Topping the List

USC College’s Mark Thompson recognized on Thomson Reuters’ Top 100 Chemists, 2000–2010 list.
ByAmbrosia Viramontes-Brody

Mark Thompson, professor of chemistry, materials science and environmental sciences in USC College, has ranked 12th in Thomson Reuters’ Science Watch list as one of the world’s most influential chemists.

The “Top 100 Chemists, 2000–2010” list recognizes leaders in the field who have achieved the highest citation impact scores for chemistry papers, articles and reviews published since 2000. With his top 53 published papers being cited 5,394 times, Thompson garnered an impact score of 101.77.

Thompson, whose research areas include molecular/polymeric materials for optical studies and nanoscale materials and devices for sensing catalytic studies, joined the College in 1995. He is most noted for his work with new materials for optoelectronics. Many of his 53 most cited papers concern organic LEDs. Thompson was the first to realize that the use of phosphorescent materials could lead to unprecedented improvements in efficiency and color quality for these devices. One of the materials he discovered at USC is incorporated into cell phone displays today and others are soon to be found in the next generation of flat panel displays.

He has studied solar cells for the past 20 years and is currently developing materials to improve the efficiency of solar cells as part of a five-year U.S. Department of Energy grant. The College and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering were jointly awarded the $12.5 million grant that resulted in the on-campus Center for Energy Nanoscience (CEN) for which Thompson is associate director. “CEN’s mission is to develop materials and processes for solid state lighting and solar energy conversion,” Thompson said.

“This is one of the important areas of the Department of Chemistry where it wants to build and excel so this ranking is a very good piece of recognition for the department as well as Professor Thompson,” said Charles McKenna, professor and chair of chemistry.

Thompson’s contributions have earned him several past distinctions including: the Materials Research Society’s MRS Medal for the development of new materials for organic LEDs, the Society for Information Display’s Jan Rajchman Prize for Outstanding Research in Flat Panel Displays, and the Research and Development Council of New Jersey’s Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for his multicolor organic light emitting devices. Thompson was named the 1998 Distinguished Inventor of the Year by The Intellectual Property Owners Association for the development of stacked multicolor organic LEDs.

At USC, he has also been recognized with the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Research in 2007 and the College’s Raubenheimer Outstanding Faculty Award in 2004.

Also joining Thompson on the list is USC College alumnus Valery Fokin, who received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1998. Nicos Petasis, Harold and Lillian Moulton Chair and professor of chemistry in the College, served as Folkin’s mentor and dissertation chair. Fokin is currently associate professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute.