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Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000
Alan Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid, Hideki Shirakawa

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Alan MacDiarmid - Facts

Alan G. MacDiarmid

Alan G. MacDiarmid

Born: 14 April 1927, Masterton, New Zealand

Died: 7 February 2007, Drexel Hill, PA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Prize motivation: "for the discovery and development of conductive polymers"

Field: physical chemistry

Prize share: 1/3

Work

Plastic material is composed of polymers - very large molecules that take the form of long chains of smaller molecules. Plastic usually does not conduct electricity, but at the end of the 1970s Alan MacDiarmid, Alan Heeger, and Hideki Shirakawa demonstrated that it is possible to produce conductive polymers. This requires alternating single and double bonds between carbon atoms in the chain and doping the polymers through the addition of suitable atoms so that free electrons or holes appear after the electrons. Conductive polymers can be used in electronics and other applications.

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