Scientists at the University of Chicago have accidentally created an entirely new type of glass.
The molecular researchers noticed a difference in the surface of the material which should have been purely formless. The glass was grown by vaporising large molecules with a vacuum. Molecules were layered onto a surface until the sample was thick enough to analyse.
According to the university, the substance was analysed with spestroscopic ellipsometry.
Juan de Pablo, from the University of Chicago, said that glass is generally definied by its "randomness," but in this case the glass had an underlying molecular order.
Although glasses are solids, their structure has some similarity with that of liquids.
De Pablo said the latest discovery could have deep theoretical and technological implications.
The researchers suggest the changes are enough to alter the glass’s optical properties and could show beneficial products such as LEDs, solar cells and optical fibers in future.