Scientists accidentally create the world’s thinnest glass and earn a world record

Sep 13, 2013
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It's not uncommon in science for scientists to make major discoveries accidentally. One of the most recent accidental discoveries ended up being the world's thinnest glass. The glass is thin enough to earn the scientists a place in the 2014 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

The scientists who accidentally made the incredibly thin sheet of glass are from Cornell University and Germany's University of Ulm. The scientists were creating graphene, which is an incredibly thin and strong material made up of carbon only one atom thick. The atoms in the material are arranged in a honeycomb pattern.

While studying the material using an electron microscope, the scientists discovered another material on the graphene. Further inspection determined that the scientists were essentially seeing a 2-D sheet of common glass made up of silicon and oxygen atoms.

The scientists believe the incredibly thin sheet of glass was created when an air leak caused copper foils used in the graphene making process to react with a furnace made up of quartz. Quartz is a mineral comprised of silicon and oxygen according to the scientists. This creation is also notable because the scientists say it's the first time anyone has been able to see the arrangement of atoms in glass. Glass is an interesting material because it has an irregular structure and while it appears solid, it behaves more like a liquid.

SOURCE: LiveScience


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