Greenhouse Glass: Squeezing and heating carbon dioxide yields exotic, see-through solid

12:31pm, June 14, 2006

As ordinary citizens wring their hands over global warming from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, scientists are wringing new chemical insights from the usually gaseous compound. In the latest extreme exploration, researchers in Italy have for the first time forged solid glass from carbon dioxide.

Mario Santoro and Federico A. Gorelli of the University of Florence and their colleagues made the glass, dubbed carbonia, by intensely squeezing dry ice—a crystalline arrangement of carbon dioxide molecules—between diamond jaws and heating it in a furnace. The severe conditions produce a disorderly, non-molecular arrangement of carbon and oxygen atoms linked by single bonds, Santoro says, instead of carbon dioxide's typical molecular configuration—a carbon atom double-bonded to each of two oxygen atoms.

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