Ordering of water in opals with different microstructures

Jürgen Eckert, Olivier Gourdon, Dorrit E. Jacob, Cagla Meral, Paulo J.M. Monteiro, Sven C. Vogel, Richard Wirth, Hans Rudolf Wenk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Opal has long fascinated scientists. It is one of the few minerals with an amorphous structure, and yet, compared to silica glass, it is highly organized on the mesoscale. By means of inelastic neutron scattering (INS), we could document that in four samples of opal at low temperature an ice-like structure of water is present, with details depending on microstructural characteristics. While FTIR spectra for all samples are nearly identical and thus not very informative, INS shows clear differences, highlighting the significance of microstructures. Neutron diffraction at 100 K on one of the opal samples provides evidence for crystalline cubic ice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Mineralogy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • FTIR
  • Inelastic neutron scattering
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Opal
  • TEM
  • Water


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