Chinese Researchers Develop Glass that Keeps Ultraviolet Radiation at Bay

From reportedly causing cancer to damaging sensitive electronics in mission critical applications, the detrimental effects of ultraviolet radiation are not unknown. While several studies have been undertaken to block out ultraviolet radiation, a recent breakthrough seems to hold immense potential. Researchers in China have reportedly developed a glass that can absorb ultraviolet radiation and thus protect living cells.

This breakthrough product could hold special significance to the aerospace industry, where satellites and spacecraft out in space are exposed to damagingly high levels of ultraviolet radiation. In the study published in the journal, Optical Material Express, researchers are quoted as saying that the glass can be “easily fabricated in bulk”.

How does the UV-absorbing glass work?

The glass effectively works by protecting living cells and organic dye from harmful UV radiation thanks to the innovative use of cerium (IV) oxide (CeO2). This material carries the ability to absorb UV photons. By using it to fabricate the composite glass-based UV-absorption material, the scientists behind this study intend to protect electronics in space, besides using it for other applications.

The new material has been developed by a team of researchers at the South China University of Technology, based in Guangzhou, China.

What are the key features of the UV-absorbing glass?

Despite its unique ability to keep UV radiation at bay, the glass features excellent optical transparency. Moreover, the material also exhibits the ability to keep the photo-generated electronics from separating from the holes. The team has worked to improve a process called self-limited nanocrystallization. The researchers hope that the functionalization of glass will help make spacecraft safer.

It now remains to be seen how and when the glass-based UV shield will be put to commercial use.


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