The base of ordinary glass is silicon dioxide (dioxide) - SiO2. However, scientists are actively experimenting with other compounds and elements. Thus, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new type of glass based on organometallic compounds - ZIF-62.
It contains zinc and two organic compounds - imidazolate and benzimidazolate. The material has the same atomic structure as quartz glass - in the form of a pyramid with a zinc atom in the center and four molecules of organic compounds around. This "design" provides the smooth, non-crystalline structure of the ZIF-62.
The essence of the glass production technology is as follows. Initially, the starting material is melted and then quickly cooled so that it does not have time to crystallize, resulting in the formation of glass.
As one of the leading project participants, John Mauro, explains, ZIF-62 is essentially a frozen liquid with a non-crystalline structure, that is, in terms of mechanical properties it resembles a solid, but is in a borderline state between “liquid” and “hardness”. The new type of material, as scientists assure, surpasses 50 currently existing types of glass in basic parameters.
Researchers are currently looking for ways to increase the production of ZIF-62 and other combinations of organometallic compounds to create new types of glass.