The selection committee and the Israel Analytical Chemistry Society are delighted to announce that Ms. Ravell Bengiat (M.Sc) from the Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the year 2017 recipient of the Jehuda Yinon Award for an outstanding research in Analytical Chemistry. The award was given for her research on selective recognition and precipitation of cesium ions from aqueous solutions. Ms. Bengiat is serving now as an officer in the Fingerprint Developing Laboratory of the Division of Identification and Forensic Science (DIFS) of the Israel National Police.  

The Jehuda Yinon award was endowed by the family of Professor Jehuda Yinon, an analytical chemistry pioneer and world leader in forensic science. The Yinon award is given annually by the Israel Analytical Chemistry Society to outstanding young scientist for research in analytical chemistry.

Radioactive 137Cs isotope can be found among the by-products of nuclear fission. The relatively long half-life (T1/2 = 30.2 years) along with the decay of other short-lived radionuclides result in its accumulative fraction within radiochemical wastes. Over the last three decades, following the 1986 Chernobyl and the more recent 2011 Fukushima nuclear disasters, much research has been devoted to finding a solution for the selective 137Cs-removal from waste and contaminated water. The standard methods for the task include precipitation, ion-exchange and extraction, using a range of precipitating and extracting agents. However, as most cesium salts share a high solubility in water, the common precipitation techniques are often ineffective. Consequently, many studies have focused on ion-exchange procedures based on two main matrices: the first are natural or synthetic zeolites, while the second uses transition metal ferrocyanides (Co, Ni, Cu, Zn). Yet again, also these methods are far from ideal. Despite the zeolites’ low-costs and high capacities, they show low-selectivity towards Cs+ ions, while the ferrocyanides are highly selective, but cannot be utilized in ion-exchange columns
Another approach involves the development of extracting agents with high affinity to Cs+ ions. The chemical principle of such reagents rests in their supramolecular features, harnessed for achieving a greater selectivity towards the target ions. Among these compounds are the well-known monotopic ligands such as: crown ethers, calixarenes and cryptands, as well as a combination of the above to form ditopic receptors for specific ion-pair recognition. However, their sophisticated structures, which require multi-stage syntheses with low yields and high costs, contribute to the impracticality of such ligands in industry.
In this research, a novel family of supramolecular ligands has been synthesized involving polycarbonyl compounds, such as Ninhydrin. Ninhydrin, a widely used reagent in forensic science for the visualization of latent fingerprints and in biochemical research of amino acids, had revealed a unique ability in forming 3-dimensional vase-shaped compounds, which were thus named vasarenes, in a facile one-pot reaction with polyhydroxy-aromatics. An intriguing characteristic of these structures was their selective affinity, binding and precipitation of ion-pairs of type M+F-, where M being a large monovalent cation, such as Cs+ ions.

Once establishing the selectivity of this complexation reaction, an optimization work had been carried out to examine the efficiency of the precipitation process. The optimum conditions of pH, temperature, and concentration for the reaction were studied, leading to a promising potential of over 84% of Cs+ being removed. A further analysis showed a high stability of this ligand and its Cs-complex under irradiation conditions, that would inevitably be inflicted by the presence of radioactive 137Cs+.  

The ease of preparation of our ligands from accessible, inexpensive starting materials in a rapid and straight forward one-pot synthesis, as well as the specific affinity towards Cs+ ions, indicates their applicability as a sustainable salts-separation tool for practical applications.

The award will be officially presented to Ms. Ravell Bengiat on January 24th, 2017 during Isranalytica 2017, the official conference of the Israel Analytical Chemistry Society.

Signed by members of the selection committee:

Dr. Elazar (Azi) Zadok (Chairman)

Adv. Moshe Yinon (Family representative)
Dr. Shmuel Zitrin

Dr. Talya Arusi-Parpar   


ד"ר יהודה ינון ז"ל עבד ככימאי במכון ויצמן למדע והקדיש את רב זמנו למחקר בתחומי הכימיה האנליטית והמדע הפורנסי. עבודותיו בתחום האנליזה של חומרי נפץ הקנו לו שם של חוקר מוביל ופורץ דרך בקהילה המדעית בעולם.

לזכרו של ד"ר ינון, משפחתו מבקשת לתמוך בחוקרים צעירים מישראל על ידי הענקת פרס כספי לחוקר או קבוצת חוקרים עבור מחקר מצטיין בתחום הכימיה האנליטית.

חוקר המבקש להגיש מועמדות לקבלת הפרס, יעביר:

  • סיכום קצר של המחקר שנערך על ידו (עד שלושה עמודים), ויצרף מאמר או כל מסמך אחר רלבנטי
  • קורות חיים
  • פרטי הגוף שבמסגרתו בוצע המחקר, ושם המנחה או המדריך, אם יש כאלה

יובאו בחשבון עבודות שנערכו עד כשנתיים לפני מתן הפרס.
ועדה המורכבת ממדענים בעלי שם בתחום הכימיה האנליטית, הכימיה הפיסיקלית של חומרי נפץ ומנציג המשפחה, תבחר מבין המועמדים את הזוכה בפרס, תוך התייחסות לשיקולים הבאים:
1.     חשיבותו של המחקר ותרומתו לחברה
2.     חדשנות ומקוריות המחקר
3.     ההישג המדעי
הפרס לזוכה יוענק בכנס השנתי של האגודה הישראלית לכימיה אנליטית,ישראנליטיקה 2017 שייערך ב-24-25 בינואר 2017, במלון דויד אינטרקונטיננטל, תל אביב.
הגשת מועמדות לפרס, בצירוף המסמכים הנדרשים, יש לשלוח לכתובת דוא"ל עד ליום 25 בדצמבר 2016.

ד"ר אלעזר (עזי) צדוק
יו"ר ועדת הפרס

חברי הועדה:
ד"ר אלעזר (עזי) צדוק, ד"ר שמואל ציטרין, ד"ר טליה ערוסי – פרפר, עו"ד משה ינון (נציג המשפחה)

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