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J. Michael Ramsey (1997)


Chemical Sciences Division

For significant and fundamental achievements in laser-based chemical measurement techniques, such as single molecule detection in liquids, and pioneering the efforts in the development of microfabricated chemical instrumentation, including the laboratory on a chip concept.

Dr. J. Michael Ramsey received his B.S. in chemistry from Bowling Green State University in 1974 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Indiana University in 1979. After completion of graduate school, he was awarded a Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship at ORNL.

He became a permanent staff member at ORNL in 1981 and is presently leader of the Laser Spectroscopy and Microinstrumentation Group in the Chemical and Analytical Sciences Division at ORNL. His research interests include miniature chemical instrumentation, ultrasensitive laser-based detection techniques, resonant multiphoton ionization, nonlinear spectroscopies, diode laser-based chemical instrumentation, and real-time chemical characterization of aerosol particles.

Dr. Ramsey has been active in the area of single-molecule detection in liquids for a number of years. The microdroplet format for single-molecule detection through laser-induced fluorescence was developed in his laboratory. This approach has led to unprecedented detection capabilities for single fluorophores in liquids. Moreover, the microdroplet format has led to the discovery of cavity quantum electrodynamic effects for molecular transition moments within spherical resonators. These effects result in enhanced fluorescence yields over those observable under free-space conditions and ultimately enhanced detectability.

Dr. Ramsey is best known for his pioneering efforts in demonstrating microfabricated chemical measurement devices, or what has become to be known as "laboratory-on-a-chip" technology. These devices have allowed conventional laboratory measurements to be made with performance enhancements of several orders of magnitude over conventional laboratory-scale experiments. The technology is presently being adapted by a number of research institutions and corporations throughout the world and promises to be a major paradigm shift for chemical and biochemical experimentation.

Dr. Ramsey has published more than 150 papers and presented more than 225 invited and plenary lectures internationally in his areas of interest. He has also won several corporate technical achievement awards for his research activities, including the ORNL "Scientist of the Year" and a Lockheed Martin NOVA Award in 1996.

He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, a member of the editorial advisory board of Electrophoresis, and Biomedical Microdevices, chair of the American Chemical Society's Division of Analytical Chemistry, and chair of the 1999 Gordon Research Conference on Analytical Chemistry. He is a past member of the editorial advisory board of Spectrochimica Acta Reviews and the editorial and instrumentation advisory boards for Analytical Chemistry. Dr. Ramsey has also been a member of a U.S. Department of Energy advisory panel that provides technical counsel affecting national policy on global environmental monitoring issues.

He was appointed a corporate fellow in 1997.

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