Scientists have developed new glass made of organometallic compounds.
The main component of traditional glass is silicon dioxide. People have a little impression of boron, polymer, and metal doped in the manufacturing process. But recently, researchers at Pennsylvania State University made a breakthrough by creating a zinc-based "organometallic glass". The material, called ZIF-62, is structured as a zinc atom surrounded by sodium imidazolate and benzimidazolate molecules. The new material is not only easier to form glass, more flexible, but also has the same pyramidal atomic structure as quartz glass.
Traditionally, silica glass has the best glass-forming ability, but researchers point out that ZIF-62 has better properties. In fact, ZIF-62 has more than 50 glasses available and is more flexible than silicon-based glasses. By adjusting the formula, the researchers found that the more benzimidazole was added, the better the glass-forming ability of the material. Of course, ZIF-62 is not without drawbacks compared with the technology of purifying silicon-based glass that has been purified for thousands of years. In the early stage of development, it is difficult for new materials to compete effectively with traditional processes. In order to make new metal plexiglass, organic compounds must be formed first.
In the future, researchers also plan to explore other PMMA formulations, including possible cobalt-based glasses.