Mokhotjwa Dhlamini

Mokhotjwa Dhlamini does very illuminating work — literally. His research in nanoscience — working on nanophosphors (luminescent materials that emit light under some type of external stimulation) — could bring much-needed answers to cancer treatment and solar energy synthesisation. At present it is difficult to single out cancerous cells because the material used to identify them needs high energy to illuminate them, which also excites the body’s cells, making it hard for scientists to label the bad cells. With the new technology low energy can be used to excite material (which has longer wavelengths) and the cells do not react, making this labelling process more focused. The technology can also improve the efficiency of solar cells, which could result in the production of less expensive solar panels. Dhlamini is not keeping this work in the dark. His research has been published in internationally accredited journals, a book chapter and a book in 2010. — Joonji Mdyogolo