2003Advanced TechnologyMaterials Science and Engineering
George McClelland Whitesides photo

George McClelland Whitesides

  • U.S.A. / August 3, 1939
  • Chemist
  • Professor, Harvard University

Outstanding Contributions to Nanomaterials Science through the Development of Organic Molecular Self-Assembly Technique

With a broad perspective ranging from pure chemistry to materials engineering, Professor Whitesides has studied key processes by which organic molecules self-assemble on inorganic materials to form ultrathin film structures. Through the systematic investigation of the phenomena that take place on the interface between these materials, he has developed outstanding methods to control and utilize these self-assembly processes. In particular, he has demonstrated through a series of unique experiments that such technology can be used to form nanometer-scale functional materials. These efforts have opened a new domain of research in the field of nanomaterials based on organic molecules and have contributed greatly to the advancement of materials science as a whole.

Profile

Brief Biography

1939
Born in Louisville, Kentucky
1960
A.B., Harvard University
1964
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
1963
Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1969
Associate Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1974
Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1982
Professor, Department of Chemistry, Harvard University
1986
Department Chairman, Harvard University
2003
Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry, Harvard University

Selected Awards and Honors

1975
Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1978
Elected to National Academy of Sciences
1989
Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society
1995
Arthur C. Cope Award, American Chemical Society
1998
United States National Medal of Science
2000
The Von Hippel Award, Materials Research Society
2001
World Technology Award for Materials, World Technology Network
2009
Benjamin Franklin Medal

1988

Monolayer Films Prepared by the Spontaneous Self-Assembly of Symmetrical and Unsymmetrical Dialkyl Sulfides from Solution onto Gold Substrates: Structure, Properties, and Reactivity of Constituent Functional Groups (with Troughton, E. B. and others). Langmuir4: 365-385, 1988.

1991

Molecular Self-Assembly and Nanochemistry: A Chemical Strategy for the Synthesis of Nanostructures (with Mathais, J. P. and Seto, C. T.). Science 254: 1312-1319, 1991.

1993

Features of Gold Having Micrometer to Centimeter Dimensions Can Be Formed through a Combination of Stamping with an Elastomeric Stamp and an Alkanethiol Ink Followed by Chemical Etching (with Kumar, A.). Appl. Phys. Lett. 115: 5877-5878, 1993.

1997

Self-Assembly of Mesoscale Objects into Ordered Two-Dimensional Arrays (with Bowden, N. and others). Science 276: 233-235, 1997.

1998

Soft Lithography (with Xia, Y.). Angew Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 37: 551-575, 1998.

2002

Self-Assembly at All Scales (with Grzybowski, B.). Science 295: 2418-2421, 2002.

2002

Chaotic Mixer for Microchannels (with Stroock, A. D. and others). Science 295: 647-651, 2002.

Citation

Outstanding Contributions to Nanomaterials Science through the Development of Organic Molecular Self-Assembly Technique

With a broad perspective ranging from pure chemistry to materials engineering, Professor Whitesides has studied key processes by which organic molecules self-assemble on inorganic materials to form ultrathin film structures. Through the systematic investigation of the phenomena that take place on the interface between these materials, he has developed outstanding methods to control and utilize these self-assembly processes. In particular, he has demonstrated through a series of unique experiments that such technology can be used to form nanometer-scale functional materials. These efforts have opened a new domain of research in the field of nanomaterials based on organic molecules and have contributed greatly to the advancement of materials science as a whole.

Self-assembly is a process in which the molecules or atoms necessary to form a specific material or device assemble and align themselves naturally to form a desired structure. For example, in biological systems, self-assembly processes play key roles in the construction of proteins and membranes within the cells of living organisms. Scientists are exploring the possible applications of similar phenomena in the field of electronics.

Professor Whitesides paid special attention to the fact that hydrocarbon molecules with sulfur atoms at one end (organic thiolates, or alkanethiolates) easily absorb and align on gold and silver metal substrates, and he developed technologies to take advantage of the self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) formed during this process. Such monolayers, though but 1nm thick, are extremely stable; they can be used, for example, as protective resists on inorganic materials. They can be also employed as a surface layer on which to align and manipulate disparate organic or biological molecules, making them extremely important materials for the field of organic nanotechnology. Professor Whitesides worked not only with thiolate SAMs but also with combinations of a wide variety of substances. Using physicochemical methods, he carried out detailed assessments of molecular and atomic interactions and the self-assembly process in molecular ensembles, clarifying new possibilities for functional materials made of heterogeneous substances, such as organic molecules and metals.

