Researchers from the United Kingdom, France and the DUBBLE beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) have made a step forward in research on glass. They have monitored the change in the structure of zeolites, crystalline solids, into an almost perfect glass when heated. They have done this by recording vibrations involving groups of atoms in zeolites that subsequently characterise the glass. Their results are published in the last issue of Science.
Zeolites are porous crystalline aluminosilicates, presenting a regular arrangement of cages. In their natural state, they are components of soils and can be barriers against the migration of radioactive elements. In their synthetic form, zeolites are industrially applied as components of washing powders and in the cracking of petroleum to make gasoline. Due to their cage structure, zeolites have a low-density structure. They melt at around 900°C, lower temperatures than most similar materials, such as silica (sand), which melts at twice this temperature. If the heating is carried out at a slow rate, low-frequency vibrational modes are responsible for destabilizing the microporous crystalline structure. When the cages collapse, zeolites contract, becoming 60% more denseheavier than in their original form, and they adopt the structure of a glass. “We have discovered the triggering mechanism”, says Neville Greaves, first author of the paper.
The result is a mechanically and chemically stronger glass than the glass used nowadays. “We believe this is the key to the synthesis of perfect glasses”, asserts Neville Greaves. Would this mean no more broken wine glasses? “This research could lead to that, but it is still far away. This would also mean making glass invulnerable to water, for instance”, he explains. The final aim is to find out the conditions in which the perfect glass forms.
Scientists from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the DUBBLE beamline at the ESRF, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie of Paris (ENSCP) and ISIS have characterized the low-frequency vibrations that appear in zeolites during heating. The team has carried out their research in neutron as well as X-ray facilities. ISIS is a neutron and muon source located in the UK and a large part of the research presented was done there. The researchers also used a unique X-ray diffraction technique on the Dutch-Belgian beamline (DUBBLE) at the ESRF to determine the degree of crystallinity from zeolites to glass, critical to evaluate the neutron scattering results. “It is really great to combine synchrotron and neutron techniques in the same observation”, explains Greaves.
Montserrat Capellas | alfa
Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology
22.08.2017 | Université libre de Bruxelles
Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences