Understated & Highly-Cited
When you do great work, other researchers recognize it by mentioning you in their own research, through a process called citing. The Thompson Reuters online database of Highly Cited Researchers shows two names under the chemistry heading for the entire state of Ohio. One of them is Kent State University Chemistry Professor Dr. Mietek Jaroniec, whose publication list exceeds 93 pages, with nearly ten times as many items. He’s been cited over 44,000 times (excluding self-citations), an average of 53 times per publication, and as many as 1853 for a single manuscript — a publication on the “Synthesis of new, nanoporous carbon with hexagonally ordered mesostructure,” published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in November of 2000 (data on January 25, 2018).
Sixteen years later, Jaroniec is still studying those structures.
For anyone who isn’t a scientist or advanced chemistry student, the details of research involving nanoporous materials can make one’s eyes glaze over in seconds. The implications of the work, however, are something anybody would find interesting.
Jaroniec’s lab has lately been working on a silica (silicon dioxide) structure, a material filled with nanometer sized — think one billionth of a meter — channels throughout.
These seemingly solid materials such as silica, metal oxides, carbons and organic-inorganic hybrids, with their nearly invisible holes, can be processed into tubes or even thin plastic-wrap-like sheets.
Such materials can be used, Jaroniec says, as sponges for absorbing molecules of toxic gases like carbon monoxide, or removing harmful ions like lead, mercury and cadmium from contaminated water.
The technology could lead to the development of structures that can capture and store hydrogen or methane for use as alternative auto fuel sources, or to trap CO2 and convert it to a fuel or something that can process it into more useful chemicals.
Nanoporous materials could also help with catalytic or photocatalytic degradation of chemical warfare agents.
Still other — and exponentially more advanced — chemistry and physics processes could be used to turn these materials into sensors, by adding other elements to the structure.
The application potential is vast and staggering, and just one of many reasons why Jaroniec is one of the world’s most highly cited chemists. In 2017 He was also named “Highly Cited Researcher” by Clarivate Analytics/Web of Science! His research ranks among the top 1% most cited works in his fields of both chemistry and materials science, and has been featured on both lists in the past - materials science in 2001 and chemistry in 2015 and 2016.
It’s also why he returned in early 2017 to his native country of Poland to receive the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Medal for Scientific Achievements from the Polish Chemical Society.