Molecular scientists unexpectedly produce new type of glass
Joyce Park stashed this in Science
I'm an alumna, and I honestly didn't even know the University of Chicago even HAD a department of molecular engineering! And evidently they had a recent breakthough making the very first "organized" glass.
Yes! The authors went on Reddit to explain, and here is a summary:
The molecules (glass layer, I believe) used in organic LEDs and organic solar cells should be pointing in the direction you want (up and out for light, down and in for solar cells). These molecules are in a very thin layer that's deposited on a "base," or substrate. Imagine painting on a piece of wood-the organic molecules used are the very thin layer of paint, and the wood is the base (substrate)--just there as support. It used to be thought that the direction these molecules point was an inherent property of the molecule, static and unchangeable, meaning if you got a nice molecule but it pointed in a sub-optimal way, you were SOL and needed to trash it and move on. What these guys proved was that this isn't true. You can affect which direction the molecule is pointing by adjusting the temperature that you "paint" the molecule (glass) layer on, or specifically the temperature difference between the molecule and base layer when "painting."
Yes, seriously, who knew a new kind of glass COULD be created?