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Christopher Bates wins DSM Science and Technology Award Americas 2013

Urmond, NL, 13 Sep 2013 15:00 CEST

Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, has awarded the DSM Science and Technology Award, Americas 2013, to Christopher M. Bates of the University of Texas in Austin (USA). The theme of this year's award was Mastering Macromolecular Morphology.
From left to right: Abhijeet P. Bapat, Erin F. Wiesenauer, Shiyi Zhang, Christopher M. Bates and Marcel Wubbolts

Bates received the award for his PhD research on block copolymer thin film orientation, which he conducted under supervision of prof. C. Grant Wilson. An international judging committee selected Bates as winner out of four finalists. The award was presented to Bates by DSM's Chief Technology Officer Marcel Wubbolts during the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Indianapolis on 11 September 2013.

Bates focused his PhD on the creation of self-assembly layers of block copolymers into domains of the length scale of 1 - 100 nanometers to control the interfacial energy of the surface. Thin films with these top coats applied are attractive for many applications including organic optoelectronics, nanoporous membranes and next generation lithography. 

The jury indicated that Bates has made an excellent contribution to the field of thin film materials sciences, proven by his extensive list of publications in high impact journals and 6 patents. His research has great relevance as it can lead to breakthrough developments in electronics and solar applications. Bates also impressed the jury with his clear presentation of a very complex subject matter. 

The other 3 finalists were: 

  • Shiyi Zhang, Texas A&M University.
    PhD thesis: Versatile constructions of asymmetrically-functionalized polymer nanoparticles for the self-assembly of superstructures.
    PhD supervisor: Karen L. Wooley. 
  • Abhijeet P. Bapat, Southern Methodist University.
    PhD thesis: Dynamic-covalent star nanostructures prepared from functional block copolymers obtained by RAFT polymerization.
    PhD supervisor: Brent S. Sumerlin
  • Erin F. Wiesenauer, University of Colorado at Boulder.
    PhD thesis: Synthesis, nanostructure characterization, and gas separation membrane development of ordered, phase separated, ionic liquid-based AB and ABC block copolymers.
    PhD supervisor: Douglas L. Gin

The award finalists presented their research in a short lecture during a special DSM symposium held during the ACS meeting in Indianapolis on 10 September 2013. In addition to the award finalists, presentations were given by DSM Corporate Scientist Rolf van Benthem and prof. Stephen Z.D. Cheng. In his presentation on self-surface-replenishing coatings, van Benthem highlighted the importance of this year's theme in designing surface functionalities for DSM's innovations in the field of Materials Sciences.    

Presenting the award Marcel Wubbolts commented: "DSM is committed to finding solutions for society's major challenges. This requires breakthroughs in a large number of scientific disciplines. This year’s award theme highlights an important enabling technology that will form the basis for future developments in, amonst others, lithography and photo-voltaics, which can ultimately play an important role in energy capture and storage."

The DSM Science and Technology Awards are part of the DSM Bright Science Awards program. They seek to recognize and reward outstanding young researchers (PhD students and those who have recently obtained their PhD) for innovative research with clear application potential. The award is granted in three different regions: Europe, Asia and the America's. 

Prof. Greg Tew, chairman of the division of polymer chemistry of the ACS commented: "Within the division, we find it extremely important that industrial partners support fundamental research at the student level. This award program from DSM is a unique initiative within the division, and ACS POLY strongly endorses this effort to showcase ongoing high quality, cutting edge research in academic labs in the US."

DSM has a long tradition of more than 25 years of granting awards for excellence in PhD research. Originally started as a local activity in the south of the Netherlands, close to DSM's headquarters and first research facility, the awards have grown, with the company, into a global activity, honoring bright young scientists that are examples to their peers.