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研究人员发现了一种新的物质状态:液态玻璃

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2021年01月12日

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Researchers Discovered A New State Of Matter: Liquid Glass

研究人员发现了一种新的物质状态:液态玻璃

Glass is truly a peculiar material. Despite being solid, its components are not organized in a nice crystalline structure like other solids. Its molecules get frozen in place before they can organize themselves into a crystal. The quest to understand glass has led researchers to discover a new state of matter: liquid glass.

玻璃确实是一种特殊的材料。尽管它是固体,但它的组成部分并不像其他固体那样组织成漂亮的晶体结构。它的分子在形成晶体之前会被冻结。为了了解玻璃,研究人员发现了一种新的物质状态:液态玻璃。

Liquid glass was created with particles that were able to flow, but couldn’t rotate. As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this new state gives insight into how regular glass might form.

液态玻璃的颗粒可以流动,但不能旋转。据《美国国家科学院院刊》报道,这种新的状态让我们了解普通玻璃是如何形成的。

Dr Alfredo Carpineti

The starting point of this investigation was the use of colloids, mixtures of “large” particles dispersed through a second substance. Gels and emulsions are examples of colloids. These substances can experience many phenomena that occur in glass-forming material, so they are a good proxy to study these glass transition.

这项研究的出发点是使用胶体,即分散在第二种物质中的“大”颗粒混合物。凝胶和乳剂都是胶体的例子。这些物质可以经历许多发生在玻璃化材料中的现象,因此它们是研究这些玻璃化转变的很好的替代物。

The team involved in this research decided to attempt something different than previous studies. Instead of using spherical particles in their colloid, they manufactured special elliptical (egg-shaped) particles. By changing the concentration of these in the mixtures, they discovered the unusual liquid glass behavior.

参与这项研究的团队决定尝试一些不同于以往研究的东西。他们没有在胶体中使用球形粒子,而是制造了特殊的椭圆(蛋形)粒子。通过改变这些混合物的浓度,他们发现了这种不寻常的液体玻璃行为。

"Due to their distinct shapes our particles have orientation – as opposed to spherical particles – which gives rise to entirely new and previously unstudied kinds of complex behaviors," senior author Professor Andreas Zumbusch, from the University of Konstanz, said in a statement. "At certain particle densities orientational motion froze whereas translational motion persisted, resulting in glassy states where the particles clustered to form local structures with similar orientation."

康斯坦茨大学的资深作者安德烈亚斯·祖姆布施教授在一份声明中说:“由于它们独特的形状,我们的粒子具有方向性——与球形粒子不同——这就产生了全新的、以前从未研究过的复杂行为。”“在特定的粒子密度下,定向运动冻结,而平移运动持续,导致粒子聚集形成具有相似取向的局部结构的玻璃态。”

The position and orientation of the ellipsoid particles in the liquid glass. Research groups of Professor Andreas Zumbusch and Professor Matthias Fuchs

What the researchers saw in this particular substance were two competing glass transitions. One was a regular phase transformation, which is reversible. The other was a non-equilibrium one, which is irreversible. This combination might be what produces the peculiar properties of glass.

研究人员在这种特殊物质中看到了两种相互竞争的玻璃转变。一个是正常的相变,可逆的相变。另一个是非平衡的,是不可逆的。这种组合可能是产生玻璃的特殊特性的原因。

"This is incredibly interesting from a theoretical vantage point," says Dr Matthias Fuchs, professor of soft condensed matter theory at the University of Konstanz and the other senior author on the paper. "Our experiments provide the kind of evidence for the interplay between critical fluctuations and glassy arrest that the scientific community has been after for quite some time."

康斯坦茨大学软凝聚态理论教授Matthias Fuchs博士说:“从理论的角度来看,这非常有趣。”他也是这篇论文的另一位资深作者。“我们的实验为临界波动和玻璃阻滞之间的相互作用提供了证据,这是科学界一直在研究的问题。”

Understanding glass is not just about the material that makes our windows. A wide range of materials behave like glass, including plastics and metals, as well as organic substances such as proteins and even biological cells.

理解玻璃不仅仅是关于制造窗户的材料。很多材料的性能都像玻璃,包括塑料和金属,还有有机物质,如蛋白质,甚至生物细胞。

Theoretical investigations of liquid glass have been going on for two decades. This first result will have a long-reaching effect in the field of material science.

对液态玻璃的理论研究已经进行了20多年。这第一个结果将在材料科学领域产生深远的影响。


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