A Report on the 77th Executive Council Meeting of IUVSTA

The 77th Executive Council Meeting (ECM 77) of the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications (IUVSTA) was held in Segovia, Spain on 22 September 1996. This a brief summary of the many issues discussed at that meeting and at the associated Committee and Divisional meetings.

The range of activities with which the Union is now involved is ever expanding and interested persons are encouraged to view the details of past and current activities on our WWW Home Page, the address of which is:


IUVSTA Scientific Workshops

High level workshops, organised by the Divisions, have become a major part of our current scientific activities. Fifteen have been presented over the past seven years, with reports on the latest three being given at the present meeting. These were:

  • 13th IUVSTA Workshop: "Lasers in Surface Science and Thin Films" (SS and TF Divisions).

  • 14th IUVSTA Workshop: "Nanoscale Modification of Surface and Thin Films: Physical and Chemical Aspects" (TF and ASS Divisions).

  • 15th IUVSTA Workshop: "Quality Control for Vacuum" (VS Division).
Approval for another four has now been granted. These are:
  • 16th IUVSTA Workshop: "Outgassing Properties of Materials: the Kinetics and the Thermodynamics of Adsorption, Desorption and Passivation" (VS and SS Divisions).

  • 17th IUVSTA Workshop: "Growth and Processing of GaN and Related Materials for Photonic and Electronic Applications" (EMP Division).

  • 18th IUVSTA Workshop: "Diffusion and Growth in Ultrathin Surface Films" (SS and EMP Divisions).

  • 19th IUVSTA Workshop: Surface Chemistry on the Nano-Scopic Scale (SS Division).


Concerning the International Vacuum Congresses and associated International Conferences on Solid Surfaces, the final report for IVC 13/ICSS 9 in Yokohama (1995) has now been presented, organisation of IVC 14/ICSS 10 in Birmingham (1998) is well under way with most Divisions having finalised their International Program Committees and begun choosing invited speakers. It is pleasing that NANO 5 will be held in conjunction with this congress. Planning for IVC 14/ICSS 11 in San Francisco (2001) is just beginning. Bids by National Societies to host IVC 16/ICSS 12 in 2004 will be called for shortly.

IUVSTA Sponsorship:

Another activity of IUVSTA, which is aimed at promoting and acknowledging high standards in national and international conferences, is to preview proposals for such conferences and where appropriate issue our Sponsorship. Such sponsorship was granted to six conferences at ECM 76 and a further three (one provisional) at ECM 77. The latter three are:

  • Otto Von Guericke Workshop "Problems of Vacuum Measurement", Magdeberg, Germany, 2 - 5 June 1997.

  • "2nd International Vacuum Electron Sources Conference", Tsukuba City, Japan, 7 - 10 July 1998.

  • "2nd Swedish Vacuum Meeting", Linkoping, Sweden, 18 - 20 August 1997.
Highlights Seminars:

Near the middle of each IUVSTA triennium, the Highlight Seminars are presented. For these seminars a representative of each of our eight Scientific Divisions will present an address on highlights which have occured in the Division's field of science and technology during the past three years. This triennium the Highlights Seminars will take place on 26 May 1997 in Debrecen, Hungary, following the ECM 78 meetings.

Short Courses:

Our Short Course program is developing well and is becoming a major part of our educational activities. Since such courses were introduced in conjunction with the EVC in Stockholm in 1994, courses have been given in conjunction with the IVC in Yokohama and are again scheduled for presentation with ICTF/EVC in Salamanca following ECM 77. It is proposed that they will also be presented in Debrecen in May 1997 (ECM 78 and the Joint National Conference) and in Birmingham in 1998 (IVC/ICSS).

IUVSTA/ICTP Educational Workshops:

A report was presented for the second in this series of workshops, which are conducted in collaboration with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). This had been titled "Science and Technology of Thin Films) and was held at the ICTP Centre in Trieste in March 1996. The value placed on these courses by students and scientists from developing countries was attested to by the fact that there had been over 300 applications for the 42 places on the course. Attendees came from 28 different countries. The third in this series of workshops is planned for 1998. Dr Barna has taken on the responsibility for representing our interests in this course, for which the title is "Thin Film Physics and Technology".

Welch Scholarship:

It was announced that the 1997 Welch Scholarship had been awarded to Dr. Sasha Gorer from Israel (originally from the Ukraine) who will work for one year in the Department of Chemistry, University of California at Irvine, with Professor Penner.

