2017 American Microchemical Society Benedetti Pichler Award
Somenath Mitra is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science and the Exec. Director Otto York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur, India), MS in Environmental Engineering and PHD in Analytical Chemistry from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL in 1988. He was a National Research Council Fellow at US EPA, Research Triangle Park from 1988 to 1991 before joining NJIT.
He did his doctoral work under late Dr. John B. Phillips and developed a high capacity thermal desorption modulator that led to the development of the Comprehensive 2 D Gas Chromatography. His current research focuses on separation techniques, membrane separations, sample preparation and nanotechnology applications in water and energy. His group has developed a wide range of online air and water monitoring techniques based on micro trapping devices and membranes. He also developed chemical vapor deposition techniques for the fabrication of GC columns based on self-assembly of carbon nanotubes. He pioneered the use of microwave induced reactions for the functionalization of carbon nanotubes and since then has used functionalized nano carbons in diverse applications that have ranged from organic solar cells, flexible batteries and synthesizing membranes for sea water desalination. His work has received significant media coverage, and has been funded by NIH, DOE, US Army, US EPA, Electric Power Research Institute and NSF.
He is the coauthor of a textbook on Environmental Chemical Analysis (CRC Press) and editor of the text Sample Preparation Techniques in Analytical Chemistry (John Wiley). His university honored him with the Board of Overseer’s Research Medal in 2014. He is the two time winner of Thomas Elva Edison Patent Award from the State of New Jersey (2009, 2014), Innovator Award from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (2014), and was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2016).