys. 1983, 79, 1086-1088. DOI: 10.1063/1.445834
  3. Brus, L. E. J. Chem. Phys. 1984, 80, 4403-4409 DOI: 10.1063/1.447218
  4. Steigerwald, M. L.; Alivisatos, A. P.; Gibson, J. M.; Harris, T. D.; Kortan, R.; Muller, A. J.; Thayer, A. M.; Duncan, T. M.; Douglass, D. C.; Brus, L. E. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1988,110, 3046-3050. DOI: 10.1021/ja00218a008
  5. Davis, T. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 2005, 102, 1277–1279. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0409555102