A Brazilian physicist's discovery that for the first time allows researchers to identify single, nano-scale structures called "nanotubes" has been recognized with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in physics. Created in 1982 by the ICTP Scientific Council, the ICTP Prize is given on an annual basis to acknowledge outstanding contributions made by young scientists from developing countries in the fields of physics and mathematics.
Ado Jorio, an associate physics professor from the Federal University of Minas Gerias, Brazil, will receive the award later this year at the ICTP headquarters in Trieste, Italy. Jorio's experimental work focused on clarifying the electronic and vibrational properties of single carbon nanotubes, which are cylinders made of atomic particles and have extraordinary mechanical and electrical properties. Nanotubes are key ingredients in manufacturing electronic devices and lightweight materials, as their strength and flexibility allows them to act as efficient thermal conductors.
Ado Jorio's research revolutionizes the study of carbon nanotubes' electronic properties at the single nanotube level. Previously, these cylinders had been studied as a whole. Single nanotubes could not be differentiated. Jorio compared this discovery to the realization that matter is made of a mass of atoms and "then a study comes and shows that there are many different types of atoms and they all have very different properties!." The prize was an important validation of Jorio's work.
"Winning this prize felt like fresh wind in my face and I want to thank all the people involved in the more than 150 scientific publications we wrote after the discovery," Jorio added.
At the ICTP, Erio Tosatti, professor at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) and member of United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS), applauded Jorio's discovery.
"First class experimental work is breaking new ground in the south of the world and Jorio appears to be a remarkable researcher and a role model for many on his continent and elsewhere," Professor Tosatti said.
Sponsored by a tripartite agreement between Italy, UNESCO and the IAEA, the ICTP has for more than 45 years been the driving force behind efforts to promote scientific expertise in the fields of physics and mathematics around the world. The ICTP was founded in 1964 by Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam, whose vision and lifetime work were dedicated to enhancing scientific capabilities in the developing world. The ICTP has been attracting visiting scientists mainly from developing and transitional countries, providing training and research facilities as well as encouraging scientific exchange.
Since 1964, more than 100 000 visitors from 170 countries have come to ICTP to discuss the latest findings in their scientific fields and to participate in the various programs offered.