MIT’s New Glass, A Glass And a Half That Out Gorillas Gorilla Glass…

Glass, far more than just a window looking out over the world of the great outdoors, in this fast paced electronic world it has become the window looking into our online lives.

MIT have this week announced a glass breakthrough that heralds a brand new generation of glass, a glare free and self-cleaning future thanks to MIT’s wonder glass. The lessons learned and manufacturing techniques required may in the years to come be integrated into current manufacturing processes. Creating a brand new Gorilla of the Glass world.

Completely absent of glare MITs Glass sets new standards in clarity and outdoor useability. The basis for MIT’s new glass is a new Nano scale pattern imprinted into the glasses surface. Tall Nano scale rods are printed into the glasses surface , 20nm wide and 100nm tall, these glass towers imbue the glass with its new talents. MIT also discovered that the new surface was also able to repel water, which would bounce off its surface and take any dirt or dust with it, self-cleaning like all good Gorillas.

Being forward thinking individuals the team from MIT used existing production techniques that are widely used by the semiconductor industry. While the current printing techniques is expensive integrating a simpler process into current glass manufacturing processes is possible now that the theories have been demonstrated.

The teams paper was published in the journal ACS Nano and introduced the discoveries. The team included co-authored by mechanical engineering graduate students Kyoo-Chul Park and Hyungryul Choi, former postdoc Chih-Hao Chang SM ’04, PhD ’08 (now at North Carolina State University), chemical engineering professor Robert Cohen, and mechanical engineering professors Gareth McKinley and George Barbastathis.

The photo-voltaic glass market is a definite for the new glass, solar cells loose up to 40% of their efficiency due to glare, especially when the angle of the panel and the sun are off by just a bit. Other potential uses include completely glare free sunglasses, LCD Display glass. Even the humble window glass could receive an upgrade from MIT’s discovery.

Andrew Parker, a senior visiting research fellow at Oxford University’s Green Templeton College in the U.K. who was not involved in this work, says, “Multifunctional surfaces in animals and plants are common. For the first time, as far as I am aware, this paper learns a lesson in manufacturing efficiency from nature by making an optimized antireflective and anti-fogging device. … This is the way that nature works, and may well be the future of a greener engineering where two structures, and two manufacturing processes, are replaced by one.”

With much of the funding coming from military sources (Army Research Office through MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology; the Air Force Office of Scientific Research; Singapore’s National Research Foundation through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre, and the Xerox Foundation. Park and Choi are recipients of fellowships from Samsung and the Kwanjeong Educational Foundation/STX Scholarship Foundation) a new generation of high tech Aviator sunglasses are headed the military’s way. Here at Highpants we suspect 10 years in the deserts of Afghanistan have made the US army sick of squinting.

Glass, after first being manufactured 5,500 years ago (Mesopotamia 3,500 BCE) glass has had an incredible journey. From decorative ornament to building material, now adorning entire skyscrapers as well as being our electronic window online Glass is the material of the future, from a distant past.

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Reference: MIT Online