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Mildred S. Dresselhaus – MIT

Mildred Dresselhaus is a pioneer in her field.  As one of the few prominent female researchers in nanotechnology, she has a long distinguished career in engineering and materials.  She currently holds one of the dozen Institute Professorships at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is also a professor of the Physics and Electrical Engineering Department.

Her research group's forte is in the field of carbon nanotubes, bismuth nanowires, and low dimensional thermoelectricity.

We've previously talked about the great properties of carbon nanotubes.  Those were almost entirely theoretical values.  A large body of work is still ongoing in an effort to properly characterize the electronic characteristics of carbon nanotubes.  One crucial method is known as Raman Spectroscopy, and this is used extensively by Dresselhaus' group.

Another project of her research group involves the fabrication of metal nanowires composed of pure bismuth.  They use an anodic template method where the wires grow in pores with diameters as small as 7nm across.  The group has successfully monitored the wire's transition from a semi-metal to a semiconductor as the diameter decreases toward 7nm. 

Most of her group's studies have some relation to thermoelectric properties of nanostructures.  With most researchers studying semiconductor nanoelectronics, Dresselhaus' group has their own niche in the field of nanotechnology.  Their work is not as glamorous or as published as nanoelectronics articles, but their work is critical to our understanding of the physical and thermal properties of materials at the nanoscale.