Of importance to the Organic and Biological Electrochemistry Division (OBE) are reactions of organic molecules at electrodes (directly) or with electrogenerated redox species (indirectly); the role of salvation; specific adsorption on electrodes; follow-up reactions of reactive species; further electron transfer events; and isolation and characterization of products. Polarography, cyclic voltammetry, and other electroanalytical methods, taken together with spectroscopic evidence and product characterization, often help describe highly complex mechanisms.
Scientists on the biological side of the Division pursue fundamental and applied studies of active ion transport by biological membranes; interactions of electromagnetic fields with cell metabolism; in vivo electroanalytical probes of electrical and chemical events; and the use of direct electrochemical methods to study electron transfer processes in nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis, and respiration.
New opportunities for organic and biological electrochemistry with broad implications are constantly on the horizon: discovery of novel synthetic routes to molecules; chiral electrosynthesis for safer, more effective drugs; electrochemical modification of fullerenes to produce antiviral and other drugs; synthesis of conductive polymers for batteries and electronic devices; ion-specific polymers for capturing toxic metals from effluents; destruction of organic pollutants; separation, recovery, and recycle of valuable organic compounds from solution; chemically tailored electrode surfaces; electrochemically driven enzymatic syntheses; and fundamental studies of life processes. Supporting all of these efforts is a continuing commitment worldwide by hundreds of dedicated academic and industrial electrochemists fascinated by the myriad of new and unusual organic and biological electrochemical processes coming to light.
The Tanaguchi Foundation must have had access to a crystal ball when, in 1980, they invited Manuel Baizer and four European electro-organic chemists to one of the first Japanese international meetings on the subject. The individuals pictured in the front row consisted of Manuel Baizer with all future Baizer Award winners to date (Left to right: S. Torii, H Shafer, M. Baizer, H. Lund, J. Utley, J. Simonet, T. Shono).