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A breakthrough in solving the glass structure puzzle

CityU scientists have discovered a breakthrough in solving the structural puzzle of glass.

(a) The red balls are the Pd and Ni atoms, while the blue balls represent the P atoms. The orange polyhedron represents the Pd-reinforced small clusters, and the blue polyhedron represents the smaller Pd-reinforced clusters. Ni only a small group Only to be shown for clarification. (b). Schematic representation of 6M-TTP cluster formation by edge sharing model. Credits: Lan, S., Zhu, L., Wu, Z. et al. / No. doi:10.1038. /s41563-021-01011-5

Glass is one of the most common materials we use every day. But the fine structure of non-metallic and non-liquid materials has always been a major mystery in science. A research team led by scientists at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has succeeded in discovering that glass, amorphous metals and crystals share the same structure. And it is the connections between these blocks that separate the crystalline and amorphous states of the material. The findings highlight an understanding of glass structure.

Glass is an amorphous, non-crystalline solid with widespread practical and technological use in everyday life. In addition to the soda-lime glass used in the windows There are many other types of glass, such as metallic glass. The glass phase material is mysterious and special: on the outside, the material is solid, but on the inside, it appears to be disorganized like a liquid. Therefore, its structure has long been the focus of scientific research.

A research team led by Professor Wang Xunli, Chair Professor of Physics and Head of the Department of Physics at CityU has discovered a structural link between glass solids and crystalline crystals. This is a breakthrough in understanding the detailed structure of amorphous materials. natural materialTopic “Middle-span structural patterns linking amorphous and crystalline states”

“The structure of glass is a great scientific challenge,” said Professor Wang.

CityU scientists have discovered a breakthrough in solving the structural puzzle of glass.

Dr Lan Si (right) and Wu Zhenduo (center), co-authors of the first paper. Final modifications were made in synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. Credit: Professor Wang Xunli.

Unlike crystalline solids, they consist of periodic stacking. (long term) of basic building blocks known as unit cells. Glass material has no long-term sequence. But the glass material has ordered a short-term structure (2-5 Å) and the middle (5-20 Å) and even longer scales. However, due to the lack of contrast caused by the amorphous nature of the material, Therefore, it is difficult for scientists to experiment with characterization of intermediate sequences. As a result, it remains a scientific mystery whether there is a structural link in the middle or a longer length scale between amorphous materials and crystal pairs. Combining the additional point is that amorphous materials tend to crystallize into phases of different elements. with very different building blocks

to overcome this challenge The team captured the intermediate crystalline through precise control of the heating of the metallic glass. (palladium-nickel-phosphorus alloy (Pd-Ni-P)) at high temperatures

Later, the team used different advanced structural analysis techniques. including a high-resolution transmission electron microscope. High-precision synchrotron X-ray diffraction and automatic computer image analysis When comparing the structure of metal glass (alloy) in the amorphous and crystalline state. The team discovered that the two alloys had the same structure. It is a triangular prism (6M-TTP) group composed of palladium, nickel and phosphorus atoms. The team also concluded that it is a connection between the clusters that separate crystalline and amorphous states.

“Our experimental study shows that building structures linking amorphous and crystalline states, such as triangular prism clusters for metal-glass Pd-Ni-P, can be extended to medium length scales. on the order of ten angstroms ( Å), which may be a universal property for amorphous materials. These findings clearly point out that the structure of glass differs from most similar crystals in the structural connection,” said Professor Wang.

Researchers believe that understanding the molecular structure of amorphous materials is crucial to designing new materials. Because the structure determines the properties. “Our experimental study sheds light on the structure of amorphous materials at extended lengths. This will support our efforts to find the structure of glass,” added Professor Wang.

Photonic topology

More information:
Si Lan et al, Intermediate structures linking amorphous and crystalline states. natural material (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41563-021-01011-5

Provided by City University of Hong Kong

reference: Advances in Solving the Glass Structure Puzzle (2021, June 8). Retrieved June 8, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-breakthrough-mystery-glass.html.

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