O’Donnell Award in Engineering: Delia J. Milliron, Ph.D.

Dec 2017

Delia Milliron

UT Austin Professor Recognized for Advances in Smart Window Technology

Delia J. Milliron, Ph.D. of The University of Texas at Austin is the recipient of the 2018 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).

Dr. Milliron has advanced technology that could revolutionize how windows are used in modern architecture. She has developed a new material that when applied to windows with a thin coating can dynamically control the amount of infrared light (and the heat that comes with it) that passes through. This “smart window” technology allows visual interaction with the outdoors without having too much – or not enough – heat from the sun, which could result in significantly reduced energy consumption.

“Dr. Milliron has a very deep understanding of chemistry and physics,” says Thomas M. Truskett, Ph.D., Department Chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. “She knows how to identify the great problems we face and the societal needs that have to be addressed.”

Dr. Milliron is a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about Dr. Milliron and her discoveries.

“The TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards showcase the best and brightest among Texas researchers,” says TAMEST President Gordon England. “Their work is helping to advance science and open new pathways to discovery. We’re proud to recognize Dr. Delia Milliron for her achievements.”

Interview opportunities with Dr. Milliron are available. Please contact:

Patrick Wiseman
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Research Highlights

Dr. Milliron has developed a new class of plasmonic materials, enabling unprecedented control over infrared light. By adding or removing charge to her doped semiconductor metal oxide nanocrystals, she was able to demonstrate dynamic control over infrared light transmission, leading to a new class of smart windows that control lighting and heating on demand.

Dr. Milliron is a leading researcher in the field of colloidal nanocrystals. She has pioneered the development of doped semiconducting nanocrystals that exhibit plasmonic resonance in the infrared spectral region. Plasmonic nanomaterials interact strongly with light at their resonance wavelengths and classical plasmonic metals, such as gold and silver, have emerging applications ranging from therapeutics to threat detection and diagnostics. Larger scale applications of plasmonic materials, for example in energy technologies, could be enabled by Dr. Milliron’s low cost metal oxide-based plasmonic materials. She has demonstrated that, unlike classical metals, the resonant response of plasmonic semiconducting nanocrystals can be made responsive to the addition or removal of electronic charge. This dynamic behavior opens new possibilities that were not previously achievable, at any materials cost.

The seminal application that Dr. Milliron has advanced is a new type of energy-saving smart window that can control light and heat from the sun entering an indoor space on demand. Plasmonic nanocrystals enable the selective control over infrared light transmission that leads to solar heat gain by applying a variable control voltage, not exceeding 5 volts. As a result, solar heating and lighting can be controlled on demand for the first time. Dr. Milliron’s uncovering of the fundamental materials science of plasmonic metal oxide nanocrystals is setting the stage for further impact of these new materials in molecular sensing and detection, in catalysis, and in solar energy conversion.

2018 TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards Recipients:

  • Medicine: Jordan Scott Orange, M.D., Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
  • Engineering: Delia Milliron, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin
  • Science: Xiaoqin Elaine Li, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

Over $1 million has been awarded to 50 recipients in the categories of medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation since the inception of the O’Donnell awards in 2006. The awards are named in honor of Edith and Peter O’Donnell, who are among Texas’ staunchest advocates for excellence in scientific advancement and STEM education. Read more about the 2018 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recipients.

The recipients will be honored during the O’Donnell Awards dinner and reception on Thursday, January 11, 2018, at the TAMEST 2018 Annual Conference: Aerospace. The conference takes place January 10–12, 2018, at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in League City, Texas, just outside of Houston. Media are encouraged to attend.


TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas) is the state’s premier scientific organization, bringing together Texas’ best and brightest scientists and researchers. TAMEST membership includes all Texas-based members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the state’s Nobel Laureates.


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