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Chemistry Department

Dieter Bingemann

Physical Chemist

From windows to synthetic polymers, from fiber optics to sugar coatings on corn flakes, glasses are ubiquitous in our daily lives.  With physical properties of a solid and microscopic structure of a liquid, glasses are neither; they evolve slowly over time.  In the past few years the focus of research on these materials has gradually shifted from a macroscopic description of properties to their analysis on a molecular scale. One especially promising result explains their unusual properties as a consequence of a strong dependence of a molecule’s dynamics on the structure of its environment, a correlation often called “dynamic heterogeneity.”  Our research pushes this molecular description of glass dynamics to its extreme: using single molecule spectroscopy to investigate glasses experimentally one molecule at a time along with molecular dynamics simulations on fast computers to study the theory of the glass transition at the same level of detail.