Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Donald S. Bethune
IBM Almaden Research Center


"For the discovery and development of single-wall carbon nanotubes, which can behave like metals or semiconductors, can conduct electricity better than copper, can transmit heat better than diamond, and rank among the strongest materials known."


Dr. Bethune is a Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center. He received his B.S. in Physics from Stanford University in 1970, and his Ph.D. in Physics from U.C. Berkeley in 1977 for research in nonlinear optics. He joined the IBM Watson Research Center, where he worked on laser spectroscopy, invented the 'Bethune dye cell,' and co-invented a nonlinear optical method for nanosecond recording of broadband infrared spectra. He moved to the IBM San Jose Research Laboratory in 1983, where he has worked on nonlinear optics, gas-surface interactions, and novel carbon materials such as C60, metallofullerenes, and single-wall nanotubes. He and his colleagues recorded the first Raman spectra of C60 and C70, and discovered that transition metals such as cobalt can catalyze the formation of single-wall carbon nanotubes. Recently he joined the quantum information group, and with colleague W.P. Risk, co-invented and built an autocompensating fiberoptic quantum cryptography system. They are currently developing methods for single photon detection, generation, and frequency conversion for use in systems for quantum information storage, transmission, and manipulation.

Dr. Bethune is a member of the APS, the OSA, and the AAAS, and is an inventor on one pending and eight issued patents in the areas of optics, carbon materials and quantum cryptography.

Selection Committee:

Paul S Peercy (Chair), Evelyn L Hu, Arthur Gossard, Tom Russell, Bob Celottau