A study conducted by Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution for Science has revealed that there is possibility to develop a metallic glass that is ordered at a large scale.
Researchers have identified glasses that exhibit order among their closest neighboring atoms termed as short-range order and a little wider distance termed as medium-range order. Many studies have been carried out to create a long-range order glass, but none of them have been successful.
Ho-Kwang (Dave) Mao from Carnegie and other scientists are conducting research on metallic glass produced from aluminum and cerium. The research on metallic glasses has become popular as it is more elastic than normal metals and less fragile than ordinary glasses. The team created a single crystal by applying 25 GPa of pressure to the cerium-aluminum glass and the new order formed is preserved even when the glass is restored to ambient pressure.
Researchers have used simulations and x-ray techniques to analyze the cerium and aluminum elements. They have found that at normal pressures, the elements’ atomic structures do not allow the glass to attain the highly ordered state. However, under 25 GPa of intense pressure, an electron shift takes place in the cerium element resulting in the formation of the crystalline structure. According to Mao, these results show that pressurized cerium-aluminum could lead to invention of the long-range perfect glass.