Electron-beam induced amorphization of stishovite: Silicon-coordination change observed using Si K-edge extended electron energy-loss fine structure

P. A. Van Aken, Thomas Sharp, F. Seifert

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20 Scopus citations


The analysis of the extended energy-loss fine structure (EXELFS) of the Si K-edge for sixfold-coordinated Si in synthetic stishovite and fourfold-coordinated Si in natural α-quartz is reported by using electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) in combination with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The stishovite Si K-edge EXELFS spectra were measured as a time-dependent series to document irradiation-induced amorphization. The amorphization was also investigated through the change in Si K- and O K-edge energy-loss near edge structure (ELNES). For α-quartz, in contrast to stishovite, electron irradiation-induced vitrification, verified by selected area electron diffraction (SAED), produced no detectable changes of the EXELFS. The Si K-edge EXELFS were analysed with the classical extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) treatment and compared to ab initio curve-waved multiple-scattering (MS) calculations of EXAFS spectra for stishovite and α-quartz. Highly accurate information on the local atomic environment of the silicon atoms during the irradiation-induced amorphization of stishovite is obtained from the EXELFS structure parameters (Si - O bond distances, coordination numbers and Debye-Waller factors). The mean Si - O bond distance R and mean Si coordination number N changes from A=0.1775 nm and N=6 for stishovite through a disordered intermediate state (R≈0.172nm and N≈5) to R≈0.167 nm and N≈4.5 for a nearly amorphous state similar to α-quartz (R=O. 1609 nm and N=4). During the amorphization process, the Debye-Waller factor (DWF) passes through a maximum value of σN2 ≈ 83.8 pm2 as it changes from σst2 = 51.8 pm2 for sixfold to σqu2 = 18.4 pm2 for fourfold coordination of Si. This increase in Debye-Waller factor indicates an increase in mean-square relative displacement (MSRD) between the central silicon atom and its oxygen neighbours that is consistent with the presence of an intermediate structural state with fivefold coordination of Si. The distribution of coordination states can be estimated by modelling the amorphization as a decay process. Using the EXELFS data for amorphization, a new method is developed to derive the relative amounts of Si coordinations in high-pressure minerals with mixed coordination. For the radiation-induced amorphization process of stishovite the formation of a transitory structure with Si largely in fivefold coordination is deduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of Minerals
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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