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Tobin Marks Receives Nichols Award

August 11, 2009 | by Megan Fellman
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Tobin J. Marks, Vladimir N. Ipatieff Research Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, has received the 2010 William H. Nichols Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS).

A world leader in the fields of organometallic chemistry, chemical catalysis, materials science, organic electronics, photovoltaics and nanotechnology, Marks is being recognized for his exceptional scientific originality, breadth and insight. The significant impact of his seminal research in organo-f-element catalysis, olefin polymerization, soft-matter opto-electronic materials, oxide films and bioinorganic chemistry specifically is noted.
Marks will receive the medal in March at a special symposium and award banquet in New York. The prestigious annual award, established in 1902 by William H. Nichols to honor a chemical scientist for outstanding original research, was the first award to be authorized by the American Chemical Society.

Marks has developed processes for numerous types of recyclable, environmentally friendly plastics, efficient organic displays and transistor circuitry, and organic solar energy cells. He is a leader in the development and understanding of single-site olefin polymerization catalysis (now a multibillion-dollar industry) as well as in the study of new materials having remarkable electrical, mechanical, interfacial and photonic properties.

Marks designed a co-catalyst that led to what is now a standard process for producing better polyolefins, including polyethylene and polypropylene. These versatile and inexpensive plastics are lighter in weight and more recyclable than previous plastics.

He has developed a prototype of third-generation photovoltaic solar cells, composed of flexible, efficient, low-cost, organic materials, as well as new materials for sensors and light modulators enabling high-speed optical data transmission and processing. His other achievements include high-performance transistors and light-emitting diodes based on organic materials (OLEDs), which lead to energy savings and are being incorporated in electronic devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers and cellular phones, as well as being the basis of what is known as electronic paper.

Marks also has led major advances in the areas of transparent conducting oxides, the organometallic chemistry of lanthanides and actinides, chemical vapor deposition for thin films of interest to the electronics industry, models for metal ion environments in proteins, and catalytically important metal-boron hydride complexes.
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