Orientational order of liquids and glasses via fluctuation diffraction
PublisherInternational Union of Crystallography
University of Melbourne Author/sMartin, Andrew
AffiliationSchool of Physics
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMartin, A. V. (2017). Orientational order of liquids and glasses via fluctuation diffraction. IUCrJ, 4 (Pt 1), pp.24-36. https://doi.org/10.1107/S2052252516016730.
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/DE140100624
Liquids, glasses and other amorphous matter lack long-range order, which makes them notoriously difficult to study. Local atomic order is partially revealed by measuring the distribution of pairwise atomic distances, but this measurement is insensitive to orientational order and unable to provide a complete picture of diverse amorphous phenomena, such as supercooling and the glass transition. Fluctuation scattering with electrons and X-rays is able provide this orientational sensitivity, but it is difficult to obtain clear structural interpretations of fluctuation data. Here we show that the interpretation of fluctuation diffraction data can be simplified by converting it into a real-space angular distribution function. We calculate this function from simulated diffraction of amorphous nickel, generated with a classical molecular dynamics simulation of the quenching of a high temperature liquid state. We compare the results of the amorphous case to the initial liquid state and to the ideal f.c.c. lattice structure of nickel. We show that the extracted angular distributions are rich in information about orientational order and bond angles. The diffraction fluctuations are potentially measurable with electron sources and also with the brightest X-ray sources, like X-ray free-electron lasers.
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