MSE Colloquium - Prof. Himanshu Jain
Date: April 12, 2013 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT
Location: Room 214, S. W. Mudd
Contact: For further information regarding this event, please contact Wesley Hattan by sending email to or by calling 2128547860.
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Glass in Action, Action in Glass

Himanshu Jain

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18017, USA


A great majority of applications of glass is based on its stability, durability, uniformity of properties, ability to form complex structures, and low cost. These attributes have led to numerous products, where glass is superior, even a requirement, to accomplish the desired performance. By and large, glass provides containment and/or an optical function to the product, where it remains a low-cost, passive component. Such products have matured technologically and are often not very profitable. Then the long-term success of glass demands a change in paradigm: glass will no longer be passive to its environment, but respond actively to external electrical, optical, mechanical, chemical, or magnetic field. Consequently, there is increasing interest in developing new value added, multifunctional glasses, which we will examine with recent examples of 'glass-in-action' such as in sensors, switches, transducers, actuators, rewritable memories, smart energy storage, etc.

For the development of glass that responds actively, and hopefully profitably, it is important to understand at a fundamental level the action in glass when subjected to external forces. In this regard, we recognize two key hallmarks of glass: thermodynamic metastability and optical transparency. The former allows the introduction of active atomic/molecular 'defects' in large concentration, which may be modified by external stress, thus introducing desired changes in properties and novel functionality. The latter 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. Thus it is possible to create desired ferroelectric 3D single crystal architecture within the glass as seen in the picture. The science behind such actions will be presented in connection with the applications of glass-in-action.

Himanshu Jain is the T.L. Diamond Distinguished Chair in Engineering and Applied Science, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Director of NSF's International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass at Lehigh University. After receiving an Eng.Sc.D. from Columbia University in 1979 under the guidance of Art Nowick, he conducted research at Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories before joining Lehigh in 1985. His current research interests include: functionality in glass through fundamentals; light-induced phenomena in glass; nano-macro porous glass for bone-scaffolds; conductivity and dielectric properties of amorphous and crystalline ceramics; glasses for IR biosensors, photo- and nano-lithography, and photonics; active single-crystal architecture in glass; and metal-glass nano-composites. He is a recipient of the Otto Schott Research international prize, Zachariasen international award for outstanding contribution to glass research, Alfred University's Scholes Lecture award, Lehigh University's Libsch research award, Fulbright Fellowship for lecturing and research at Cambridge and Aberdeen universities in UK, and a Humboldt Fellowship for research in Germany.