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A New Common Behavior for Glasses

Materials  scientists  use  rules  that  hold  across  different kinds   of  materials   as  powerful  tools  to  understand material’s    fundamental    behavior,    to    predict    their properties   and   performance,   and   to   design   new materials.

Wisconsin MRSEC researchers have discovered a new common behavior for glasses: How fast atoms move on a  glass  surface  is  connected  to  how  easilyflow  is activated   for   the   same   material   as   a   liquid.   This connection  holds  across  all  kinds  of  glasses  and  over many orders of magnitude in the speed of motion.

The  connection  lets  scientists  predict  surface  mobility, which is rarely measured, from liquid flow data, which is much  more  common.  The  fabrication  of  glasses  by vapor  deposition  and  their  properties  in  thin  film  form, as  they  are  used  in  cell  phone  displays,  photovoltaics, and   coatings,   depends   on   their   surfaces,   so   the connection   is   an   important   practical   tool   for   glass materials  design.  It  also  points  to  deep,  fundamental connections  to  how  molecules  move  at  solid  glass surfaces   and   inside   liquids,   which   is   the   topic   of ongoing research.