Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie & Freie Universität Berlin
Accelerators: from Materials Science to Cultural Heritage Studies
Argonne Physics Division Seminar - 28 Oct 2009

Glass is one of the oldest manmade material. Especially colored glass is a fascinating object serving many different purposes, mostly associated with special optical characteristics. In this seminar I want to present a special point not yet so well established namely the modification of glass by swift heavy ions.

Glasses are made out of a mixture of various oxides, mostly SiO2, Na2O, K2O, CaO and others. It is well-known that by mixing in metal oxides which can easily be reduced like the oxides of noble metals (Cu and Ag), one can form metallic nanosized clusters. These clusters may give rise to different colors depending on size and shape due to the excitation of surface plasmons. With the energy input by swift heavy ions in ion irradiation, we have found such nanoclusters being formed and arranged chain-like along the direction of the ions within the glass as will be illustrated.

Similarly, such metallic nanoclusters are responsible for lustre effects in ceramics as already fabricated many centuries ago. Therefore ceramics are objects largely studied within the context of our cultural heritage. This connection will be used as a link to illustrate the application of accelerators in non-destructive investigations of cultural heritage objects. With the development of new powerful high-energy x-ray sources, to be considered almost as table-top synchrotron sources, such as “Inverse Compton Sources”, the elemental and structural analysis as well as tomographic imaging of cultural heritage objects may be reaching a new quality in research in the fields of archaeology, archaeometry, and museums science in general.

Argonne Physics Division Seminar Schedule