Glass: The nanotechnology connection

(Nanowerk News) Modern applications of glass in such diverse fields as energy, medicine, electronics, photonics, and communications are critically dependent on our awareness and appreciation of the intrinsic connections between glass and nanotechnology. Although glass is seldom if ever mentioned in early texts on nanotechnology, there are numerous examples where the understanding of glass at the nanoscale level has proved transformational in the fabrication and application of this material. As such, glass is a quintessential nanotechnology material.
A recent paper in the April 25, 2013 online edition of the International Journal of Applied Glass Science ("Glass: The Nanotechnology Connection") reviews fundamental aspects of the glass-nanotechnology connections with the intent of drawing attention to their role in both contemporary and future glass science and engineering. The authors – John C. Mauro and Adam J. Ellison from Corning Inc. and L. David Pye from the New York State College of Ceramics – argue that many of the most useful and interesting behaviors of glass are born at the nanoscale, even when we initially do not notice it.
The list below provides a partial list of subsets of glass science where the application of nanotechnology concepts figured prominently in the fabrication, secondary processing, and application of glass during the last century. These subsets are not presented in chronological order; rather, they begin at the low end of the nanoscale, that is, electron energy states, chemical bonding, atomic structure and then progress through glass transition range behavior and phase transformation phenomena:
  • – Electron Energy States
  • – Chemical Bonding
  • – Ion Transport Phenomena
  • – Glass Transition Range Behavior
  • – Surface Modification and Tempering (Thermal, Chemical)
  • – Photosensitivity,Polychromaticism, Photochromism, Photonucleation
  • – Threshold Switching/Memory
  • – Devices/Photovoltaics
  • – Amorphous Phase Separation
  • – Polyamorphism
  • – Crystallization
  • – Bio-Glasses
  • The review article discusses these subsets in greater detail.
    Source: American Ceramic Society
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