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.