In situ Raman and Brillouin light scattering techniques were used to study thermally induced high-density amorphous (HDA) to low-density amorphous (LDA) transition in silica glass densified in hot compression (up to 8 GPa at 1100 °C). Hot-compressed silica samples are shown to retain structural and mechanical stability through 600 °C or greater, with reduced sensitivity in elastic response to temperature as compared with pristine silica glass. Given sufficient thermal energy to overcome the energy barrier, the compacted structure of the HDA silica reverts back to the LDA state. The onset temperature for the HDA to LDA transition depends on the degree of densification during hot compression, commencing at lower temperatures for samples with higher density, but all finishing within a temperature range of 250-300 °C. Our studies show that the HDA to LDA transition at high temperatures in hot-compressed samples is different from the gradual changes starting from room temperature in cold-compressed silica glass, indicating greater structural homogeneity achieved by hot compression. Furthermore, the structure and properties of hot-compressed silica glass change continuously during the thermally induced HDA to LDA transition, in contrast to the abrupt and first-order-like polyamorphic transitions in amorphous ice. Different HDA to LDA transition mechanisms in amorphous silica and amorphous ice are explained by their different energy landscapes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry