Stewart, Andrew; Chadderton, Lewis; Senior, Brian
It is proposed that primary nucleation of amorphous microspherulites of hydrated silica in natural proto-precious-opal can be followed by a long range superlattice ordering process by means of electrostatic self-assembly. Necessary conditions in the thermodynamics are a high surface charge density on microspherulite surfaces, a long Debye length and an appropriate number density of nucleation centres. A further chemical requirement is a high alkaline environmental pH ∼9-10. It is also proposed...[Show more]
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