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Issue 6, 2011
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Pressure-amorphized cubic structure II clathrate hydrate: crystallization in slow motion

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Abstract

A range of techniques has so far been employed for producing amorphous aqueous solutions. In case of aqueous tetrahydrofuran (THF) this comprises hyperquenching of liquid droplets, vapour co-deposition and pressure-induced amorphization of the crystalline cubic structure II clathrate. All of these samples are thermally labile and crystallize at temperatures above 110 K. We here outline a variant of the pressure-amorphization protocol developed by Suzuki [Phys. Rev. B, 2004, 70, 172108], which results in a highly crystallization resistant amorphous THF hydrate. The hydrate produced according to our protocol (annealing to 180 K at 1.8 GPa rather than to 150 K at 1.5 GPa) does not transform to the cubic structure II THF clathrate even at 150 K. We track the reason for this higher stability to the presence of crystalline remnants when following the Suzuki protocol, which are removed when using our protocol involving higher pressures and an annealing step. These crystalline remnants later serve as crystallization seeds lowering the thermal stability of the amorphous sample. Our protocol thus makes a purely amorphous THF hydrate available to the research community. We use powder X-ray diffraction to study the process of nucleation and slow crystal growth in the temperature range 160–200 K and find that the local cage structure and periodicity of the fully crystalline hydrate develops even at the earliest stages of crystallization, when the “clathrate crystal” has a size of about two unit cells.

Graphical abstract: Pressure-amorphized cubic structure II clathrate hydrate: crystallization in slow motion

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Jul 2010, accepted on 26 Oct 2010 and first published on 22 Nov 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0CP01351J
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 2167-2171

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    Pressure-amorphized cubic structure II clathrate hydrate: crystallization in slow motion

    M. Bauer, D. M. Többens, E. Mayer and T. Loerting, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 2167
    DOI: 10.1039/C0CP01351J

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