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Winner of the fourth PANalytical Award: Arianna Lanza

The PANalytical Award of 2015 has been won by Ms. Arianna Lanza, affiliated to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Bern and to the Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen (Switzerland). The prize was based on a research article published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2015) 137, 13072 – 13078, titled: ’Solid-State Reversible Nucleophilic Addition in a Highly Flexible MOF’, authored by Arianna Lanza, Luzia S. Germann, Martin Fisch, Nicola Casati and supervisor Piero Macchi. As entrant and first author on the publication Ms. Lanza is to receive the PANalytical Award trophy, a certificate and €5,000 in prize money.

In her article Arianna Lanza describes in detail a flexible and porous metal-organic framework, based on CoII connectors and benzotriazolide-5-carboxylato linkers (Co-btca) and its selective reactions with guest molecules. The crystal structures obtained by X-ray diffraction at various pressures and temperatures revealed in detail how guest molecules bind to the metal-organic framework. Co-btca proved to be a selectively absorbing material, a property that can be tuned by functionalizing the channel surface. This extraordinary example of chemisorption has big implications for catalysis, storage or selective sieving.

In Co-btca, the coordination number of CoII (blue polyhedra) increases after pressure-induced binding to additional ligands (free ligands in yellow, coordinated ligands in orange)

Researchers that have never held a professorship and who use laboratory-scale X-ray equipment as their primary analytical technique were eligible to apply for the award. Entries for the award could be submitted during the course of 2015 and had to have been published in the period between 1 January 2014 and 1 December 2015. The winning article was chosen by a committee composed primarily of independent researchers, unaffiliated to PANalytical and was selected from a strong field of more than 90 entries submitted from across the globe.

The judges were especially impressed by Ms. Lanza’s beautiful and original results, which open the way to many new applications. The proof of her scientific leadership has been provided in an exemplary way; she designed, initiated and carried out the project and co-performed the difficult and time-consuming experiments, demonstrating competence and confidence in X-ray analysis and crystallography.

Arianna Lanza obtained her master degree in Industrial Chemistry in 2010, from the University of Padova (Italy), where she first started working with metal-organic frameworks. Following her passion for crystallography, she moved to the University of Bern where she is finalizing her PhD on metal-organic materials at high pressure.

She is delighted by PANalytical’s recognition of her research and says: ”Co-btca crystals have given us a hard time from the beginning, but eventually they gave us many surprising and promising results, making all our efforts worth. This award is a great acknowledgement for the value of our work, and a great encouragement: I am very grateful for it.”

In the strong field of candidates the jury identified Dr. Victor Duffort as close runner-up. His publication in Energy and Environmental Science, 8 (2015) 2512 - 2524, ‘Structure of the high voltage phase of layered P2-Na2/3-z[Mn1/2Fe1/2]O2 and the positive effect of Ni substitution on its stability’ was regarded by the judges as a great paper which exhibits the possibilities of laboratory X-ray diffraction and exemplifies the PDF method. There was little to distinguish between this work and the winning entry except for the shared first authorship in the case of Dr. Duffort.

PANalytical is a proud proponent of early-career scientists.

Members of the selection comittee

1. Prof. Shiv Halasyamani , Department of Chemistry, University of Houston, TX, USA
2. Prof. Yoshiyuki Inaguma , Department of Chemistry, Gakushin University, Tokyo, Japan
3. Prof. Massimo Nespolo , Lab of Crystallography, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Modeling, University of Lorraine, France
4. Prof. Petra Rudolf, Head of the Surfaces and Thin Films group, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
5. Prof. P. Venugopalan, Chemistry Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
6. Dr. Patricia Kidd, Materials and Applications Research at the PANalytical Research Centre, campus of the University of Sussex, UK

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