Neutron and X-Ray Diffraction of Glass

  • Laurent CormierEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


A basic characterization of amorphous materials is usually obtained using diffraction measurements. Indeed, amorphicity is revealed by the absence of sharp Bragg peaks in the angular diffraction pattern, signaling the lack of long-range order and periodicity. However, diffraction patterns obtained by scattering from x-rays, electrons or neutrons contain much more structural information, often overlooked, about the atomic organization of disordered materials. X-ray and neutron diffraction are pioneering tools to get information on the atomic arrangements of noncrystalline materials, alongside the older x-ray diffraction investigations [30.1, 30.2, 30.3], which are still routinely used as structural experimental techniques.

The success of diffraction methods is partly due to the fact that they give the most direct access to the atomic structure (in particular interatomic distances and coordination numbers), and diffraction data can be easily compared to simulations, which is widely used to validate interatomic potentials in molecular dynamics. Another advantage of this technique is that it probes both the short- and intermediate-range order, being very sensitive to the nature and extent of disorder in glasses and liquids, and is an essential probe to understand the structural differences between glasses and their crystalline counterparts. Finally, various environments have been developed, allowing high temperature and/or high pressure measurements to be carried out.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMPMCSorbonne University – CNRSParisFrance

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