Adventures of a Materials Scientist
Speaker:Dr. Tong Bor Tang
Physics Department, Hong Kong Baptist University
Date & Time:13 May 2010 (Thursday) 15:30 - 16:30


An overview is undertaken on my joys and miseries in materials science during the past three decades. I did doctoral research on silver azide, an ionic and explosive substance, then expanded my skills with mass spectrometry and thermal analysis into studying other classes of materials. It was a rather abrupt break when I switched to the photoelectron spectroscopy of organic semiconductors at a synchrotron radiation facility, but this adventure into the world of ultrahigh vacuum later led to an enduring love. In 1985 I returned to Hong Kong and, thanks to a dramatic growth in research funds, chose the newly discovered oxide superconductors and applied my experience with thermal analysis and, later, other techniques. After a decade of excitements with these high-temperature superconductors, I continued with thermoanalytical experiments on fullerene and then its polymers. At the same time, a synergy with my experience in surface science developed into an interest of C60 on metals examined with scanning probe microscopy. Last, but absolutely not least, is the application of dielectric impedance spectroscopy, once used by me to study silver azide, to probe the defects structures of scintillating crystals, now extended into scintillating transparent ceramics. To conclude, I shall mention a few other fun items under the broader scope of science.