Condensation of Nonequilibrium Phases of Refractory Silicates from the Vapor

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Science  20 Oct 1978:
Vol. 202, Issue 4365, pp. 307-308
DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4365.307


Silicon monoxide solid was evaporated in a bell jar containing reducing, neutral, or oxidizing atmospheres at pressures of a few torr. The vapor invariably condensed as smoke-sized particles of silicon sesquioxide, Si2O3. The condensation of a solid whose composition differs from that of the parent gas and is apparently the least stable of the three solid species illustrates the importance of specific nucleation effects in the condensation process. This result has significant implications for theories of formation of grains in space.