The prestigious Rudolf Lukeš Prize, which from 2020 is supported by the Experientia Foundation in cooperation with the Czech Chemical Society, has been awarded to Dr Pavel Jelínek, PhD from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. “The international panel of experts were captivated by the scanning microscopy techniques being developed by Dr Jelínek, which have tremendous potential for application in organic chemistry,” said Jan Hlaváč, Chair of the Expert Group of Organic, Bioorganic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry of the Czech Chemical Society.
“I personally view the Rudolf Lukeš Prize as a wonderful surprise, and most of all as confirmation that our research transcends the field of solid-state physics,” explains Jelínek, who is head of the Nanosurf Lab group and the Surfaces and Molecular Structures Department at the Institute of Physics.
The prize-winning scientist sees the benefits of his work for organic chemistry primarily in the development of scanning microscopy, which now allows the imaging of the chemical structure of planar molecules on solid surfaces with unprecedented spatial resolution. According to Jelínek, chemistry on solid surfaces also enables the manufacture of compounds that cannot be prepared in solution by traditional methods. “It is also possible to prepare individual polymers and work with them without having to deal with the problem of their solubility,” Jelínek explains. “This makes it possible for us not only to study the chemical reactions at the level of individual molecules, but also to investigate their properties.”
Pavel Jelínek earned his doctorate at the Czech Technical University in Prague in the field of Physical and Materials Engineering. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the group of Professor Fernando Flores at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, and later worked as a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Engineering of Osaka University in Japan. He is a member of the editorial board of the international scientific journal Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. He also works as a researcher at the Regional Centre for Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM) at the Faculty of Science of Palacký University in Olomouc. For his achievements in science, he has been awarded the Otto Wichterle Award (2007), the Czech Academy of Sciences Award (2012), and the Academic Award (2016).
The Rudolf Lukeš Prize is awarded for an outstanding collection of original work published in prestigious international journals in the previous five years. Now supplemented with an increased personal award of 100,000 CZK from the Experientia Foundation, the prize will be formally presented to Dr Jelínek on 5 November 2020.