The behaviors of various amorphous materials are characterized at high pressures to deduce phase transitions, coordination changes, densification, and other structural or electronic alterations in the system. Alongside, improvements on high pressure techniques are presented to measure equations of state of glassy materials and probe liquids using in-situ high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 27Al NMR is used to quantify coordination changes in CaAl2O4 glass pressure cycled to 16 GPa. The structure and coordination environments remain unchanged up to 8 GPa at which 93% of the recovered glass exists as 4-fold Al, whereas the remaining population exists as [5,6]Al. Upon densification, [5,6]Al comprise nearly 30% of observed Al, most likely through the generation of 3-coordinated oxygen. A method to determine the volumetric equation of state of amorphous solids using optical microscopy in a diamond anvil cell is also described. The method relies on two dimensional image acquisition and analysis to quantify changes in the projected image area with compression. The area analysis method is used to determine the compression of cubic crystals, yielding results in good agreement with diffraction and volumetric measurements. A NMR probe capable of reaching 3 GPa is built to understand the nature of magnetic field gradients and improve upon the resolution of high pressure studies conducted in a diamond anvil cell. Field gradients in strength up to 6 G/cm are caused largely by mismatches in the magnetic susceptibility between the sample and gasket, which is proven to shift the chemical shift distribution by use of several different metallic gaskets. Polyamorphic behavior in triphenyl phosphite is studied at pressures up to 0.7 GPa to elucidate the formation of the glacial phase at high pressures. A perceived liquid-liquid phase transition is shown to follow a positive Clapeyron slope, and closely follows the predicted glass transition line up to 0.4 GPa and temperatures below 270 K. A drastic change in morphology is indicative of a transformation from liquid I to liquid II and followed by optical microscopy.
- Characterizing pressure induced structural changes in glasses and liquids
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by Samrat A. Amin