35 Years and 35 Voices from Chemistry of Materials. Valentin Chebanov: ".... Support from the civilized world gives me faith in victory and the opportunity to return to normal life and scientific work."

       As Chemistry of Materials celebrates its 35th year, the journal team thought it would be an excellent opportunity to hear from the community and gain inspiration from researchers all over the world, collecting narratives that arise from different backgrounds and different experiences─these narratives will be published in our journal as Editorials as part of a series we will call "35 Voices". As Editor-in-Chief, I have been enjoying these responses as we aim to compile a collection of (at least) 35 voices. The first interviews bring forward a diversity of research areas and intersect with broad social issues. If you are interested in participating in this series or in hearing from a specific person in 2023, please contact me at sskrabalak@cm.acs.org for more information. We are especially interested in adding early career and student voices to the collection.
The journal team looks forward to sharing more of these narratives throughout our 35th year!

35 Years and 35 Voices from Chemistry of Materials
Sara E. Skrabalak
Chem. Mater. 2023, 35, 2213−2218


            Chemistry of Materials also was very fortunate to speak with Valentyn Chebanov (VC) (Figure 2), who is the First Deputy General Director of the State Scientific Institution "Institute for Single Crystals" for the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine as well as the Director of the Division of Chemistry of Functional Materials at this institution. He is also head of the Department of Applied Chemistry at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University of Ukraine, where he had completed his Ph.D. thesis in 2000. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Graz (Austria) in the group of Prof. Gert Kollenz. He defended a Doctor of Sciences thesis (habilitation) in organic chemistry in 2010 and became a full Professor in 2012.


He provides his responses while Russia continues its war against Ukraine, highlighting the resiliency of Ukrainian people and science. Like Stucky, Chebanov brings attention to system-level concerns in agrochemistry and sustainable management of resources, and how addressing these concerns is important to the future of Ukraine.

  • CM: What is your research specialty and what inspired you to study and/or conduct research in this area?
  • VC: My research interests include a wide range of modern problems in organic and heterocyclic chemistry. The main research areas are diversity-oriented synthesis, the study of multicomponent reactions, the development of methods to control their direction and selective switching between multiple directions using traditional and nonclassical activation methods (microwave and ultrasonic radiation), the search for patterns and mechanisms of chemical reactions, and the creation and study of new functional materials. For example, we [the research group] have developed the condition-based divergence strategy for chemo-controlled multicomponent reactions and the concept of multicomponent-switched reactions. Using the first one, we can control the direction of multicomponent reactions by simple tuning of the reaction parameters, which allows to intentionally switch them between several directions.

In the field of functional materials, our main efforts are focused on the development of inorganic and hybrid organic–inorganic extractants and sorbent materials for the selective extraction of heavy metals and radionuclides. Today, we are also intensively involved in the [development of] complex agrochemicals based on supramolecular assembles for the preservation of fruits or control of fruit ripening, plant treatment agents, and many other applications. Another important area is the development of substances and materials for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. Until recently the research of new photo- and radio-sensitive organic compounds for the further development of visual indicators of radioactivity was among our areas of interest.

The main inspiration for us is the development of important things for the future of Ukraine. For example, our sorbent materials for the extraction of radionuclides are very important to overcome the consequences of the Chornobyl accident and to increase the safety of nuclear energy. Ukraine is also known for its agriculture products and fruit growing and this drives our research in the field of agrochemistry. In addition, we always try to use innovative approaches such as supramolecular chemistry, microwave and ultrasonic synthesis, and flow chemistry.

  • CM: What do you see as a grand challenge in the field of materials and what would help the community address this challenge?
  • VC: The development of smart and adaptive functional materials that can change their properties depending on the environmental conditions remains one of the main challenges for research and development in general and, in particular, in the field of materials. There is also a need for further intensive research in nanotechnology and especially in the field of energy storage.

On the other hand, the newly developed innovative materials with beneficial properties have sufficiently larger raw material consumption value. This includes the constantly increasing number of reagents involved in the research, including gases, so it is likely the research will produce much more waste compared to 40–50 years ago. This trend conflicts with ecology initiatives for energy efficiency and natural resource savings around the globe, thus demanding researchers to search for more environmentally friendly approaches to do their study and, obviously, that is how Green Chemistry was born and Computational Chemistry with various data analytic techniques has arisen.

Nowadays, one demands that the new materials should be sustainable and environmentally friendly, with improved performance and durability, while reducing waste and resource consumption during their production.

To meet the modern sustainability agenda the materials community would definitely benefit from increased interdisciplinary collaboration among materials scientists, engineers, and researchers from other fields of science such as Biology, Physics, and Chemistry, especially Green Chemistry. However, this approach requires significant investment in the areas of computational modeling and big data analysis to improve our understanding of how to focus our efforts on the development of novel materials with the target properties without being sunk in the excessive experimental work.

  • CM: What words of inspiration do you have to share with the readers of Chemistry of Materials?
  • VC: Despite the war of Russia against Ukraine with its constant bombardment and shelling of our cities, including schools, universities and R&D institutes, despite the destruction and death, science in Ukraine continues to be active and many chemists are still working in their laboratories in Ukraine. We are currently working under extremely difficult conditions, being often without access to grants and other necessary funding and unable to purchase the reagents and materials we need or to repair equipment damaged by war. But the support we receive from the civilized world, both collectively and personally, is very important for all of us to believe in victory and return to normal life and scientific work. We continue to work and will not give up.

     Fool version: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chemmater.3c00344

      Reference: Chemistry of Materials, abbreviated as Chem. Mat. is a scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society. The journal was founded in 1989. It is currently published biweekly and publishes articles in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. It belongs to the 1st quartile and has an IF of 10.5
Editor-in-Chief: Sarah E. Skrabalak (Indiana University, USA)