Visual Aids Material:

Our Visual Aids Material is currently in the form of books of notes on eleven selected topics supported by very comprehensive sets of overhead transparencies. These have been built up over the past few decades and are continually being reviewed, revised and updated. The production and sale of this material is organised by the Education Committee, and a Visual Aids Editor (Professor H. Leck) was recently appointed. Three of the volumes are currently being revised and the revision by Professor Rockett of the section on Thin Films is nearing completion. The sale of this material continues at a steady pace and the material is being displayed and advertised at our conferences, such as at the ICTF/EVC in Salamaca.

IUVSTA/Elsevier Student Grants:

For 1996 Elsevier Science had made a donation of 2,000 pounds Sterling to support students attending IUVSTA conferences. This had been used to support eight students who would be attending the ICSS/EVC conferences in Salamanca, in the week following ECM 77. It was expected that this grant from Elsevier would be continued in 1997 and in that case the support would be made available for students attending ECOSS 17 in The Netherlands in September 1997. The Union is very grateful to Elseveir Science for providing these grants.


IUVSTA plans to initiate a major prize for the purpose of recognising and encouraging outstanding internationally-acclaimed research in the fields of interest to IUVSTA. It is to be awarded to a member of the international scientific community who has accomplished such outstanding experimental and/or theoretical research within the ten years preceding the presentation and it will be conferred at intervals of not less than three years, with the presentations being made at our triennial congresses. This initiative has been introduced by Professor Madey who now reports that he has been promised financial support by a number of industrial companies although he is still actively seeking additional donors. The project is strongly supported by the Executive Council and a number of the administrative aspects were discussed at this meeting Professors Madey and Valbusa will prepare a detailed protocol for final acceptance at ECM 78 in Debrecen.


Liaison between IUVSTA and UNESCO is maintained by Dr. Croset. He reported that a considerable restructuring had taken place recently within UNESCO. The old categories A, B and C had been abolished and our Union has now been given the status of "Operational Relations" (Relations Operationnelles) We believe that this could be of long-term advantage to us. In line with our new status, we are being consulted directly by UNESCO on matters such as their budget and other international projects. Of particular interest to us is the decision by UNESCO to place a priority on educational aid to Africa. We now intend to re-investigate our proposal, with ICTP, to run a course for "training the trainers" on Vacuum Technology in Africa. This had had to be abandoned previously for lack of UNESCO support. However, due to the timing of these changes the earliest this course can be run will be in 1998.


We expect that our excellent cooperation with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste will continue and indeed be strengthened further. The collaboration in the training workshop mentioned above attests to this. Indeed we are fortunate to have Dr. Sancrotti, who is Secretary of our Liaison Committee and Italian Councillor, based in Trieste.


Our Union is a Scientific Associate member of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and our representative is our Secretary General, Professor Colligon. The triennial General Assembly of ICSU was held this year whilst our Officers were attending ECM 77 and the associated conferences in Segovia and Salamanca. However, we were grateful to Dr. Whetten who agreed to represent us and has filed a detailed report.


Our Union maintains representation on two International Standards Organisation committees. The Applied Surface Science Division has Category A liaison with the ISO TC 201 committee on Surface Chemical Analysis. The Vacuum Science Division liaises with the ISO TC 112 committee on Vacuum Technology. Ways of gaining wider input from our membership on such standards is being considered, including greater use of our Web facility.

IUVSTA's Home Page on the Web: As mentioned above, almost all of the available information on IUVSTA, its membership, its organisational structure, its Committees and Divisions, its scientific and technological activities and its educational activities, are now available on the World Wide Web. This mammoth task has been accomplished by the dedicated efforts of Professor Westerberg, the Publications Committee Chair, and the technical skill and expertise of Mrs Mary Weaver. The Union is extremely grateful to these two people and to the American Vacuum Society which has given us space on their computer and has absorbed all of the costs for setting up and maintaining the site for the first year.

IUVSTA Publications:

The Publications Committee discussed numerous issues including expanded use of our Web site, and the future of the IUVSTA Newsletter and its format (printed versus electronic). They also recommended that the Web address be added to all IUVSTA letterheads in the future.

National Vacuum Societies:

It is a stated objective of our Union during this triennium to explore ways in which we can help or support the National Vacuum Societies that are our members. One proposal is to bring together the Presidents of such societies in a given region. Such an activity was found to be very valuable for all who participated when such a meeting was organised by the French Vacuum Society in Paris in 1995. The possibility of organising a similar meeting for Societies in the Asia region, in conjunction with ECM 79 in Australia in 1997, is being explored. In addition, each National Vacuum Society is being encouraged to prepare their own Home Pages on the Web, which can be linked to, or accessed from, our own Web page. Further, the Education Committee is planning to make contact with people who are responsible for vacuum-related educational activities within the National Societies with a view to exchanging ideas and strategies.

