Wired: How did understanding the carbon molecule lead to connecting organic materials and electronics?
Inokuchi: Sixty years ago when I started studying carbon, there was very little data and few applications. What was known at the time was the structure of the molecule. You can get all the way down to just a few molecules of carbon and you find electrons that move freely.
The range for the carbon molecule is from graphite to benzene. These materials have several shared properties, and my belief that they must share more properties and with other materials made me look at properties of materials within the family of this material. This is a chemist’s thinking.
I did not start studying for electrical materials. I started out thinking about the properties of a material and knowing that it conducted heat and began looking for materials in the family that also conducted heat and electricity.