AES Semigas


2 March 2021

Gelest’s founder & CEO elected to US NAE

Dr Barry Arkles – chair, founder & CEO of Gelest Inc of Morrisville, PA, USA (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp that manufactures silicones, organosilanes, metal-organics and specialty monomers) – has been elected to membership of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in recognition of his “contributions to organosilicon materials and organometallic and biochemical reagents.”

Arkles is said to have contributed scientific advances and inventions with positive impacts extending beyond the professional community to the global public. His record of innovation and accomplishments in applied materials science, surface chemistry and biotechnology is demonstrated by his contributions to medical devices (such as contact lenses) and semiconductor fabrication, particularly ILD (interlayer dielectrics) and interconnect metallization.

NAE membership recognizes outstanding individuals who have contributed to “engineering research, practice, or education, including … significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education”.

“Arkles’s election to NAE membership recognizes the value of the characteristic hybrid chemicals technology he and Gelest have cultivated,” comments Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC) president & CEO Masayuki Waga.

“Gelest’s technology, led by Dr Arkles, combines organic and inorganic chemistry and has great potential as an approach to various problems that could not be solved by organic or inorganic chemistry alone,” says Waga, who expects to grow Gelest’s technology by combining it with MCC’s specialty technology related to organic chemistry.

“Barry Arkles is a very rare combination of technical excellence, entrepreneurial acumen and research management expertise which was evident early in his career and has continued to date,” comments NAE member Dr Robert D. Miller, IBM emeritus at IBM Almaden Research Center and adjunct professor of material science & engineering at Stanford University.

“Companies either founded or co-founded by Arkles currently generate nearly $1bn in revenue,” says Miller. “In each of his ventures, he has remained the technical face of the business, with more than 150 technical publications and more than 75 US patents. The marriage of broad technical expertise and business impact is refreshing and is uncommon in today’s world of specialization,” he adds.

“Election to Academy membership validates my life’s work and the collective mission of Gelest and now MCC scientists to customize materials solutions that benefit society at large,” says Arkles.

Arkles formed Gelest Inc in 1991 to develop and manufacture silicon and metal-organic based chemicals and polymers for applications in microelectronics, optoelectronics, diagnostics (including DNA array devices), medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Prior to launching Gelest, he was VP, corporate development at Hüls America/Evonik. Arkles came to Hüls via its acquisition of Petrarch Systems, which he founded to develop advanced silicon and silicone products for medical devices. Early in his career at LNP Engineering Plastics (now part of SABIC) he was manager of advanced development of thermoplastic composites, a materials technology introduced into many consumer items, including cameras and photographic equipment, tool and appliance housings, and sports equipment.

Arkles is a recipient of the American Chemical Society 2020 Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry and a fellow of the British Royal Society of Chemistry. He holds a B.S. in chemistry and Ph.D. in biochemistry at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Arkles is one of 106 newly elected NAE members and 23 international members. The recent election brings the total US membership to 2355 and international membership to 298.

Tags: metal-organic