A molecular interpretation of vitreous boron oxide dynamics

Susan K. Fullerton, Janna K. Maranas

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6 Scopus citations


The mobility of vitreous boron oxide is studied by molecular dynamics simulation. A polarization model that incorporates induced dipoles arising both from charges and from other induced dipoles on atoms with nonzero polarizability is used to simulate boron oxide glass at various temperatures above the glass transition temperature. Particle mobility is investigated through the calculation of the self-intermediate scattering function and the mean-squared displacement. The calculations clearly reveal a two-step relaxation with a plateau at intermediate times for all investigated temperatures. With respect to atomic species, boron atoms are less mobile than oxygen atoms at all temperatures within the plateau region. Through analyzing particle trajectories, it is revealed that BO 3 groups move as one unit and follow each other in a stringlike manner. Three connected BO 3 groups comprise a six-membered boroxol ring, which is shown to move in a collective manner, requiring the simultaneous movement of all ring atoms. The boroxol ring is observed to be confined, or caged, during the plateau region, and jumps to a new location at longer times. This observation is linked to the concept of strong versus fragile glass formers and the potential energy landscape. In addition to the caging feature, an overshoot or dip occurs in the plateau regions of the mean-squared displacement and self-intermediate scattering functions respectively. These features are followed by a ringing pattern, previously associated with finite size effects in other strong glass formers, which persist for the duration of the plateau region. Both features are shown to be consistent with the bending of atomic "cages" from the plane of the boroxol ring, and arise due to the displacement of atoms from local minimum energy configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8562-8570
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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