The Wolf Prize Committee commended Matyjaszewski for his "groundbreaking research in synthesis of organic materials, and in particular, in the critical area of controlled, efficient, safe and economical polymer synthesis." Matyjaszewski invented the process of atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), one of the most effective and most widely used methods of controlled radical polymerization (CRP). This method allows scientists to create polymers from many different component parts, called monomers, in a piece-by-piece fashion, precisely controlling the polymer's composition. By assembling polymers in such a manner, scientists have been able to create a wide range of new materials with highly specific, tailored functionalities. This technology also allows for the production of "smart" materials that can respond to altered environments, such as changes in pressure, acidity, light exposure or other variables.
"ATRP has made polymerization easier, less expensive, and more effective, changing how we make materials from paints to plastics and adhesives," said Fred Gilman, dean of CMU's Mellon College of Science. "Kris continues to strive to improve the process and even given the worldwide recognition of his achievements, I would bet the best is yet to come."
Polymers created using ATRP have been used for coatings, adhesives, lubricants, cosmetics and electronics and are currently under investigation for use in the medical and environmental fields. In 2006, ATRP formed the basis for a Carnegie Mellon spin-off company called ATRP Solutions that uses the technology to develop next-generation materials for evaluation by their customers in their targeted markets.
Born in Poland, Matyjaszewski received his doctorate from the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1976 and completed a postdoctoral fellows
|Contact: Jocelyn Duffy|
Carnegie Mellon University