Nature 437, 1057 (13 October 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04183

Retraction: Formation of zirconium metallic glass

Jianzhong Zhang & Yusheng Zhao

Nature 430, 332–335 (2004)

In this Letter, we concluded, primarily on the basis of energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction, that metallic glass could be formed in pure zirconium under high pressure and temperature conditions. However, careful observations using an angular-dispersive method and imaging-plate detector, together with X-ray-transparent anvils (H. Saitoh, T. Hattori, H. Kaneko, Y. Okajima and W. Utsumi, unpublished results), have revealed that our conclusion was in error. We are now convinced that the disappearance of diffraction lines of zirconium observed in our energy-dispersive experiments should be interpreted instead as rapid crystal growth at temperatures above that of the omegabeta phase transformation.

 Our original misinterpretation was partly due to our assumption that significant crystalline growth could not occur at temperatures of less than one-third of the melting point of zirconium. To a greater extent, it was a result of the limitations of the experimental techniques then available, which only allowed viewing of a very narrow window of Debye diffraction rings and therefore increased the probability of missing the Bragg spots. The state-of-the-art techniques used by Saitoh et al. at the Synchrotron Radiation Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Institute, Hyogo, are superior for high-pressure research on non-crystalline materials.

We thank our Japanese colleagues for their careful work and for inviting us to observe their high pressure and temperature synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments at beamline BL14B1 of SPring-8.