Named after the instigator of quality control, the 15.000 Euro Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award is given to a young researcher in the analytical sciences. A committee of five compile a shortlist of ten papers from those submitted and rank them to decide the winner.
This year, it has been awarded to Luisa Torsi, University of Bari, Italy, for her work on the development of organic thin film transistors as described in the paper Chemical sensing by thin films and field effect amplifications. It is the first time the award has gone to woman. In a talk after the presentation of the award, Torsi detailed her findings.
The transistors consist of a flexible silicon base covered with a dielectric layer and an organic semi conductor. Electrodes apply a current and allow the voltage of the system to be varied. In the presence of an analyte, a reduction in current is seen. Torsi has demonstrated that the organic semi conductor can be substituted with chiral moieties to allow detection of enantiomers of citronellol.