Allen J. Bard
Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2008/9
Allen J. Bard
Affiliation at the time of the award:
University of Texas, USA
“for the ingenious creation of a new field of science, single molecule spectroscopy and electrochemistry, with impact at the nanoscopic regime, from the molecular and cellular domain to complex material systems”.
The work of these two scientists has led to the creation of a new field of science, single-molecule spectroscopy and imaging. William E. Moerner was the first to perform optical detection and spectroscopy of a single, individual molecule in condensed matter. Allen J. Bard pioneered the development of the scanning electrochemical microscope, allowing high resolution chemical imaging of surfaces and the study of chemical reactions at the nanoscopic regime, applied to biological and catalysis systems. Prior to these discoveries, all chemical experiments essentially measured ensemble averages, over millions to billions of putatively identical copies of the sample molecule, occasionally blurring important information, pertaining to hidden heterogeneity in configuration and intermediate states, in time-domain dynamics. By pushing optical detection to the ultimate limit of one molecule, these scientists changed our understanding of the chemistry and physics of individual molecules. Thus, the strength, persistence, and daring exhibited by Moerner and Bard, in attacking seemingly insoluble problems, led to new experimental and conceptual approaches, currently widely adopted by the scientific community at large.
Professor Allen J. Bard’s contributions to fundamental science are remarkably broad and include invention of the scanning electrochemical microscope, now used worldwide in investigations of electro-catalytic mechanisms, in identification of cancerous cells, in mapping transport paths in the skin for trans-dermal drug delivery, and for lithographic patterning of surfaces. His efforts are largely responsible for the development of electrochemically generated electroluminescence reactions, and immunoassay commercial technology, used worldwide in medical diagnosis and research. Bard and his team were the first to investigate the electrochemistry of particle semiconductors, for solar energy conversion and environmental remediation. His over 1,000 publications essentially cover all areas of electrochemistry, ranging from synthetic organic electrochemical mechanisms, to solid-state electrochemical devices], to measurement of forces with an electrical double layer, to the use of supercritical liquid electrochemical solvent, to numerous fundamental studies of electron-transfer kinetics. Thus, Bard’s contributions to science, through his investigation of fundamental molecular electrochemistry and the development of electro-analytical methods, have truly served mankind, in medical, energy, and materials technologies.