Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > A Cool Way to Make Glass

Abstract:
TAU uses quantum mechanics to melt glass at Absolute Zero

A Cool Way to Make Glass

Tel Aviv, Isreal | Posted on February 7th, 2011

Quantum mechanics, developed in the 1920s, has had an enormous impact in explaining how matter works. The elementary particles that make up different forms of matter — such as electrons, protons, neutrons and photons — are well understood within the model quantum physics provides. Even now, some 90 years later, new scientific principles in quantum physics are being described. The most recent gives the world a glimpse into the seemingly impossible.

Prof. Eran Rabani of Tel Aviv University's School of Chemistry and his colleagues at Columbia University have discovered a new quantum mechanical effect with glass-forming liquids. They've determined that it's possible to melt glass — not by heating it, but by cooling it to a temperature near Absolute Zero.

This new basic science research, to be published in Nature Physics, has limited practical application so far, says Prof. Rabani. But knowing why materials behave as they do paves the way for breakthroughs of the future. "The interesting story here," says Prof. Rabani, "is that by quantum effect, we can melt glass by cooling it. Normally, we melt glasses with heat."

Turning the thermometer upside-down

Classical physics allowed researchers to be certain about the qualities of physical objects. But at the atomic/molecular level, as a result of the duality principle which describes small objects as waves, it's impossible to determine exact molecular position and speed at any given moment — a fact known as the "Heisenberg Principle." Based on this principle, Prof. Rabani and his colleagues were able to demonstrate their surprising natural phenomenon with glass.

Many different materials on earth, like the silica used in windows, can become a glass — at least in theory — if they are cooled fast enough. But the new research by Prof. Rabani and his colleagues demonstrates that under very special conditions, a few degrees above Absolute Zero (−459.67° Fahrenheit), a glass might melt.

It all has to do with how molecules in materials are ordered, Prof. Rabani explains. At some point in the cooling phase, a material can become glass and then liquid if the right conditions exist.

"We hope that future laboratory experiments will prove our predictions," he says, looking forward to this new basic science paving the way for continued research.

Classical glass

The research was inspired by Nobel Prize winner Philip W. Anderson, who wrote that the understanding of classical glasses was one of the biggest unsolved problems in condensed matter physics. After the challenge was presented, research teams around the world rose to it.

Until now, structural quantum glasses had never been explored — that is, what happens when you mix the unique properties in glass and add quantum effects. Prof. Rabani was challenged to ask: if we looked at the quantum level, would we still see the hallmarks of a classical glass?

What the researchers unearthed is a new and unique hallmark, showing that quantum glasses have a unique signature. Many materials he says can form a glass if they're cooled fast enough. Even though their theory is not practical for daily use: few individuals own freezers that dip down nearly 500 degrees below zero.

Prof. Rabani is currently on sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, as a Miller Visiting Professor.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Tel Aviv University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern July 21st, 2018

World's fastest man-made spinning object could help study quantum mechanics July 20th, 2018

Relax, just break it July 20th, 2018

Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers July 20th, 2018

Academic/Education

The Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo in Japan uses Deben's ARM2 detector to better understand catalytic reaction mechanisms June 27th, 2018

Powering the 21st Century with Integrated Photonics: UCSB-Led Team Selected for Demonstration of a Novel Waveguide Platform Which is Transparent Throughout the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Bands June 19th, 2018

SUNY Poly Professor Eric Lifshin Selected for ‘Fellow of the Microanalysis Society’ Position for Significant Contributions to Microanalysis June 13th, 2018

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Materials/Metamaterials

Relax, just break it July 20th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides July 13th, 2018

Carbon is the new black: Researchers use carbon nanotubes to develop clothing that can double as batteries July 10th, 2018

Announcements

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern July 21st, 2018

World's fastest man-made spinning object could help study quantum mechanics July 20th, 2018

Relax, just break it July 20th, 2018

Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers July 20th, 2018

Quantum nanoscience

World's fastest man-made spinning object could help study quantum mechanics July 20th, 2018

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Making quantum puddles: Physicists discover how to create the thinnest liquid films ever June 13th, 2018

Detecting the birth and death of a phonon June 7th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project