Professor Jean-Luc Brédas FRSC
Winner: 2021 Centenary Prize
University of Arizona
For seminal contributions to our fundamental understanding of the electronic properties of organic materials for electronics and photonics, and for excellence in communication.
Celebrate Professor Jean-Luc Brédas
Professor Brédas's work is computational in nature. His group designs novel organic materials with remarkable electronic, optical, and/or magnetic properties, which make them suitable as the active component in flexible (and even wearable) devices such as transistors, solar cells, or light-emitting diodes. While applications of organic solar cells run on renewable energy, applications of organic LEDs are not only enabling displays (of cell phones, smart watches, televisions) of unprecedented quality but also contribute to energy conservation.Read winner biography
Jean-Luc Brédas received his BSc (1976) and PhD (1979) degrees from the University of Namur, Belgium. In 1988, he was appointed Professor at the University of Mons, Belgium, where he established the Laboratory for Chemistry of Novel Materials.
While keeping an Extraordinary Professorship appointment in Mons, he joined the University of Arizona in 1999. In 2003, he moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology where he became Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and held the Vasser-Woolley and Georgia Research Alliance Chair in Molecular Design. Between 2014 and 2016, he joined King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as a Distinguished Professor and served as Director of the KAUST Solar & Photovoltaics Engineering Research Center. He returned to Georgia Tech in 2017 before moving back to the University of Arizona in 2020.
Jean-Luc Brédas is an elected Member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, the Royal Academy of Belgium, and the European Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of the 1997 Francqui Prize, the 2000 Quinquennial Prize of the Belgian National Science Foundation, the 2001 Italgas Prize, the 2003 Descartes Prize of the European Union, the 2010 ACS Charles Stone Award, the 2013 APS David Adler Award in Materials Physics, the 2016 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, the 2019 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, and the 2020 MRS Materials Theory Award. He is Honorary Professor of the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology and King Abdulaziz University. He has served as editor for Chemistry of Materials since 2008 and published over 1,100 refereed publications, which have achieved over 115,000 citations. His current Google Scholar h-index is 155.
How did you first become interested in chemistry?
In high school: I thought that chemistry was a fun topic and that one could create so many interesting things by putting together elements in the right way, much as when one assembles a puzzle.
Who or what has inspired you?
I had the greatest of luck in having a graduate advisor (Professor Jean-Marie André at the University of Namur, Belgium) and two postdoctoral advisors (Dr Ronald R Chance, then at the Allied Chemical Corporate Research Center, and Professor Bob Silbey at MIT), whose outstanding scientific and human qualities shaped the computational chemist I have become. They have remained an amazing source of inspiration throughout my scientific career.
What motivates you?
Trying to understand novel phenomena in the framework of organic materials and to communicate their chemical and physical intricacies to a broad scientific audience, while fostering a more diverse, more inclusive chemistry community.
Can you tell us about a scientific development on the horizon that you are excited about?
The development of organic materials as quantum information systems and as active components of wearable devices such as, for example, an electronic skin for non-invasive medical diagnostics.
What is your favourite element?
Without a doubt carbon as I have been interested, ever since my PhD thesis, in the properties of pi-conjugated organic molecules and polymers. The brilliance of organic synthetic chemists in designing and developing almost any organic material is truly amazing.