Extending the Applicability of the Glassy State of Matter

15 April 2019


(Left) Prof. Jacob Huang, Executive Director of HKIAS and Chair Professor of Department of Materials Science and Engineering, presented a souvenir to (right) Prof. A. Lindsay Greer.

Professor A. Lindsay Greer, a renowned physical scientist, presented a distinguished lecture titled “Extending the Applicability of the Glassy State of Matter” for the Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study (HKIAS) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 11 April 2019.

The nature of glass and glass transition is the most interesting unsolved problem in solid state theory. In this lecture, Professor A. Lindsay Greer, Head of the School of the Physical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK, focused on the recent research on the extending application of non-conventional metallic, carbohydrate and chalcogenides glasses.

Professor Greer analyzed the properties across different chemistries of three glasses. First, he explained the mechanical properties of metallic glasses are exceptionally high strength, elastic strain and elastic energy-storage capacity. Besides, he discussed the formation of carbohydrate glasses and found that they have significant implications for pharmaceutics and medicine. Professor Greer also shared his latest research finding on crystallization kinetics in chalcogenide glasses. He said that chalcogenide alloys can switch fast between glassy and crystalline states. He pointed out that ultra-short switching times are directly relevant to computer memory performance. He believed the chalcogenide glasses can be used in the application of data storage and neuromorphic computing.

Professor Greer explained in detail how materials change their structures. He concluded that understanding the mechanisms of these glasses transformations is relevant not only for assessing the stability of materials, but also for developing new microstructures, properties and functionalities.

Professor Greer’s research is focused on metallic glasses and crystal nucleation, grain refinement in casting, and chalcogenide thin films for phase-change data storage. Professor Greer has been awarded the Light Metals and Cast Shop Technology Awards of TMS (USA) and he is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

The lecture was well-attended by students and professors at CityU. (8th from left) Prof. Jacob Huang, (9th from left) Prof. A. Lindsay Greer, (10th from left) Prof. Xunli Wang, Chair Professor of Physics and Head of the Department of Physics at CityU, (9th from right) Prof. Sir John Ball, Senior Fellow of HKIAS, (8th from right) Prof. Jian Lu, Vice-President (Research and Technology) at CityU, (7th from right) Professor Liu Chain-Tsuan, Senior Fellow of HKIAS and (6th from right) Prof. Tai-Gang (TG) Nieh, Visiting Fellow of HKIAS.


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