Belfast Telegraph

QUB pioneer of smart inks hailed by Royal Society of Chemistry

Recognition: Prof Andrew Mills
Recognition: Prof Andrew Mills

By David Reed

A Northern Ireland scientist has won a prestigious chemistry prize.

Professor Andrew Mills from Queen's University, Belfast, has been recognised for his pioneering work on smart inks and pigments.

He has helped to develop simple, reversible smart indicator inks and plastic films, which provide valuable information to specialists, industry and the public.

Indicators are important in many areas, including litmus paper, pregnancy test sticks and blood glucose test strips.

Prof Mills' work has been recognised with the Royal Society of Chemistry's Materials for Industry Derek Birchall Award.

To date, indicators have largely been used by specialists.

However, very cheap, simple-to-use indicators are now being developed to provide invaluable information about more important everyday things, with academics saying the "exciting, new and growing area" of technology will benefit many.

As well as winning the award, Prof Mills, who lives in Holywood, Co Down, receives a £2,000 prize.

He said he was "absolutely delighted and incredibly honoured" by the recognition.

"The field of simple, inexpensive indicators is burgeoning and full of opportunities. I look forward to relating my experiences, and encouraging more to join it," the professor said.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said that it was important to recognise the work of scientists.

"Over the years, our lives have been significantly improved by the chemical sciences, from medicines and food to the environment itself," he said.

"We are proud of the contribution the chemical sciences make to our global community, which is why it is right for us to recognise important innovations and expertise such as these."

The Royal Society of Chemistry Awards recognise originality and impact of research, and contributions to the chemical sciences industry or education.

Of those scientists to have won a Royal Society of Chemistry Award, 50 have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work.

They include the 2016 Nobel laureates Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa.

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