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Chemists Discover Method for Advancing Organic Glass Molecules

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mark Ediger and a team of chemists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a way to control the order of organic glass molecules. The study which details their methodology and findingswas published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Organic glass is a material used to manufacture electronic displays, light-emitting diodes, and solar cells. The team, in collaboration with Juan de Pablo and Ivan Lyubimov of the Univesity of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering, studied the manufacturing process of the organic glass and observed that its molecules could be controlled through a method known as physical vapor deposition.

According to Ediger, the molecules within the new organic glass is oriented in specific ways, either standing up or lying down. This affects the performance and grants an improved level of efficiency and durability in the devices they are used in.

“What is new in our work is that we have systematically explored the important control variable, the substrate temperature, and discovered a general pattern for molecular orientation that can be exploited,” says Ediger. “Furthermore, we now understand what controls the orientation trapped in particular glasses.”

Organic glass is used in what are called organic light-emitting diodes, which make up the display screens in electronic devices such as cellphones. With this new discovery, Ediger suggests that current portable electronic devices could be manufactured to emit more light while consuming as much as 30 percent less energy. The new glass could also prove to be a less expensive material for the production of more sturdy solar cells.

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