Alien54 writes "Scientists in the US have developed a novel technique to make bulk quantities of glass from alumina for the first time. (link includes a picture of samples) Anatoly Rosenflanz and colleagues at 3M in Minnesota used a "flame-spray" technique to alloy alumina (aluminium oxide) with rare-earth metal oxides to produce strong glass with good optical properties. The method avoids many of the problems encountered in conventional glass forming and could, say the team, be extended to other oxides (see also: A Rosenflanz et al. 2004 Nature 430 761). Scotty would be pleased."