Hiroaki Sai initially thought it was a mistake. Instead, his “mistake” was the first indication of a major breakthrough in the development of a new method of synthesizing porous polymer film.
“I was trying to make something that has a dense polymer film . . . if the polymers do not have these large pores [they are] usually transparent, and usually, transparent films are good,” Sai explains with a laugh. “When I looked at the film it was opaque, it was pretty much white. So, I thought ‘Junk film.’”