Flygare Memorial lecture features pioneering researcher in plasmonics

Professor Prashant Jain, right, presents Rice University professor Naomi Halas, left, with a framed Flygare lecture poster.

The annual Willis H. Flygare Memorial Lecture in Physcial Chemistry featured Naomi Halas, a Rice University professor who is a pioneering researcher in the field of plasmonics.  

Halas delivered the annual Flygare lecture — "Nanomaterials and Light for Sustainability and Societal Impact" — on May 5, 2022, on the UIUC campus. Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and founding director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice University. She is also the Director of the Smalley-Curl Institute.

Halas is known for creating the concept of the “tunable plasmon” and for inventing a family of nanoparticles with resonances spanning the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. Halas pursues fundamental studies of coupled plasmonic systems as well as applications of plasmonics in biomedicine, optoelectronics, chemical sensing, photocatalysis, and most recently in solar energy and sustainability, with ‘solar steam’ technology.

The Willis H. Flygare Memorial fund supports the Flygare Memorial Lectures held each year by the Department of Chemistry in honor of Dr. Willis Flygare

Willis "Bill" Flygare was a professor of Chemistry at Illinois from 1961 until his death in 1981. During that time he directed more than 30 PhD students.  A visionary chemist, he developed a new experimental method involving the molecular Zeeman effect. Utilizing this effect, he measured most of the known molecular quadrupole moments and magnetic susceptibility anisotropies. He developed a highly sensitive microwave spectrometer by combining molecular beams with Fourier transform techniques. 

Dr. Flygare was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Following his death in 1981, a special issue of the Journal of Chemical Physics was published in his memory, with 117 articles written by friends and colleagues.

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