Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Elena Shevchenko, 32

Assembling nanocrystals to create made-to-order materials

Argonne National Laboratory

Elena Shevchenko is a master at making nanoparticles and assembling them into precise structures with useful properties. Materials made from the nanocrystals created with her methods could lead to ultra-efficient solar cells, tiny but powerful magnets, super-dense hard disks, and faster computers.

Trained as a chemist in Belarus, the University of Hamburg in Germany, and Columbia University in New York, Shevchenko has found better ways to make nanoparticles out of metallic compounds; she's produced lead telluride, cadmium selenide, and cobalt-platinum particles, among others. She has also developed a technique for assembling these nanoparticles into "superlattices," orderly crystal structures. Paul ­Alivisatos, a nanotech pioneer and interim director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, calls Shevchenko "the best grower of nanocrystals in the world today."

Mixing and matching these nanoscale building blocks offers endless possibilities for engineering structures with desired optical, electrical, and magnetic properties. A nanoparticle array of lead telluride and silver telluride, for example, is 100 times as conductive as arrays made of either particle alone. So far, Shevchenko has created dozens of new materials. --Prachi Patel

Creating order: Top left: a crystal made from cobalt-platinum nanoparticles. Clockwise from top right: "superlattices" combining nanoparticles of lead selenide and gold, cadmium selenide and gold, and lead selenide and palladium.
Courtesy of Elena Shevchenko

2009 TR35 Winners

Andrea Armani

Sensitive optical sensors detect single molecules

James Carey (video)

Using “black silicon” to build inexpensive, super-sensitive light detectors

Adam Dunkels

Minimal wireless-networking protocols allow almost any device to communicate over the Internet

Kevin Fu (video)

Defeating would-be hackers of radio frequency chips in objects from credit cards to pacemakers  

Andrew Houck

Preserving information for practical quantum computing

Shahram Izadi (video)

An intuitive 3-D interface helps people manage layers of data

Ali Javey

“Painting” nanowires into electronic circuits

Anat Levin

New cameras and algorithms capture the potential of digital images

Pranav Mistry (video)

A simple, wearable device enhances the real world with digital information

Aydogan Ozcan

Inexpensive chips and sophisticated software could make microscope lenses obsolete

Vera Sazonova

World’s smallest resonator could lead to tiny mechanical devices

Elena Shevchenko

Assembling nanocrystals to create made-to-order materials

Dawn Song

Defeating malware through automated software analysis

Andrea Thomaz (video)

Robots that learn new skills the way people do

Adrien Treuille (video)

Complex physics simulations that can run on everyday PCs


More Innovators Under 35: