Clarivate Analytics has selected Taeghwan Hyeon, nanochemist and Distinguished Professor of Seoul National University (SNU) and Director of the Center for Nanoparticle Research, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), as one of 24 2020-Citation Laureates in the areas of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and economics. Citation Laureates are scientists that Clarivate Analytics predicts to win the Nobel Prize. Clarivate Analytic Citation Laureates are chosen based on how frequently their research has been cited by other researchers.
Hyeon is among the 24 most-cited researchers (ranking in the top 0.01% by citations) who are also very influential figures in their fields for their breakthrough and frontier research work. Out of some 50 million articles and proceedings indexed in the Web of Science since 1970, only 5,700 (or .01%) have been cited 2,000 or more times. It is from the authors of this group of papers that Citation Laureates are identified and selected. To date, 54 Citation Laureates have gone on to receive a Nobel Prized.
Hyeon pioneered the heat-up process to produce uniform-sized nanocrystals of many different kinds of materials. This novel synthetic procedure enables the direct production of uniform-sized nanocrystals without a size selection process, which traditional synthesis methods inevitably required due to the nanocrystals produced in mixtures of different sizes. Hyeon's heat-up process allows to synthesize uniform-sized nanocrystals under mild conditions. The work was published in JACS in 2011*, whose impact is attested by a total of 1,660 citations.
* Synthesis of highly crystalline and monodisperse maghemite nanocrystallites without a size-selection process. JACS. DOI: 10.1021/ja016812s
Hyeon, furthermore reported a large-scale production of uniform nanoparticles for various industrial applications in Nature Materials in 2004** (a total of 3,000 citations). This generalized synthetic process has been found quite useful in industrial settings as well as in laboratory-scale experiments.
** Ultra-large-scale syntheses of monodisperse nanocrystals. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat1251
Hyeon continues his stellar track records since he became a director of the IBS Center for Nanoparticle Research in 2012. His group has developed a number of flexible and stretchable healthcare devices that cleverly combined different multifunctional nanostructured materials. Currently integrating nanoparticles within flexible devices is one of its main research topics. Hyeon's group is looking for more opportunities to expand the application area of nanoparticles.
"I am honored of this nomination. It would have been impossible without the hard work and passion for science of all my students and colleagues, and stable and strong support that has allowed me to continuously focused on this nanoparticle research area for the last 23 years. I am deeply grateful of the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology, SNU, and IBS," says Hyeon. "Nanotechnology was quite a new field when I began to jump in. Many of the unknown in the field intrigued me and brought me this far over the last 20 years. I believe there are still more to discover and to surprise us," adds Hyeon.
After obtaining his Ph.D. in chemistry from U. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1996), Hyeon he joined the faculty of the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering of Seoul National University in 1997. Since then, he has focused on the synthesis and applications of uniform-sized nanoparticles and related nanostructured materials, and published > 400 papers in prominent international journals (> 60,000 citations). Many of Hyeon's papers are highly influential. Especially 7 papers have been cited more than 1000 times, which belong to top 0.025% in chemistry area.
Hyeon is the third IBS director who was put on the Clarivate Analytics's Nobel Prize watch list. RYOO Ryong, Director of the IBS Center for Nanomaterials and Chemical Reactions, and Distinguished Professor at KAIST, was selected in 2014 for his research in the design of functional mesoporous materials. In 2018, Rodney Ruoff, Director of the IBS Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials, and Distinguished Professor at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology placed his name on the list of "Nobel class" scientists for his profound contributions to the study of supercapacitors.