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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Anthony Cheetham

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

My work over the last 35 years has spanned many facets of inorganic materials, ranging from the magnetic and optical properties of metal oxides to the development of new catalysts for natural gas conversion. The work that is having the greatest impact concerns my research on nanoporous materials, which began in the early 1980s with a program on aluminosilicate zeolites. Such materials are used extensively in industry for catalysis, separations, and other applications. My early work lead to numerous breakthroughs in this fast-moving field, including the first elucidation of Si,Al ordering in a zeolite by powder neutron diffraction, the first direct observation of an active site in a zeolites catalyst, the first determination of the location of an adsorbed hydrocarbon in a zeolites cavity, and the first use of Monte Carlo methods in the area. Following my move to Santa Barbara in 1991, this work focused more heavily on the precise nature of acid sites in zeolites catalysts, the structure and dynamics of hydrocarbons in zeolites cavities, and the way in which such molecules interact with acid sites. The work was characterized by the use of complementary methods to study these difficult problems, such as NMR with molecular dynamics, NMR and neutron diffraction, and NMR with diffraction and lattice energy minimization. One of the highlights of this phase of the work was the elucidation of the way in which water interacts with protons at the active sites in a zeolite catalyst, which was published in Science. Subsequent work in the late 1990s explored the behavior of halocarbons in zeolites, developing new forcefields for computer simulations and addressing the issues arising from hydrogen bonding between the guest molecules and the host. The zeolite-related work took a new turn in the late 1990s, focusing on the belief that it should be possible to create nanoporous materials based upon chemistries other than those of the well-known aluminosilicate zeolites and aluminum phosphates. Recent achievements in this area include the discovery of the first basic zeolitic systems containing lone-pair ions, e.g. Sn(II) and Sb(III) phosphates, and the discovery of an exciting class of shape selective hydrogenation catalysts based upon Ni(II) phosphates. The latter class of materials was discovered in collaboration with G. Férey when I held a Chaire Blaise Pascal at the Institut Lavoisier, Versailles, in 1997-9. We have recently shown that the nickel phosphates have remarkable hydrogen sorption properties that are qualitatively different from those found in metal hydrides and zeolites. A closely related theme has evolved during the last 6 years: the study of hybrid (inorganic-organic) open framework materials. In my own group, this began serendipitously in 1997 with the discovery of some open-framework oxalates and continued during my stay in Paris where Férey had begun to work on rare-earth dicarboxylates. It is now clear that these materials are the tip of an enormous iceberg, and that an important new field is beginning to emerge at the interface between inorganic and organic materials. Recent discoveries in this area in my own group include the synthesis of a remarkable nickel succinate with 3-D Ni-O-Ni connectivity, and a similar rare-earth material that exhibits classical zeolitic properties. A 1999 review of open-framework inorganic materials, co-authored with Férey, sets out the concept that zeolitic-type materials can indeed be created with virtually any type of chemistry. The momentum that has now developed in this field is underlined by the fact that the paper has already garnered well over 500 citations.

Brief Biography


Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106. Date and place of birth: 16th Nov., 1946; Stockport, U.K.

Education: St. Catherine's College, Oxford 1965/69 Honorary Scholar; B.A. (Class 1) in Chemistry(1969) Wadham College, Oxford 1969/71 Senior Scholar; M.A., D.Phil. (1971): Doctorate Research on "The Structures of some Non-stoichiometric Compounds" under Prof. Sir Brian Fender.

Academic Appointments:

Lincoln College, Oxford 1971-74: E.P. Abraham Cephalosporin Junior Research Fellow. Oxford University: University Lecturer in Chemical Crystallography 1974-90 Reader in Inorganic Materials 1990-91 Arizona State University: Visiting Professor, Fulbright Scholar, 1977 University of California, Berkeley: Visiting Associate Professor, 1979 Royal Institution, London: Professor of Solid State Chemistry 1986-present Associate Director, Davy-Faraday Laboratory 1986-1991 University of California, Santa Barbara: Professor of Materials and Chemistry (Abovescale) 1991-present Director, Materials Research Laboratory 1991-2004 Director, International Center for Materials Science, 2004-

Honors: 1977 Fulbright Scholarship (Arizona State Univ) 1981 Visiting Foreign Scientist (Am. Chem. Soc.) 1982 Corday-Morgan Medal (Royal Society of Chem.) 1988 Solid State Chemistry Award (RSC, London) 1994 Visiting Professor and Distinguished Lecturer, University of Sydney, Australia 1994 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, London. 1996 Structural Chemistry Award (RSC, London) 1997 Chaire Internationale de Recherche “Blaise Pascal” (Paris) 1997 Elected Foreign Member of Pakistan Academy of Sciences 1998 Elected Foreign Member of National Academy of Sciences of India 1999 Elected Associate Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences 1999 Distinguished Fellow, Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore 2000 Elected Member of European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities 2001 Elected Honorary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences 2001 International Chair Francqui, Brussels (2001) 2002 Bonner Chemiepreis, Univ. Bonn 2003 Professor C.N.R. Rao Lecture Award; Chemical Research Society of India 2003 Humphry Davy Prize Lectureship of the Royal Society 2004 Somiya Award of the International Union of Materials Research Societies (with Professor C.N.R. Rao)

Editorial Boards: J. Physics and Chemistry of Solids J. Solid State Chemistry Reviews of Solid State Science J. Computer-Aided Materials Design; Co-editor Monographs on the Physics & Chemistry of Materials(Oxford); Series Editor Current Opinions in Solid State & Materials Sciences; Co-editor Catalysis Letters/Topics in Catalysis Bulletin of Materials Science Solid State Sciences, Associate Editor

Other Activities: 2001 Founder and General Partner, NGEN Enabling Technologies Fund (a Venture Capital Fund) 2000-present: Science Advisor to the Board of Unilever plc. Many Advisory Boards: US, Europe, Chile, Australia

Publications: Over 400, including 4 books and 8 patents.

I shall be stepping down from the Directorship of the UCSB Materials Research Laboratory in September 2004 to become the founding Director of the newly created International Center for Materials Science (for which I have just received a grant of $3.5 million from the National Science Foundation). My vision is that this will become an international forum for the promotion of excellence in materials science and engineering through a series of research and educational programs. We shall reach out to both the developed and the developing world, using my network through the Third World Academy of Sciences.