The method of in situ high pressure neutron diffraction was employed to measure reliable diffraction patterns to help illuminate the density-driven structural transformations in GeO2, SiO2, B2O3 and GeSe2 glass. The majority of this neutron diffraction work employed the diffractometer D4c at the ILL with a Paris-Edinburgh press which enabled the pressure range from ambient to 8 GPa to be accessed. In the cases of GeO2 and GeSe2 glass, the neutron diffraction with isotopic substitution (NDIS) protocol was developed to provide benchmark experimental results to test the results obtained from various molecular dynamics simulations using different theoretical schemes.For GeO2 glass, from a combination of neutron diffraction and molecular dynamics results, it was found that the increase in density of the glass initially occurs through a reorganisation of corner-shared GeO4 tetrahedra on an intermediate length scale as the pressure is increased from ambient to 5 GPa. At higher pressures, there is a progression from a tetrahedral to an octahedral glass, via the formation of 5-fold coordinated Ge atoms which have a predominantly square pyramidal geometry.In the work on SiO2 and B2O3 glass the pressure range for the in situ high pressure neutron diffraction results was extended to 14.5 GPa and 17.5 GPa, respectively, by using the PEARL diffractometer at ISIS. For both materials the neutron diffraction results provide complementary information to pressure x-ray diffraction studies helping to elucidate the mechanism of network collapse. In the case of SiO2 glass, densification over the measured pressure range occurs predominantly by a reorganisation of corner shared SiO4 tetrahedra on an intermediate length scale. In the case of B2O3 glass, the B-O coordination number changes from 3 to ∼ 3.9 at the pressure is increased from ∼ 8to 17.5 GPa.For GeSe2 glass, from a combination of neutron diffraction and molecular dynamics results, it was found that the density increase from ambient pressure up ∼ 8 GPa occurs by a reorganisation of both corner and edge-sharing GeSe4 tetrahedra on an intermediate length scale. Above this pressure, 5- and 6-fold coordinated Ge atoms start to form at a similar density and homopolar bonds play an intimate role in the formation of thesehigher coordinated polyhedra.
|Date of Award||9 Oct 2013|
|Sponsors||Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council|
|Supervisor||Philip Salmon (Supervisor)|
- amorphous materials under pressure
- isotopic substitution