This week, the family, friends and colleagues of Martin Pope, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at New York University, will be celebrating his 100th birthday. Martin retired from the NYU Chemistry faculty in 1988, but his scholarly activities continue to this day. He is a widely acknowledged pioneer in the field of organic semiconductors who made a series of seminal discoveries at NYU that are the basis of the currently hot fields of organic electronics and organic light emitting diodes (OLED).
In 1960, Martin discovered that ohmic charge injecting contacts, including aqueous solutions containing oxidizing agents, could be used to inject electric currents into normally insulating polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon organic crystals in the dark and under the influence of light. In 1963, Martin Pope and his group showed that electroluminescence could be generated in insulating molecular crystals by the injection of holes and electrons; the subsequent recombination of these electron-hole pairs generate the typical molecular fluorescence of organic molecular crystals like anthracene. His group was the first to demonstrate conclusively that singlet excitons in anthracene crystals and other aromatic molecular solids can generate charge carriers by interacting with electron acceptors at their surfaces. Pope was also the first to discover an exciton-induced photovoltaic effect in organic molecular crystals using identical electrodes.
In the following decade, Martin Pope focused his attention on the field of exciton dynamics in organic crystals. Many discoveries followed from this fertile period that were based on Professor Pope's creative and modern adaptation of the famous Millikan oil drop experiment. In 1969, Martin and his group discovered the phenomenon of the spontaneous fission of singlet excitons into two triplet excitons. Subsequently, the phenomenon of exciton heterofission was demonstrated in doped organic solids, that involves the splitting of a host singlet exciton into a triplet exciton of the host, and another of the dopant.
Over the years, Martin Pope published more than 100 manuscripts. His discoveries have made possible many of the advances that have been achieved in the field of organic electronics and the field of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDS). The monumental book (two editions) entitled Electronic Processes in Organic Crystals and Electronic Processes in Organic Crystals and Polymers (6th printing), by Martin Pope and Charles E. Swenberg published by the Clarendon Press (Oxford), is a classic in the field that has been cited close to 5000 times.
Martin Pope was a Fulbright Scholar (1996). In recognition of his pioneering contributions in the field of organic molecular semiconductors, the prestigious 2006 Davy Medal was awarded to Professor Pope by the Royal Society (UK). His research was supported for many years by the Atomic Energy Commission and later by the Department of Energy (DOE). In 1988, he received the citation for Outstanding Contributions to the Department of Energy of the United States, 1988. In addition to the Davy Medal, Martin Pope was also the recipient of the Townsend Harris Medal, City University (CCNY). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, The New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Happy 100th birthday Professor Pope!
All are welcome to send birthday greetings to Professor Pope care of firstname.lastname@example.org.