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Issue 9, 2019
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Ice crystallization observed in highly supercooled confined water

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We investigate the state of water confined in the cylindrical pores of MCM-41 type mesoporous silica, with pore diameters of 2.8 nm and 4.5 nm, over the temperature range 160–290 K by combining small angle neutron scattering and wide angle diffraction. This allows us to observe simultaneously the intermolecular correlations in the local water structure (which shows up in a main water peak around Q = 1.7 Å−1), the two-dimensional hexagonal arrangement of water cylinders in the silica matrix (which gives rise to a pronounced Bragg peak around Q = 0.2 Å−1), and the so-called Porod scattering at smaller Q, which arises from larger scale interfacial scattering within the material. In the literature, the temperature evolution of the intensity of the Bragg peak has been interpreted as the signature of a density minimum in confined water at approximately 210 K. Here we show that, under the conditions of our experiment, a fraction of freezable water coexists with a layer of non-freezable water within the pore volume. The overall temperature dependence of our data in the different Q regions, as well as the comparison of the data for the two pore sizes, leads us to conclude that the observed variation in the intensity of the Bragg diffraction peak is actually caused by a liquid to ice transition in the freezable fraction of confined water.

Graphical abstract: Ice crystallization observed in highly supercooled confined water

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Dec 2018, accepted on 07 Feb 2019 and first published on 08 Feb 2019

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP07585A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019,21, 4931-4938

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    Ice crystallization observed in highly supercooled confined water

    E. Stefanutti, L. E. Bove, G. Lelong, M. A. Ricci, A. K. Soper and F. Bruni, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, 21, 4931
    DOI: 10.1039/C8CP07585A

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