The Famous Bulgarians: Ivan Stranski

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Growing crystals make today’s technology possible

Prof. Ivan Stranski suffered from an incurable (at the time) disease – bone tuberculosis – and wanted to pursue a career in medicine in an effort to find the cure. He soon discovered the limitations, however, and quit his studies and dedicated his life to chemical physics. He graduated in Sofia and defended his doctoral thesis on X-ray spectroscopy in Germany. Upon his return from Berlin, he became the first lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Sofia. Stranski began working with Lyubomir Krastanov and together they established a way in which a thin crystal film can grow on a base of another crystal, called Stranski-Krastanov growth. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, hold onto your seats, ’cause it’s gonna be a bumpy ride straight into education-ville. Thin film technology is used in most modern day devices – from recording media to energy generation and storage (batteries) to the optical coatings on those ugly glasses you only wear when you’re working on your laptop.

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