The member of FunGLASS consortium, Prof. Dr. Lothar Wondraczek of the Friedrich Alexander University of Jena, was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to back up researchers who want to establish their research teams and continue developing a successful career in Europe. The scheme also strengthens independent and excellent new individual research teams that have been recently created.
EU-Research Award for Prof. Lothar Wondraczek
European Research Council supports glass research with two million euros
(State: 02.03.2016 - 10:00 am)
They are among the most valuable research sponsorship awards, which the EU grants, the so-called ERC grants. With such a price, an ERC Consolidator Grant, Prof. Dr. Lothar Wondraczek of the University of Jena has been honored. The chair of glass chemistry II gets approx. two million euros, with which they wants to develop highly functional glass materials in the next five years as part of the research project UTOPES.
"The award of this Grant to Prof. Wondraczek shows that the Friedrich Schiller University has appointed him as an excellent researcher, and there are great expectations for the future," emphasizes Jena University President Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal the importance of this rare distinction. "Winning a ERC grant is certainly an accolade for my group, but especially an unique impetus for the realization of a number of medium and long-term research ideas on the way to entirely new types of non-crystalline materials," says Prof. Wondraczek pleased.
On the way to new material states
"Glasses are among the culturally and historically oldest materials used by human. Material-Chemical and process-technology developments of glasses have repeatedly led to great social changes", Wondraczek mentioned and adds: "without glasses there is no optical telecommunications, no large-sized displays or touch panels, no efficient solar modules, or simply no windows in buildings or vessels to permanent and protected storage of food and medicine." At the same time the science of glasses still provide major problems. Because glass exists in a state of imbalance and the structural disorder whose dynamics and property formation in conventional models can not be detected. This fundamental problem is increasingly the limiting factor in the development of the next generation of highly functional glass materials as would be required, for example, in optical data processing, in ultrathin displays, batteries and hybrid solar modules or in the optical power transmission.
The aim of the new research project "UTOPES" (Unifying Concepts in the Topological Design of Non-Crystalline Materials) is to overcome this limit. "For this, we will develop processes by which material conditions are reached, we can not carry out today. So a number of glass properties are highly dependent on the process conditions, especially from the time the molten glass is cooled. If we monitor a glass over millions of years, so its characteristics would change. For example, it would be more optically transparent. Therefore it is clear, that a whole field of possible property variations is currently not accessible, quite simply because we do not have the necessary time. The aim therefore is, the extremely slow reactions to speed up many times by changing process paths", Wondraczek describes the central idea of his research, an adding: "with the important starting points in the optical physics, as well as in biomedical application scenarios, Jena offers excellent conditions today - 80 years after Otto Schott - to develop new glass materials and process strategies and finally to transform it to industrial applications".
The material scientist Prof. Dr.-Ing Lothar Wondraczek
Lothar Wondraczek is the third scientist of Jena University, who receives such an award of the ERC since the start of European excellence program at 2007. The 37-year-old glass expert is since 2012 professor at the Otto-Schott-Institute for Materials Research at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, having already one of the youngest STEM professors in Germany taught at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2008. He previously worked in the French research department of an American special glass manufacturer. His research field concerns the search for order in disorder glassy materials with potential applications in the fields of energy, optics, architecture and health.
Picture: Prof. Dr. Lothar Wondraczek of the University of Jena was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant.
Photo: Anne Günther/FSU