German researcher receives american award

March 21, 2000

Develops new materials for the electronics and optics industries

Chemist Peter Jutzi of Bielefeld, Germany, will be honored on March 28 by the world's largest scientific society for his achievements both in understanding the nature of silicon-based chemistry and in developing new materials for the electronics and optics industries. He will receive the Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry from the American Chemical Society at its 219th national meeting in San Francisco.

While most researchers focus on either fundamental or applied product-oriented studies, Jutzi and his team at the University of Bielefeld work in both areas. In short, they design methods to make compounds of silicon and carbon. But they also study the new products, with an eye to understand such chemistry better as well as to explore potentially useful new materials.

For example, heating some of Jutzi's compounds will cause them to decompose in an orderly and controllable manner. This process releases the silicon, which can then deposit in thin, even layers on a solid surface. Alternating these layers with another material that bends energy waves differently can form a reflective surface, said Jutzi. Electronics manufacturers could use the device as a mirror for etching computer chips or other circuitry with X-rays, he added.

His group can also make precise, disk-shaped molecules based on carbon and attach them to silicon atoms. "The protective screens protect the otherwise highly reactive silicon centers and allows a much easier handling," explained the inorganic chemistry professor.

"The most prominent example in the field of fundamental research is the synthesis of a 'sandwich' compound, in which a silicon atom is positioned between two disk-like organic ligands (carbon groups) -- comparable to a pearl between two shells of a pearl oyster," he said. Studies with a similar structure based on iron and other metals led to the Nobel Prize in 1973 for a German and a British chemist.

Jutzi said he grew up in the Ruhrgebiet, the region in Germany, formerly known for its steel and coal production. "There I came in contact with the blast-furnace, and thus with concrete iron chemistry," he explained. "This was fascinating for me. It's the reason I decided to study chemistry."

The Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry is sponsored by Dow Corning of Midland, Mich.
A nonprofit organization with a membership of 161,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

American Chemical Society

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