Award to Yale chemist comes with access to laser facility

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has awarded Yale chemist Mark Johnson a grant worth more than $75,000. The award also offers access to an advanced infrared light source in Berlin.

Use of the newly constructed, state-of-the-art infrared free electron laser at the Fritz Haber Institute will help Johnson extend his cryogenic spectroscopy technique.

“The new laser in Berlin is designed to cover the critical low-energy region and is dedicated to the type of mass spec work we have been pioneering at Yale,” he said. “We have published several papers with the Fritz Haber group of Gerard Meijer over the years, and the Humboldt will allow us to make our participation easier as the new laser system comes on line this summer or early fall.”

The foundation, based in Berlin, grants its Humboldt Research Award to academics “whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.” The award is for 60,000 Euro, roughly $75,000 at current exchange rates.

“It is a pleasure to see recognition of Mark Johnson, who is a pioneering physical chemist in our department,” said Scott Miller, chair of Yale’s chemistry department. “Mark’s work is incredibly interesting fundamentally, and it also has a remarkable range of interdisciplinary capacity as well.”

Johnson said the award will support several research visits in Germany in the coming years.

“It’s not only a welcome surprise but very timely in support of our ongoing work, especially on solar fuels,” said Johnson, who is the Arthur T. Kemp Professor of Chemistry.