The award winners: Prof. Joachim Deubener (2nd from left), TU Clausthal (Germany), and Prof. Adrian C. Wright (2nd from right), Reading University (England), together with Dr. Hans-Joachim Konz (left), member of the Board of Management of SCHOTT AG and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ernst Abbe Fund, and Board of Trustees member Prof. Reinhard Conradt (right). Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell
Investigating the Blueprint of Glass
This year’s Otto Schott Research Award was presented to Prof. Adrian C. Wright for his life’s work, research on the structure of glass using neutron beams, and Prof. Joachim Deubener for his findings on gas solubility in glass and glass melts.
Otto Schott’s invention of borosilicate glass at the end of the 19th century was probably his most important achievement. Prof. Adrian C. Wright dedicated much of his scientific life to researching the structure of this material of such great importance to both industry and households and became the first British glass researcher ever to be recognized with the Otto Schott Research Award. Prof. Wright taught and conducted research at Reading University in England before he retired in 2007. Among other things, he was previously presented with the George W. Morey Award from the American Ceramic Society in 1996 for his important research work. In addition, the sixth Borate Conference was held in his honor in 2008.
As the American physicist W. H. Zachariasen noted back in 1932, ”It must be frankly admitted that we know practically nothing about the atomic arrangement in glasses.” Chadwick discovered the neutron that same year. At the beginning of the 1970s, Adrian C. Wright at Reading was among the first to use neutrons from nuclear reactors and later on from particle accelerators to analyze the structure of amorphous materials like glass. Here, he coined the term amorphography analogous to crystallography.
X-rays, electrons and neutrons can be used to determine the structure of a material. The de Broglie wavelength of low-energy neutrons lies within the range of the diameter of an atom and thus allows conclusions to be drawn on the structure of the glass on the basis of its diffraction pattern. Neutrons offer an advantage in that they are mainly scattered by the nuclei of atoms and react differently to isotopes (atoms of the same element with different weights). Their high penetration makes it possible to analyze large sample volumes. Furthermore, magnetic properties can be determined on the basis of their magnetic interactions. All this makes neutrons a valuable tool for analyzing the structure of glass.
Prof. Adrian C. Wright investigated the molecular structure of glass. Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell
A molecular dynamic simulation of sodium borosilicate glass.
Source: Prof. A. N. Cormack
Outstanding glass researcher and educatorProfessor Joachim Deubener habilitated at the Technical University of Berlin following two years of postdoctoral studies at the University of Arizona and four years as a tutor at Stanford University in Berlin. He was named an ordinary professor at the Institute of Non-Metallic Materials at the Technical University of Clausthal in 2002. In addition, he was honored with the Professor Vittorio Gottardi Memorial Prize sponsored by the International Commission on Glass for his outstanding achievements in the area of glass research in 2002. He was presented with the Otto Schott Research Award for his research on the transport processes and solubility of gases in glass and glass melts. Here, he analyzed how dissolved water influences the viscosity and glass formation temperature of glass. He also provided important scientific impulses by examining the properties of thin layers on glass and crystallization kinetics in silicate glass.
Prof. Joachim Deubener | Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell
Prof. Joachim Deubener also performed research on the flow behavior of glasses (below a laboratory glass melt). Photo: FRAUNHOFER ISC / K. Dobberke
Prof. Wright and Prof. Deubener received the Otto Schott Research Award worth 25,000 euros during the 11th Conference of the European Society of Glass Science and Technology (ESG) that was held in Maastricht, The Netherlands, in June 2012. This award is presented every other year on an alternating basis with the Carl Zeiss Research Award to recognize outstanding scientific achievements in fundamental research and technology development in the areas of special materials, components and systems for the fields of application optics and electronics, solar energy, health and living. Both research awards are managed by the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany. <|
Research and Technology Development