Moreover, Professor Whitesides proposed and demonstrated the effectiveness of a new lithography method called Microcontact Printing (µ-CP), in which SAM patterns are fabricated using a microscopic stamp and transferred onto substrates. The conventional lithography technique, used widely in the production of integrated circuits, requires that a semiconductor surface be coated with a photosensitive organic film. Hence, its application for patterning other organic materials is almost impossible. However, the advent of this new method—known as soft lithography—has made possible the formation of complex microscopic patterns of organic materials. It also allows for the arrangement of proteins and other biological molecules according to specific patterns, making it applicable in the field of biotechnological devices. Expectations are especially high for the growth and broad potential applications of this technology in such areas as sensors, DNA chips, and protein analysis chips, which require the control and patterning of two-dimensional arrangements of biological molecules.

In this way, by focusing on the self-assembly process of organic molecules, Professor Whitesides has developed advanced technologies to employ monolayers for the fabrication of functional materials structures and has greatly increased our knowledge of the synthesis and fabrication of nano-scale materials. In addition, the new perspectives he has forged for the application of this technology represent a significant contribution to the field.

For these reasons, we are pleased to present the 2003 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology to Professor George McClelland Whitesides.

Lecture

Abstract of the Lecture

All in the Family: The Human Side of Guiding Academic Research

Research is an enormously useful and important activity. The objective of research in science and engineering is to understand and manipulate the physical world. When successful, and in the best cases, research provides the solution to problems that benefit individuals and societies. As the problems of society become more difficult to solve, finding their solutions becomes more difficult.

Research is also a human activity. It is carried out by people—people with different backgrounds, skills, and interests. For researchers—people—to do their best work, they must have the best environment: people to work with, resources, achievable objectives.

Research in universities is an important part of the system of research—conducted in universities, companies, and government—that generates understanding and leads to practical solutions to problems. Universities also play a unique role in educating the next generations of researchers. University-based research is largely focused on the science, and pays relatively little explicit attention to the people who produce the science.

Both the research, and the researchers who conduct the research, are important. I suggest three reasons why universities should emphasize more strongly the human dimensions of research. First, this emphasis would directly strengthen research that requires the integrated efforts of groups of researchers from different backgrounds or from different fields. Second, it would improve the environment for all types of research. Finally, it would—over the long term—shift the style of research in universities from the historical model of “one professor, one student, one problem, one thesis” to a broader and more flexible system of “many colleagues.” The latter is the better for addressing complex problems, and may produce more creative researchers.

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Workshop

Workshop

Self-Assembly of Organic Molecules and New Developments in Nanotechnology

date
November 12, 2003
palce
Kyoto international Conference Hall
Coordinators and Moderators
Tomoji Kawai (Member, Kyoto Prize Selection Committee; Professor,The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University) Shunsaku Kimura (Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University)

Program

10:30
Opening
Opening Address Hiroyuki Sakaki
(Chairman, Kyoto Prize Committee; Professor, Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo)
Introduction to the Laureate Shunsaku Kimura
Laureate Lecture George McClelland Whitesides
"Making Small Things"
11:35
Lecture Tomoji Kawai
"Advanced Materials Science and Bottom-Up Nanotechnology"
12:05
Lunch Break
13:15
Lectures Osamu Takai
(Professor, Center for Integrated Research in Science and Engineering, Nagoya University)
"Syntheses and Applications of Self-Assembled Materials"
Lectures Shinji Matsui
(Professor, Laboratory of Advanced Science and Technology for Industry, Himeji Institute of Technology)
"The Development of Nanoimprint Technology"
Lectures Masatsugu Shimomura
(Director, Nanotechnology Research Center; Professor, Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University)
"Novel Nano- and Micro-Fabrication Technology Based on Self-Organization"
Lectures Hirokatsu Miyata
(Manager, Leading-edge Technology Dept. 1, Leading-edge Technology Project, Canon Research Center)
"An Example of the Research on Self-Organization in Canon: Structural Control of Mesostructured Films"
Lectures Kazumi Matsushige
(Director, Kyoto University International Innovation Center)
"Development of Novel Molecular Manipulation and Functional Evaluation Methods and Nanotechnology Innovation in Kyoto"
Intermission
Panel Discussion "Perspectives on Nanotechnology Employing Organic Molecules"
Moderator:
Shunsaku Kimura
Panelists:
George McClelland Whitesides
Tomoji Kawai
Shinji Matsui
Kazumi Matsushige
Hirokatsu Miyata
Masatsugu Shimomura
Osamu Takai
Question and Answer Session
17:30
Closing
PAGETOP