Prestigious French chemistry prize honour for University of Tokyo’s scientist


Every year, the Maison de la Chimie foundation in France awards the Grand Prix prize to a researcher who they believe has furthered the field of chemistry in some significant way. The latest 2022 prize will be shared between Professor Makoto Fujita from the Department of Applied Chemistry at the University of Tokyo and Professor Klaus Müllen from the Max Planck Institute in Germany. The award ceremony takes place on Feb. 8, 2023, in Paris.

Fujita received the award for what the foundation considers to be some of the most original research in the field of chemistry today. Of particular note is his work on what is known as supramolecular synthesis. Essentially, this is a way to create new and useful compounds in a way that is in itself new and useful, by a process of self-assembly.

One of Fujita’s latest creations using this method is supramolecular cages. These can aid in the imaging and analysis of previously hard-to-analyze chemical substances. For example, in X-ray diffraction imaging, typically a pure single crystal of a substance must be prepared in order to be analyzed. However, thanks to Fujita’s approach, samples to be analyzed can be contained within a lattice cage and the whole thing can be X-rayed without the need to painstakingly crystalize the target sample.

This approach could reduce the time, expense and complexity of some forms of chemical analysis. And these benefits could aid areas of research such as medicine, materials and more. Fujita will receive a 25,000 Euro prize. He hopes that his technology will be one of the important bases for creating well-designed structures of matter on the nanoscale.