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Lehigh glass scientist to present annual Samuel R. Scholes Sr. Lecture
3/22/11

Himanshu Jain will deliver this year’s Scholes Lecture in Glass Science at Alfred University. His talk, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. April 28, in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall, is entitled “Glass in Action, Action in Glass.”

The Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University each year invites a prominent glass scientist or engineer to deliver the annual Samuel R. Scholes Sr. Lecture. The lecture recognizes Sam Scholes Sr., who established the first-ever glass science and engineering program in the United States in 1932 at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

The University continues to offer B.S. and M.S degrees in glass science and engineering, and also has the only Ph.D. program in glass science in the U.S.

Jain is the T.L. Diamond Distinguished Chair in Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University. He is also the director of the National Science Foundation’s International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass, and “thrust leader” at Lehigh’s Center for Optical Technologies.

In his talk, Jain will explore the current applications of glass, which depend on its stability, durability, uniformity of properties, ability to form complex structures and low cost. Those attributes make glass the choice for many applications, Jain says.

“By and large, glass provides containment and/or an optical function to the product, where it remains a low-cost, passive component.” The technology is mature, and the profit margin small for such products.

Jain will argue in his talk that the future of glass as a material depends on glass responding actively to external stimuli – electrical, optical, mechanical, chemical or magnetic. – that will lead to “new value-added, multifunctional glasses.” He calls them “glasses in action,” that include sensors, switches, transducers, actuators, rewritable memory devices, and smart energy storage devices.

Understanding what happens in glasses when they respond to external stimuli is critical to developing “active” glasses. In his talk, Jain will talk about two “hallmarks” of glass that enable them to be “active.” One is their thermodynamic metastability, which allows the introduction into the glass of “active atomic/molecular species in large concentration; those added atomic/molecular components are what respond to external stress, thereby introducing desired changes in the glass’ properties and performance. The second “hallmark” is optical transparency, which allows the use of lasers “for inducing controlled transformation of metastable glass to a fully or partially stable active crystalline state in spatially selective regions.” What that allows, Jain explains, is creation of a desired ferroelectric single-crystal architecture with the glass. His talk will focus on the science behind “glass-in-action.”

Jain received a doctoral degree in engineering science from Columbia University in 1979, and was a researcher at Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories.

He is a recipient of the Otto Schott Research international prize, the Zachariasen international award for outstanding contribution to glass research, a Fulbright Fellowship for lecturing and research at Cambridge and Aberdeen universities in the United Kingdom, and a Humboldt Fellowship for research in Germany.

An author of more than 280 publications, Jain is a principal editor of the Journal of Materials Research, and a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society.
His research interests include; functionality in glass; nano-macro porous glass for bone scaffolds; point defects, electrical relaxation, conductivity and dielectric properties of amorphous and crystalline ceramics; light-induced phenomena in glass; glasses for infrared biosensors, photo- and nano-lithography and photonics; tailored transparent ferroelectric nano-composites; and surface conduction.