Scientists discover new state of glass ‘liquid’
The seemingly ordinary glass is actually a very mysterious material.Now scientists from the University of Konstanz have discovered a new state of matter – liquid glass – which has some unusual properties. Normally,when a substance changes from a liquid to a solid, the previously free-flowing atoms arrange into rigid crystals,but this is not the case with glass: its atoms are “frozen” in a disordered state.
At least that’s usually the case. In the new study, researchers have discovered a new form of glass in which atoms exhibit a complex behavior not previously seen in bulk glass. Essentially, atoms can move but not spin. The research team found this in a colloidal suspension model system. These mixtures are composed of large solid particles suspended in a fluid, which makes it easier for scientists too bserve the physical behavior of atoms or molecules. Normally, these particles are spherical, but in this experiment, the team used elliptical particles so they could know which direction they were pointing.
The researchers tested different concentrations of particles in the fluid, tracking their ability to move and spin. Ultimately, they found that at higher concentrations, the particles prevented each other from spinning, but they could still move and form a liquid glass state.