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Steve Feller
Research Interests

Student Research

Steve Feller and student show the results of their reasearch collaboration.Students work one-on-one with me determining the atomic structure of glass and its relationship to the physical properties of glass.  In other words, we try to understand how glasses behave at a dimension of less than a billionth of a meter.  We even make new-to-the-world glasses with unusual compositions and we use a variety of in-house methods that can cool liquids at 100,000 oC/s or heat our samples to nearly 3000 oC.  We study silicates, borates (my personal favorite), germinates, vanadates (we discovered many of these glasses), heavy metal glasses like those made of bismuth oxide,  aluminates, antimony and tellurium glasses, and many more.

We determine the atomic structure using a number of modern and cool techniques:

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (known as NMR and it is the same technique as MRI), Neutron Scattering, Raman Spectroscopy, Infrared Spectroscopy, and modern calculational tools.  This allows us to literally find where the atoms are in glass—surprisingly since glass is an inherently disordered material.  We do this work all around the world—England, France, Italy, China, Japan, Canada, USA, Greece, Brazil, and more.

We compare the structure to a number of important physical properties including: density and packing efficiencies; thermal properties including the softening temperature (also known as the glass transition temperature), the crystallization temperatures, the specific heat; the velocity of sound in glass and the various strength parameters.  The comparison is done using computer models, many of which we develop in house.

Physics research at Coe in action.With this information we give talks and write journal papers together as we participate in the active world-wide scientific community that studies these wonderful materials.   We are especially active in this respect and have over 130 articles in the literature with student co-authors, many times students are the lead authors.  In short, our program is both well-known and respected in the scientific world.  We have had National Science Foundation funding for over 25 straight years, an incredible achievement.

Well over 200 students have done this sort of work with my colleague Prof. Affatigato and me since 1980.  They have gone on to many great and even distinguished careers.  Unemployment is virtually unknown.  About ¾ of these students have gone on to the best graduate schools in the nation.  A few of the university examples include Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, Brown, Vanderbilt, UC Davis, UC San Diego, Georgia Tech, Washington University (St. Louis), Stanford, UCLA,  Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, LeHigh, and Colorado.

Any questions?—shoot me an email at

Steve Feller

Recent Publications:

Physics Research Team