Two-dimensional (2D) correlation spectroscopy is a versatile spectral data analysis technique which has gained wide popularity over the last 25 years in both academic and industrial laboratories. It is used in many different fields, including inorganic and organic chemistry, life science and medicine, as well as polymer and materials science applications. In 2D correlation spectroscopy, spectral maps defined by two independent variables, e.g., IR wavenumbers, are generated by applying a complex cross correlation analysis to the variations in spectral intensities induced by an external perturbation, such as temperature, pressure, concentration, or electromagnetic field. Notable features of 2D correlation spectra are: simplification of complex spectra consisting of many overlapped peaks, enhancement of spectral resolution by spreading peaks over the second dimension, and establishment of unambiguous assignment through correlation of bands selectively coupled by various interaction mechanisms. Some of the interesting applications of 2D correlation spectroscopy will be briefly presented to show its utility. 2D correlation spectroscopy has played a key role in the materials development effort in my laboratory, especially in the molecular design and characterization of a novel class of bio-based and fully biodegradable plastics, which is now commercialized by MHG, Inc. in Bainbridge, GA under the trade name of Nodax™. MHG’s Nodax™ belongs to a very interesting class of aliphatic polyesters called poly(hydroxyalkanoates) or PHAs, which are found as intracellular inclusion bodies in various microorganisms. Certain microbes accumulate PHAs as energy storing medium, and many types of PHAs have been known. Because they are made by bacteria, PHAs are fully biodegradable under the right conditions. However, most PHAs known in the past unfortunately had serious shortcomings in their physical properties to be a useful material. 2D correlation spectroscopy provided critical insight into a way to modify the molecular structure of PHA to make this class of biomaterials much more useful and inexpensive to become a viable replacement for conventional petroleum-based plastics. My talk will cover the earlier development of this exciting new bioplastic and subsequent fundamental scientific research carried out for PHAs by using 2D correlation spectroscopy.
Isao Noda was born in Tokyo, Japan. He came to the United States in 1969 and was graduated from Columbia University in the City of New York in 1974 with B.S. degree in chemical engineering. He also received his M.S. in bioengineering (1976), as well as M.Phil. (1978) and Ph.D. (1979) in chemical engineering from Columbia. In 1997 he received D.Sc. degree in chemistry from the University of Tokyo. After retiring from the Procter and Gamble Company in 2012, he became an Affiliated Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of University of Delaware. He also holds a position of Chief Science Officer and Senior Vice President of Innovation at MHG, Inc. in Bainbridge, Georgia. He has recently been appointed to the position of Honorary Guest Professor of the Department of Chemistry at Peking University in China. His research interest is in the broad area of polymer science and spectroscopy. He is well known for the invention of a novel class of bio-based and fully biodegradable plastics based on medium-chain-length branched poly(hydroxyalkanoate) copolymers (mcl-PHAs) now commercialized under the tradename of Nodax™ by MHG and also the development of a versatile analytical technique called two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) correlation spectroscopy. He is a recipient of the 1991 William F. Meggers Award from the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the 2002 Williams-Wright Award from the Coblentz Society. He was selected as the 2005 Chemist of the Year by the Cincinnati Section of the American Chemical Society. He received the International Academic Cooperation and Exchange Medal in 2008 from the Chinese Chemical Society and Chinese Optical Society, the New York State Society for Applied Spectroscopy’s Gold Medal in 2009, the 2011 Bomem-Mechelson Award from the Coblentz Society, and the 2011 Ellis R. Lippincott Award jointly from the Optical Society of America, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Coblentz Society. He became a Fellow in 2011 and Honorary Member in 2013 of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2012. He has about ninety (90) patents granted in the US and the EU, published over three hundred (350) articles in peer-reviewed journals, and coauthored three (3) books.