Mostafa El-Sayed was born in the year 1933 at Zifta, Egypt. He graduated with bachelor of science degree from Ein Shams University, Cairo, and completed PhD. in chemistry at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida in1958. He held Research Associate positions at Harvard, Yale and the California Institute of Technology. He was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at Los Angeles, where he worked till 1994. At present he is the Julius Brown Chair and Regents Professor and Director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Mostafa El-Sayed have contributed to many areas of physical and materials chemistry research, including the development of new techniques such as magnetophoto selection, picosecond Raman spectroscopy and phosphorescence microwave double resonance spectroscopy. Using spectroscopic techniques, they have been able to answer fundamental questions regarding ultrafast dynamical processes involving molecules, solids and photobiological systems. His work earned him a 2007 US. National Medal of Science award in Chemistry for his seminal and creative contributions to our understanding of the electronic and optical properties of nano-materials and to their applications in nano-catalysis and nano-medicine. His work has opened a brand new method to understand nanoparticles which can be used in nano-technology.
Dr. Mostafa El-Sayedâ€™s group were the first to synthesize metallic nanoparticles of different shape. It would be quite profitable if one can determine the type of reactions each shape would catalyze. Selectivity in catalysis saves a great deal of energy and money in reducing the need for exhaustive and expensive separation costs. Different nanocrystal shapes have different facets and so it can be used for different catalytic functions. The El-Sayedâ€™s group is also studying different techniques to stabilize the nanocrystal shapes, which can be used for a particular catalytic effect.
Mostafa El-Sayed is an internationally renowned nanoscience researcher whose work in the synthesis and study of the properties of nanomaterials of different shape may have applications in the treatment of cancer. He has a spectroscopy rule named after him, the El-Sayed rule. He has over 300 publications in the areas of spectroscopy and molecular dynamics. He uses short pulsed lasers to understand relaxation, transport and conversion of energy in molecules, in solids and in photosynthetic systems. He supervised the research of 50 PhD. students, 30 postdoctoral fellows and 15 visiting professors. Among his other many honors are the 2009 Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Science.