Structure of glassy GeO2

Philip S. Salmon, Adrian C. Barnes, Richard A. Martin, Gabriel J. Cuello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The full set of partial structure factors for glassy germania, or GeO2, were accurately measured by using the method of isotopic substitution in neutron diffraction in order to elucidate the nature of the pair correlations for this archetypal strong glass former. The results show that the basic tetrahedral Ge(O-1/2)(4) building blocks share corners with a mean inter-tetrahedral Ge-O-Ge bond angle of 132(2)degrees. The topological and chemical ordering in the resultant network displays two characteristic length scales at distances greater than the nearest neighbour. One of these describes the intermediate range order, and manifests itself by the appearance of a first sharp diffraction peak in the measured diffraction patterns at a scattering vector k(FSDP) approximate to 1.53 angstrom(-1), while the other describes so-called extended range order, and is associated with the principal peak at k(PP) = 2.66( 1) angstrom(-1). We find that there is an interplay between the relative importance of the ordering on these length scales for tetrahedral network forming glasses that is dominated by the extended range ordering with increasing glass fragility. The measured partial structure factors for glassy GeO2 are used to reproduce the total structure factor measured by using high energy x-ray diffraction and the experimental results are also compared to those obtained by using classical and first principles molecular dynamics simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number415110
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2007
EventInternational Workshop on Current Challenges in Liquid and Glass Science - Abingdon, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jan 200712 Jan 2007


  • condensed matter
  • structural
  • mechanical
  • thermal


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