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Catherine Mulzer receives DSM Science and Technology Award Americas 2017

Parsippany NJ, US, 23 Aug 2017 17:00 CEST

Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, today announced that the DSM Science & Technology Award Americas 2017 has been awarded to Catherine Mulzer from Cornell University, USA. The Award recognizes her discovery of redox-active Covalent Organic Frameworks as a technology platform for energy storage. This new advancement has led to achieving extremely high capacitance and fast charging rates for electrochemical energy storage devices.
Catherine Mulzer receives DSM Science and Technology Award Americas 2017 from Rolf van Benthem

In collaboration with the American Chemical Society (ACS), the award was presented at the Fall National ACS Meeting in Washington DC during the regular ACS POLY Award Reception on Wednesday, 23 August 2017.

The Science and Technology Award Americas is part of DSM’s Bright Science Awards program, which is designed to nurture, recognize, and reward excellence in research fields of key interest to DSM: health, nutrition and materials. DSM has been presenting these awards for more than 26 years, and the Science and Technology Awards now span three continents, honoring bright young scientists in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The Science and Technology Award Americas 2017 recognized excellence in innovative PhD research in the field of Polymer Technology. The theme of the 2017 competition was Advanced Polymers in Energy Storage Applications.

Pioneering the use of redox-active COFs as an energy storage platform

Catherine Mulzer’s research focused on Covalent Organic Frameworks (COFs). COF’s are an emerging class of crystalline two- or three-dimensional polymers with high surface area and predictable incorporation of functionality. Leveraging these properties for the development of COFs as electrochemical energy storage devices was the topic of Catherine’s PhD. Initial studies focused on the redox-activity of insoluble, polycrystalline COF powders, the limited electrical conductivity of which was subsequently improved by changing the COF morphology to crystalline, oriented thin films of the material. Electropolymerization of a conductive polymer into the COF pores further improved the material properties and achieved extremely fast charging rates. Overall, this work pioneered the use of redox-active COFs as an energy storage platform that now rivals commonly used activated carbon materials.

Rolf van Benthem, DSM Corporate Science Fellow Macromolecular Sciences: “DSM firmly believes that science can change the world. We seek to solve the world’s greatest challenges by using our unique competencies to create solutions that improve lives for generations to come. That’s why we invest in developing scientific talent to address key challenges the world is facing in areas such climate and energy. Solving problems in these fields requires breakthroughs in energy storage application that make it possible to transfer and store energy in ways that were never possible before. The research of young talents like Catherine Mulzer unleashes the potential of science to drive innovation and growth to solve for today’s challenges and those of generations to come, and we’re proud to bestow the Science & Technology Americas award in recognition of this.”

Final judging of the award took place during a dedicated DSM Science and Technology Award session that was part of the ACS event, at which the five candidates delivered short lectures on their research. The winner was announced during a reception by Rolf van Benthem of DSM. The runners-up for the DSM Science & Technology Award Americas 2017 were:

Ksenia Timachova
University of California, Berkeley
Ion transport in homogeneous and nanostructured polymer electrolytes

Liang Zhu
Penn State University
Exploring multication side chain anion exchange membranes with varied backbones

Jeffrey Lopez
Stanford University
High performance lithium metal anode with a soft and flowable polymer coating

Kelly Meek
Texas A&M University
Chemical stability and ion transport in polymerized ionic liquid anion exchange membranes