A chemist at North Carolina State University has made breakthrough discoveries that advance basic understandings of the nature of liquids and glasses at the atomic and molecular levels. Featured in the Sept. 26 issue of Nature, these discoveries could lead to the development of totally new materials with useful optical and electronic properties - as well as applications not yet foreseen.
Dr. James Martin uses colorful analogies to explain his current research
Liquids and glass have long been understood by scientists to be amorphous, meaning "without structure." Cartoon pictures in textbooks of atomic arrangements frequently represent liquids to be much like gases, a collection of molecules moving around randomly.
Not so, according to Dr. James D. Martin, associate professor of chemistry at NC State. "Just as a symphony is much more than a collection of random notes, the atoms and molecules in a liquid are quite organized - more like those in a crystal than a gas."
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