Benjamin Boussert Lecture 

 On Friday, September 23rd, the Department of Chemistry hosted the 2016 Benjamin Pierre Boussert Lecture. The lecture was delivered by Professor Delia Milliron of the University of Texas at Austin. Delia and Benjamin were graduate students together in the Alivisatos Laboratory at UC Berkeley. The lecture was followed by a reception an unveiling of a new gift to Chemistry from the Boussert Family, a stained glass window by renowned local artist Mary Ann Caffery. The work, named “Benjamin’s World” is located in the Benjamin P. Boussert Conference Room on the first level of the Chemistry & Materials Building.


Stained glass window in the Benjamin P. Boussert Conference Room, LSU Chemistry & Materials Building
Left to right: Anne Boussert, Christian Boussert, Robin McCarley, Gayle Smitherman , Delia Milliron and Mary Ann Caffery

Photo Credit given to Vickie Tate Thornton  


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Degenerately doped metal oxide semiconductors, like ITO, exhibit plasmonic resonance at near and mid-infrared wavelengths tunable by varying their composition. Nanocrystals of many such materials have now been synthesized and applications are emerging that leverage the responsiveness of their localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) to electronic charging and discharging. In this talk, I’ll focus on how we are applying this concept to develop electrochromic glass that can dynamically control heat loads and daylighting in buildings. We demonstrated that dual-band electrochromism (voltage control over near infrared and visible light transmittance independently) is achievable by embedding plasmonic ITO nanocrystals in a redox-active niobium oxide glass matrix. To develop a practical technology on the basis of this concept, the component materials and their mesoscale architecture can both be optimized so that we now can modulate a large fraction of incident solar radiation on demand. To enable low-cost manufacturing, we’ve also developed low-temperature processing strategies and have now fabricated complete dynamic glass prototypes. The materials innovations needed to enable this progress will be emphasized.


Benjamin Boussert: Benjamin Boussert was an LSU University Medalist who graduated with degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in 1999. While at LSU, Benjamin conducted four years of research under the tutelage of Dr Robin McCarley. Benjamin’s interests in nanoscience and sensing technologies led him to the University of California at Berkeley where he worked toward a PhD in Physical Chemistry with Dr Paul Alivisatos. Months before he was to defend his dissertation, Benjamin and two friends and colleagues, Jason Choy and Giulia Adesso, were tragically killed in a fiery automobile accident.

Family, friends and colleagues have established a scholarship to honor Benjamin’s memory and legacy at LSU. His parents, Anne and Christian, and his brother and sister-in-law, Joel and Kelly, have also created a substantial endowment at LSU to support the Dr Benjamin Boussert Lecture Series for Chemistry. LSU is forever grateful for the positive impact Benjamin has had on the lives of others and for his family’s support of these memorials.


Delia Milliron: Delia J. Milliron is an Associate Professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and a Fellow of the Henry Beckman Professorship. She also serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Nano Letters. Dr. Milliron received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. From 2004 to 2008 she worked for IBM’s research division, initially as a postdoctoral researcher and subsequently as a member of the research staff. In 2008, she joined the research staff at the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she served as the Director of the Inorganic Nanostructures Facility and later as the Deputy Director. Dr. Milliron’s awards include a Sloan Research Fellowship, a DOE Early Career award and a Resonate Award from Caltech’s Resnick Institute.