Posted: April 3, 2007

Making Glass From Sugar (but Hold the Sand)

(Nanowerk News) The New York Times is running a short piece today titled "Making Glass From Sugar (but Hold the Sand)" which is based on a recent research paper in Nature Materials ("Self-assembly in sugar–oil complex glasses").
A new form of glass, the unique combination of solid- and liquid-like properties of this sugar-oil emulsion might have applications in optical or sensing devices. Since it can be made with food-grade materials (the oil used was limonene, or orange oil), it might be useful in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
It might also someday be used to fabricate nanoscale materials, by using a polymerizable compound in place of the oil. In this case the glass would act as a template, holding the compound in the sugar structure. After the compound was polymerized, the sugar could be simply dissolved away.
Source: The New York Times; Nature Materials
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