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Martin Pope

 Martin Pope (b. August 22, 1918) is a physical chemist and professor emeritus at New York University.

His discoveries of ohmic contacts and research in the fields of organic insulators and semiconductors led to techniques enabling organic semiconductors to carry relatively large currents, and to convert electricity into light and vice versa. These discoveries have had application in electrophotography, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), photovoltaic cells, biological sensors, transistors, molecular electronics and batteries.

For his work, Dr. Pope was awarded the Davy Medal from the Royal Society in 2006. Past winners of the medal include Marie and Pierre Curie and Linus Pauling.


Scientific Research and Discoveries

  • Dark charge injecting (ohmic) contacts -- the basis of operation of essentially every organic semiconductor.
  • Sensitized photoinjection -- demonstrated that the processes of carrier generation and carrier transport could be separated and is used in modern electrophotography and molecularly doped polymers. It is also the basis of Dye-Sensitized Excitonic Solar Cells.
  • Photovoltaic effect using identical electrodes -- discovery of the exciton-induced photovoltaic effect makes possible high photovoltages.
  • In Electrochemistry -- discovery of dark charge injection using electrolyte electrodes created a new field of electrochemistry, based on organic electrodes. This has made biosensors possible.
  • Electroluminescence in organic semiconductors -- opened a field of semiconductors that has led to the development of the modern organic light-emitting diodes (OLED).
  • Autoionization -- This discovery and that of the closely related charge transfer process, is the presently accepted mechanism for intrinsic photocarrier generation.
  • Initial (geminate) recombination -- provided the presently accepted explanation for the small photoionization efficiency in low dielectric constant organic molecular semiconductors. (Discovered concurrently by Kepler and Coppage).
  • Two-quantum external photoelectric effect in organic crystals
  • Exciton charge transfer, fission and caging
  • Photophoretic spectroscopy
  • Thin films -- patents for the development of low temperature coefficient resistive and capacitive film, electrically conducting thin film polymeric hygrometer and thin film hermetically sealed resistors.

Publications, Awards and Honors

  • Over 100 scientific papers.
  • with Charles E. Swenberg: Electronic Processes in Organic Crystals (1982; Oxford University Press)
  • Originated the conference: "Electronic Processes in Organic Materials", Gordon Research Conferences.
  • International conference: "Electronic Processes in the Organic Condensed Phase: a Symposium in Honor of Professor Martin Pope", held at NYU in 1988.
  • with Charles E. Swenberg: Electronic Processes in Organic Crystals and Polymers (1992; Oxford University Press)
  • Townsend Harris Medal, 1996
  • International conference: "Symposium on Electronic Processes in Organic Condensed Matter in Honor of the Eightieth Birthday of Professor Martin Pope", held at Rochester University, 1998.
  • Royal Society of UK 2006 Davy Medal, awarded for "his pioneering work in the field of molecular semiconductors".


Martin Pope was born in 1918, the second of four sons, in a tenement on the Lower East Side of New York City. Both his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Poland to escape the waves of anti-Semitic pogroms sweeping Europe at the beginning of the 20th Century. As a child, Pope conducted scientific experiments at home, many of which filled the building with stench and one of which almost burned it down.

While at CCNY, he assisted in nuclear experiments at Columbia University and met Fermi, Schwinger, Dunning and other key figures in the development of nuclear fission. After graduation, he served as a 1st the Army Air Force in the Pacific during World War II. He received his Ph.D. in 1950 from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. In 1947 and in the early 1950s, he worked for Balco Research Laboratories, where he received two patents for thin film inventions. He joined New York University (NYU) in 1956, and retired as the Director of its Radiation and Solid State Physics Lab in 1988.

In 1946, Martin Pope married Lillie Pope, an educational psychologist, author and pioneer in developing practical techniques for the education of persons with learning disabilities. They have two daughters.

Martin Pope is still active in research and has published papers in 2003 and 2004.


  • 1939 -- B.S. in Physical Chemistry, CCNY.
  • 1942 -- Scientist, Radiation Laboratory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • 1945 -- First Lieutenant, U.S. Armed Forces, Pacific theater, World War II.
  • 1947 -- Research Scientist, Balco Research Laboratory
  • 1950 -- Ph.D., Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute
  • 1951-56 -- Technical Director, Balco Research Laboratory
  • 1956-1988 -- New York University, Department of Chemistry: Senior Research Scientist to Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Radiation and Solid State Physics Lab.
  • 1978 -- Scientific guest of state and visiting professor, China
  • 1981 -- Scientific guest of state and visiting professor, Soviet Union
  • 1981 -- Visiting professor, University of Alexandria, Egypt
  • 1980s -- Guest lecturer in Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Riga, Israel, Gdansk, Krakow, Puerto Rico, Japan, Czechoslovakia and Germany.
  • 1988 - present -- Professor Emeritus, Physical Chemistry, New York University.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Martin_Pope". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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