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Molecular probe dynamics reveals suppression of ice-like regions in strongly confined supercooled water

Banerjee, Debamalya and Bhat, Shrivalli N and Bhat, Subray V and Leporini, Dino (2012) Molecular probe dynamics reveals suppression of ice-like regions in strongly confined supercooled water. In: PLos One, 7 (9). e44382-1.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044382


The structure of the hydrogen bond network is a key element for understanding water's thermodynamic and kinetic anomalies. While ambient water is strongly believed to be a uniform, continuous hydrogen-bonded liquid, there is growing consensus that supercooled water is better described in terms of distinct domains with either a low-density ice-like structure or a high-density disordered one. We evidenced two distinct rotational mobilities of probe molecules in interstitial supercooled water of polycrystalline ice Banerjee D, et al. (2009) ESR evidence for 2 coexisting liquid phases in deeply supercooled bulk water. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106: 11448-11453]. Here we show that, by increasing the confinement of interstitial water, the mobility of probe molecules, surprisingly, increases. We argue that loose confinement allows the presence of ice-like regions in supercooled water, whereas a tighter confinement yields the suppression of this ordered fraction and leads to higher fluidity. Compelling evidence of the presence of ice-like regions is provided by the probe orientational entropy barrier which is set, through hydrogen bonding, by the configuration of the surrounding water molecules and yields a direct measure of the configurational entropy of the same. We find that, under loose confinement of supercooled water, the entropy barrier surmounted by the slower probe fraction exceeds that of equilibrium water by the melting entropy of ice, whereas no increase of the barrier is observed under stronger confinement. The lower limit of metastability of supercooled water is discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: PLos One
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to the Authors..
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2013 05:15
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2013 05:19
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/45393

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