The Structure of Confined Oxygen in Silica Xerogels

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Science  20 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5196, pp. 369-371
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5196.369


The microscopic structure of oxygen confined in silica xerogels has been studied as a function of temperature. In large pores, a crystalline solid forms with a structure consistent with that of the bulk. The size of the crystallites is much larger than the pore size, indicating that cooperative effects among pores are important in freezing. As the pore size is decreased, a crossover occurs where solidification results in an amorphous phase in the pores. The resulting amorphous phase is solid but is less ordered than the liquid phase.