Science will never stop surprising us! German physicists have indeed announced the discovery of a new state of matter which they have called "liquid glass". In an article published in the journal PNAS, they explained that they found the strange material inside mysterious transformations that occur between the liquid and solid states of glass.
As its name suggests, “liquid glass” is a material which thus presents the astonishing peculiarity of existing between two states: solid and colloid (a bit like gel).
Researchers have indeed found that the famous colloids contained in liquid glass can move. This is a really fascinating phenomenon when you consider that the molecules of ordinary glass, they remain completely blocked or else frozen in a disordered state.
Predicted for 20 years!
Glass has always aroused the curiosity of researchers because of its special properties. And it is moreover during their experiments on the material that they were able to observe “liquid glass”, or rather that they finally had the proof that this last indeed exists! Scientists have predicted the existence of this unusual material for more than 20 years.
“Our experiments have provided the kind of evidence for the interaction between critical fluctuations and glass stops that the scientific community has been looking for for some time,” said Matthias Fuchs, co-author of the study, said. but also professor of soft condensed matter theory at the University of Constance in Germany.
A complex matter
“Due to their distinct shapes, our particles have an orientation – as opposed to spherical particles – which gives rise to entirely new and previously unstudied types of complex behaviors , ” also added Andreas Zumbusch, also a co-author of study and professor of physical chemistry at the University of Constance.
The discovery is all the more fascinating because the study explains that it would appear that the shape and concentration of the particles is really important for the formation of liquid glass. Result: the latter is in fact composed of "two competing liquid-solid transitions which interact, creating the mixture of different properties".
"It's incredibly interesting from a theoretical point of view , " said Matthias Fuchs ecstatically. “Our results provide insight into the interplay between local structures and phase transformations […] This helps guide applications such as the self-assembly of colloidal superstructures and also demonstrates the importance of form on glass transition in general. "