Beyond sixfold coordinated Si in SiO2 glass at ultrahigh pressures [Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences]
We investigated the structure of SiO2 glass up to 172 GPa using high-energy X-ray diffraction. The combination of a multichannel collimator with diamond anvil cells enabled the measurement of structural changes in silica glass with total X-ray diffraction to previously unachievable pressures. We show that SiO2 first undergoes a change in Si–O coordination number from fourfold to sixfold between 15 and 50 GPa, in agreement with previous investigations. Above 50 GPa, the estimated coordination number continuously increases from 6 to 6.8 at 172 GPa. Si–O bond length shows first an increase due to the fourfold to sixfold coordination change and then a smaller linear decrease up to 172 GPa. We reconcile the changes in relation to the oxygen-packing fraction, showing that oxygen packing decreases at ultrahigh pressures to accommodate the higher than sixfold Si–O coordination. These results give experimental insight into the structural changes of silicate glasses as analogue materials for silicate melts at ultrahigh pressures.
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