Researchers at Cornell University and Germany’s University of Ulm discovered the world’s thinnest sheet of glass by accident while attempting to manufacture graphene. That’s right, the researchers noticed “what they called ‘muck’ on the substance they were attempting to create, so they took a closer look.”
That look revealed something that wasn’t supposed to be there, something that had never before existed (at least, not to our knowledge). But thanks to a small air leak in their equipment, there was glass – glass that’s two atoms thick, making it the thinnest glass known to man.
In 1932 a physicist named William Houlder attempted to map out the arrangement of glass molecules, and though he came close, he never managed to pull it off. Yet this laboratory accident has allowed researchers to produce the exact arrangement of the atoms in glass via electron microscopy.