Geschichte der DVG

Hans Oechsner und Michael Scheib

The most famous historical vacuum experiment in Germany is that of Otto von Guericke with the Magdeburg halfspheres which dates as early as 1654.

Up to the beginning of World War II vacuum science and technology in Germany had its domicile in the national physical societies. Then in the early fifties, mostly due to technical applications in industry, three vacuum societies were founded. One of them, the Deutsche Arbeitskreis Vakuum DAV was sustained by four important science and technology societies: the German Physical Society, the German Society for Chemical Apparatuses, the Union of German Engineers, and the Society of Communications Engineering.

In March 1963, the three vacuum societies combined to the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vakuum DAGV, under the guidance of these four supporting societies. From 1973 the office of this new society was located in the Institute of Interface Research and Vacuum Science at Jülich, a national vacuum institute which itself had been founded as an initiative of the German vacuum society. In 1990 the name was changed to German Vacuum Society (Deutsche Vakuum-Gesellschaft DVG) which became an officially registered organization (e. V.) in 1998. In 1991 the German Vacuum Society was unified with the corresponding society of the former German Democratic Republic, the so-called National Vacuum Comission.

The main purpose of the German Vacuum Society is to monitor and support research and development in the areas of thin films, surface science, vacuum science and technology and, recently, nanostructure science and technology. The society is the national link to the vacuum societies of other countries, such as the AVS, and represents science and technical institutions and companies in the above mentioned fields at a national and international level. One important activity is to collaborate with the IUVSTA and with its divisions.

The administrative structure includes a President (currently Prof. H. Oechsner) who is assisted by two Deputies and a Secretary who cares for the administrative matters. The board of the society, which is elected by the society members, consists of individuals from universities, industry and research institutes with about half of these being company representatives. A meeting of the society's members is held at least once a year.

Regarding the scientific structure, the German Vacuum Society has Scientific Divisions in the areas of surface science, thin films, vacuum science and technology, electronic materials and processing, and nanostructure science and technology. In addition there are Divisions for education and standardisation.

Currently, the society has 160 personal members and 14 industrial (company) members. However, as some of the Divisions are operated in conjunction with the German Physical Society, more then 3200 individuals must be added to the personal members.

The German Vacuum Society organises or coorganises national and international conferences, examples of which are the Conference on Applied Surface Analysis, every two years, since 1980; the National School for Vacuum Technology, every year, since 1990 (organized by the Education Division); the International Symposium on Trends and Applications of Thin Films, every two years, since 1988 (organised together with the French and more recently with the Swedish Vacuum Societies). Additionally, in 2000, the Division of Nanostructure Science and Technology has organised two conferences: NC-AFM 2000, the International Conference on Non-contact Atomic Force Microscopy; and SPS-2000, the International Conference on Scanning Probe Spectroscopy. The Education Division produces publications such as a collection of problems on vacuum science and technology, and a vacuum dictionary Since its foundation the German Vacuum Society has been closely related to the German Physical Society. Both societies jointly support the Divisions of surface science, thin films, and vacuum science and technology. These three German Vacuum Society Divisions are traditionally co-organisers of the German Physical Society spring conferences on solid state physics.

Every year since 1986 the German Vacuum Society grants the Gaede Prize, which is now established as one of the most prestigious Physics awards in Germany, to younger scientists for outstanding research in the scientific and technological disciplines covered by the society .

In 2002 the German Vacuum Society intends to organize its first international symposium on vacuum based science and technologies in Berlin. This will mainly be an application-oriented conference focusing on strong participation from industry. It will cover all areas of current interest to the Society including surface science and technology, thin films, bio-surfaces, nanostructure science and technology, vacuum technology, electronics, vacuum metallurgy, and memory and display technology.