Doctors Philosophiae Honoris Causa

Leonas Valkūnas
(A Brief Biographical Sketch)

Leonas Valkūnas
Address: Department of Theoretical Physics, Faculty of Physics, Vilnius University and Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Vilnius, Lithuania
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Leonas Valkūnas Leonas Valkūnas was born in 1949, Vilnius, Lithuania. He studied theoretical physics in Vilnius university (1967-1969) and in Kiev university (1969-1972).

His thesis (candidate of physics and mathematics) was completed in 1976 under supervision of prof. J. Visciakas and prof. V. Sugakov and his second thesis (habilitation or doctor of sciences) was defended in 1986. His research activities were carried out in the Institute of Physics in Vilnius, where he was employed as the senior researcher, leading researcher, director of the institute (1992-2002) and also in Vilnius University.

In 1993 he became a professor of Vilnius university and since 2002 he maintains the chair of the Department of Theoretical Physics at Vilnius University. At the same time he is the heard of the Department of the Molecular Compound Physics at the Institute of Physics and after the reorganization of the scientific research institutions in 2010, the Center for Physical Sciences and Technology was established. Since then he is the heard of the same department and also the Deputy Director of the Center for Physical Sciences and Technology.

  His scientific activities:

  • excitation energy transfer and charge generation in natural and artificial molecular systems and semiconducting materials;
  • theory of proton and ion transfer in proteins;
  • spectroscopy of molecular structures and biological macromolecules;
  • theoretical basis of nonlinear spectroscopy;
  • disordered systems.

His results obtained by considering the light-harvesting processes in natural and artificial systems and the ultrafast processes taking place in carbon nanotubes and polymers are widely recognized by the scientific community. As the confirmation of this statement is the book “Photosynthetic Excitons” co-authored by him together with Dutch scientists (H. van Amerongen and R. van Grondelle), published by World Scientific Co., Singapore in 2000. This book is widely cited by the researchers from the “photosynthetic” community. He is also the co-author of another book, which appeared just recently: L. Valkunas, D. Abramavicius, T. Mancal. Molecular Excitation Dynamics and Relaxation. Quantum Theory and Spectroscopy. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2013.

He was also spending some time in various scientific centers as the researcher or as the invited lecturer: New York University, Arizona State University, University of Calfornia in Berkeley and Irvine, Lund University, Free Univeristy of Amsterdam, Queen Mary University in London, Hefei Technological University in China, Nanyang Techological University in Singapore, Toronto University, Riken in Tokyo. He was invited to give series of lectures at Toronto University within the program of Distinguished scientists.

L. Valkunas was elected to the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in 2001. He was awarded by the National Prize of Lithuania in 2002, the prize of Adolfas Jucys of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in 2010. He attended multiple international conferences as the invited speaker.

He is also the organizer and co-organizer of multiple international conferences, he is the gest editor of special issues J. Phys. Chem., Chem. Phys., Lith. J. Phys., member of the editorial board of the Lith. J. Phys., vice president of the Lithuanian Physical Society. He is the author of about 300 scientific publications, which have good citations (cited more than 2000 times, h-index=24).

The most cited publications:

  1. Holt, N., Zigmantas, D., Valkunas, L., Li, X.-P., Niyogi, K., Fleming, G. R. Carotenoid cation formation and the regulation of photosynthetic light harvesting. Science 307, 433-436, 2005. Cited – 369 times.
  2. Ma, Y.-Z., Valkunas, L., Dexheimer, S. L., Bachilo, S. M., Fleming, G. R. Femtosecond spectroscopy of optical excitations in single-walled carbon nanotubes: evidence for exciton-exciton annihilation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 157402, 2005. Cited – 160 times.
  3. Barzda, V., Gulbinas, V., Kananavicius, R., Cervinskas, V., van Amerongen, H. van Grondelle, R., Valkunas, L. Singlet-singlet annihilation kinetics in aggregates and trimers of LHCII. Biophys. J., 80, 2409-2421, 2001. Cited – 85 times.
  4. Gulbinas, V., Chachisvilis, M., Valkunas, L., and Sundstrom, V. Excited state dynamics of phthalocyanine films. J. Phys. Chem. 100:2213-2219, 1996. Cited – 81 times.
  5. Ma, Y.-Z., Valkunas, L., Bachilo, S. M., Fleming, G. R. Exciton binding energy in semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes. J. Phys. Chem. B 109: 15671-15674, 2005. Cited – 75 times.
  6. Trinkunas, G., Connelly, J.P., Muller, M.G., Valkunas, L. and Holzwarth, A.R. Model for the excitation dynamics in the light-harvesting complex II from higher plants. J. Phys. Chem. B, 101:7313-7320, 1997. Cited – 57 times.
  7. Tamulaitis, G., Gulbinas, V., Kodis, G., Dementjev, A., Valkunas, L., Motchalov, I., Raaben, H. Optical nonlinearities of glass doped with PbS nanocrystals. J. Appl. Phys., 88(1):178-182, 2000. Cited – 52 times.
  8. Valkunas, L., Ma, Y.-Z., Fleming, G. R. Exciton-exciton annihilation in single-walled carbon nanotubes. Phys. Rev. B. 73: 115432, 2006. Cited – 51 times.
  9. Somsen, O.J.G., van Mourik, F., van Grondelle, R., and Valkunas, L. Energy migration and trapping in a spectrally and spatially inhomogeneous light-harvesting antenna. Biophys. J. 66:1580-1596, 1994. Cited – 51 times.
  10. Valkunas, L., Trinkunas, G., Liuolia, V., and van Grondelle, R. Nonlinear annihilation of excitations in photosynthetic systems. Biophys. J. 69(3):1117-1129, 1995. Cited – 47 times.

H. van Amerongen, L. Valkunas, R. van Grondelle. Photosynthetic Excitons, World Scientific Co., Singapore, 2000. Cited – 666 times.