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Last Updated: 12/19/2008 from September, 2006 email

Michael Czank

Email: czank@min.uni-kiel.de

Academic
University prior to coming to ASU: ETH/Zürich
Status at ASU: Postdoc
Time period at ASU: 1976 - 1977

My family and myself

In the Fall of 1976 I came to ASU as an X-ray crystallographer to learn about transmission electron microscopy. I not only learned, but even more, I fell in love with electron microscopy. At that time "scientific life" was different: I could spend a lot of time on the TEM and had a lot of discussions about TEM studies, especially with Dave Veblen and Sumio Iijima. Thus, after the six months as visiting post-doc in the 7*M group, I became an electron microscopist. Back in Europe I took a research associate position in charge of the TEM lab in the Mineralogical Institute at the University of Kiel in northern Germany, where later on I also took over teaching obligations and became a professor for crystallography.

Over all the years my research activities involved TEM and crystallographic studies. Although I never spezialized on a single specific problem, for many years I was involved in studies on the real structures of silicates, where in the case of chain silicates (especially pyroxenoids and amphiboles) I made a significant contribution to what is known about them, such as the superperiods in pyroxenoids, incommensurate superstructures of triclinic amphibole and the structural series of "amphiboloids". Additionally, my scientific curiosity led me to a wide range of unusual and difficult problems (e.g. in-situ diffraction and imaging of phase transitions, which are fully commensurate, as well as incommensurate-commensurate, in minerals and synthetic phases (i.e., armenite, boracites, crystobalite, melilites, Bi-based superconductors, Li-based V205, etc.).

I discovered several unknown phases within the TEM, and when it was possible to separate enough material for X-ray diffraction, I solved their structures ("brockenhillite", Li2Mg2Si4011, a loop-branched dreier single chain silicate). I also undertook various electron crystallographic investigations (e.g., determination of unit cell and of possible space groups) of poorly crystalline phases (biehlite, Cd4GeSe6, new Al compounds of detracted kaolinite and gibbsite), to anable colleagues starting Rietveld X-ray structure determinations.

Actually, I plan to use advanced electron crystallography, including the precession electron diffraction technique, to solve the structure of charoite, a mineral whose structure could not be solved by X-ray methods because of its extremely poor crystallinity.

Since May of this year I am retired, which in my case means I am free of professional obligations. The retirement coincided with other anniversaries and, thus, I gave a party. Peter did the honour to me of accepting an invitation to Kiel and he held a general lecture for my friends, relatives and colleagues about why TEM is and what is so important! . Alice and Peter stayed with us for a few days and we had a wonderful time together, which reminded me of the good old days in Tempe 30 years ago!


7 * M Research Group at Arizona State University
http://7starm.asu.edu/