Long Range Planning:

The Long Range Planning Committee is continually exploring and discussing issues and trends which will impinge upon the viability, purpose and influence of our Union in the future. Some issues under current consideration are: the format of our triennial congresses in relation to how benefits comparable to running such a congress can be gained by smaller societies which cannot as yet consider hosting a full congress; whether or not (and if so how) we should continue with the traditional process of publishing the proceedings of conferences in hard copy book form; and the advantages of preparing a Vision, Mission Statement and a Strategic Plan for our Union. It is the opinion of the President, Professor Robins, that much can be gained by all participants during the drafting of these documents as it requires deep consideration of what we hope to achieve by maintaining our Union and how we intend to fruitfully pursue these goals.

Developing Countries:

The Developing Countries Committee is continually exploring ways in which our Union can be of value to developing countries, i.e. by offering support to members of existing National Vacuum Societies and by encouraging the formation of Vacuum Societies in countries which are showing rapid technological advancement. One project is to set up an electronic data base that will allow people with related knowledge and skills to meet and plan collaborative research projects.


Current issues being considered by the Statutes Committee included the manner for disposal of our assets if the Union were to be disbanded, and the absolute necessity, according to Belgium law, for us to have at least one Belgian on our executive committee. Another concern of this Committee is to work towards achieving greater uniformity in the Statutes drawn up by individual Divisions.

Welch Trustees:

The four Welch Scholarship Trustees are elected for four year terms with their appointments staggered at yearly intervals. With Executive Council approval, Professor O'Connor was invited to serve as a new trustee, replacing Professor van der Veen who has completed his termm of office.

Archival Material:

Professor Jahrreiss has now completed the vital task of reviewing the records held by him, selecting those which should be archived and arranging, with the valuable help of Mr. Dupont, for this archival material to be stored in the Belgian Military Academy in Brussels where Professor Thomas has kindly arranged for IUVSTA to have storage space.

Future ECMs:

ECM 78 will be held in the afternoon of 25 May 1997 in Debrecen, Hungary, with the associated Committee Meetings starting on Friday evening, 23 May, and the Highlight Seminars being presented on Monday, 26 May. The 7th Joint Hungarian, Croatian, Austrian and Slovenian Vacuum Conference will follow on 26-29 May, also in Debrecen.

ECM 79 will be held on 23 November 1997 in Port Stevens, close to Newcastle, Australia, with the associated Committee Meetings commencing on Friday, 21 November. These meetings will be preceded by the 18th IUVSTA Scientific Workshop on "Diffusion and Growth in Ultrathin Surface Films", organised jointly by the Electronic Materials and Surface Science Divisions, on 17-21 November in Newcastle. The meetings will be followed by the Australian National Vacuum Conference in Canberra. ECM 80 will be an important meeting as many of the arrangements for the General Meeting will need to be finalised at that time. Invitations by National Societies willing to host this meeting will be welcomed.


It was with sadness that the Union received the news that Dr Hermann Adam had died on 24 May 1996 at the age of 88. Dr Adam had been a staunch supporter of the Union and had organised the 3rd International Vacuum Congress in Stuttgart in 1965. He had made many other significant contributions in the field of vacuum science and technology and his contributions will be missed. Our sympathy has been extended to his wife. On a happier note, the Union was delighted to hear that Professor P.S. Choumoff had been made an Honorary Member of the French Vacuum Society and Professor J.F. Van der Veen had been made an Honorary Member of the Dutch Vacuum Society. Our congratulations are extended to each of these men who have contributed much to the Union over many years.

Closing Remarks and Appreciation:

In bringing the ECM 77 meeting to a close, the President, Professor Robins, thanked all present for making the effort to attend and for all the work that they had done during the preceding six months. He pointed out that it was through the diligence and sincerity with which each member played their part in the individual activities of the Union that the overall strength, influence and value of IUVSTA increased. He expressed our thanks to the Spanish Vacuum Society for hosting ECM 77 and he conveyed our very special thanks to Professor de Segovia personally for the many hours he had put into organising the ECM and associated conferences, workshop and meetings: the efficiency had been excellent, and the hospitality had been overwhelming!

--- J. L. R.