THE NEW YORK TIMES |
Dr. Dresselhaus used resonant magnetic fields and lasers to map out the electronic energy structure of carbon. She investigated the traits that emerge when carbon is interwoven with other materials: Stitch in some alkali metals, for example, and carbon can become a superconductor, in which an electric current meets virtually no resistance.
Dr. Dresselhaus was a pioneer in research on fullerenes, also called buckyballs: soccer-ball-shaped cages of carbon atoms that can be used as drug delivery devices, lubricants, filters and catalysts.
She conceived the idea of rolling a single-layer sheet of carbon atoms into a hollow tube, a notion eventually realized as the nanotube — a versatile structure with the strength of steel but just one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair.
She worked on carbon ribbons, semiconductors, nonplanar monolayers of molybdenum sulfide, and the scattering and vibrational effects of tiny particles introduced into ultrathin wires.