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The pressure-driven collapse in the structure of network-forming materials will be considered in the gigapascal (GPa) regime, where the development of in situ high-pressure neutron diffraction has enabled this technique to obtain new structural information. The improvements to the neutron diffraction methodology are discussed, and the complementary nature of the results is illustrated by considering the pressure-driven structural transformations for several key network-forming materials that have also been investigated by using other experimental techniques such as x-ray diffraction, inelastic x-ray scattering, x-ray absorption spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. A starting point is provided by the pressure-driven network collapse of the prototypical network-forming oxide glasses B2O3, SiO2 and GeO2. Here, the combined results help to show that the coordination number of network-forming structural motifs in a wide range of glassy and liquid oxide materials can be rationalised in terms of the oxygen-packing fraction over an extensive pressure and temperature range. The pressure-driven network collapse of the prototypical chalcogenide glass GeSe2 is also considered where, as for the case of glassy GeO2, site-specific structural information is now available from the method of in situ high-pressure neutron diffraction with isotope substitution. The application of in situ high-pressure neutron diffraction to other structurally disordered network-forming materials is also summarised. In all of this work a key theme concerns the rich diversity in the mechanisms of network collapse, which drive the changes in physico-chemical properties of these materials. A more complete picture of the mechanisms is provided by molecular dynamics simulations using theoretical schemes that give a good account of the experimental results.
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- 5 Finished
5/06/12 → 4/10/15
Project: Research council