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Title: Compressed glassy carbon maintaining graphite-like structure with linkage formation between graphene layers

Amorphous diamond, formed by high-pressure compression of glassy carbon, is of interests for new carbon materials with unique properties such as high compressive strength. Previous studies attributed the ultrahigh strength of the compressed glassy carbon to structural transformation from graphite-likesp2-bonded structure to diamond-likesp3-bonded structure. However, there is no direct experimental determination of the bond structure of the compressed glassy carbon, because of experimental challenges. Here we succeeded to experimentally determine pair distribution functions of a glassy carbon at ultrahigh pressures up to 49.0 GPa by utilizing our recently developed double-stage large volume cell. Our results show that the C-C-C bond angle in the glassy carbon remains close to 120°, which is the ideal angle for thesp2-bonded honey-comb structure, up to 49.0 GPa. Our data clearly indicate that the glassy carbon maintains graphite-like structure up to 49.0 GPa. In contrast, graphene interlayer distance decreases sharply with increasing pressure, approaching values of the second neighbor C-C distance above 31.4 GPa. Linkages between the graphene layers may be formed with such a short distance, but not in the form of tetrahedralsp3bond. The unique structure of the compressed glassy carbon may be the key to the ultrahigh strength.

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Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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