ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Materials

A Glimpse Of Silica In Motion

Researchers image atomic dance in two-dimensional glass

by Bethany Halford
October 14, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 41

[+]Enlarge
Credit: Science
False-colored TEM image shows solid (yellow) and molten (blue) silica glass, with actively rearranging atoms in between (red). Each ring of atoms is about 1 nm across.
09141-scicon-glasscxd.jpg
Credit: Science
False-colored TEM image shows solid (yellow) and molten (blue) silica glass, with actively rearranging atoms in between (red). Each ring of atoms is about 1 nm across.

The structure of silica glass has been something of a mystery to scientists. Because of the disordered, amorphous nature of the material, researchers can’t construct a picture of its atoms by using X-ray crystallography as they can with bulk crystals. Instead, an international team led by David A. Muller of Cornell University and Ute Kaiser of Germany’s University of Ulm devised a high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) method to get an atomic-scale glimpse of this material in motion and used it to study sheets of glass just two atoms thick (Science 2013, DOI: 10.1126/science.1242248). With that technique, the researchers recorded images of the glass as it deformed upon changing from solid to liquid. The TEM images and video reveal “a complex dance” of silicon and oxygen atoms, according to the team. Ring structures open and close. Atoms swap places. The results will likely help scientists create a better picture of the atom dynamics in amorphous materials, which are ubiquitous. Silica glass, for example, can be found in semiconductors and optical fibers.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment