Room temperature electrofreezing of water yields a missing dense ice phase in the phase diagram

Weiduo Zhu, Yingying Huang, Chongqin Zhu, Hong Hui Wu, Lu Wang, Jaeil Bai, Jinlong Yang, Joseph S. Francisco, Jijun Zhao, Lan Feng Yuan, Xiao Cheng Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Water can freeze into diverse ice polymorphs depending on the external conditions such as temperature (T) and pressure (P). Herein, molecular dynamics simulations show evidence of a high-density orthorhombic phase, termed ice χ, forming spontaneously from liquid water at room temperature under high-pressure and high external electric field. Using free-energy computations based on the Einstein molecule approach, we show that ice χ is an additional phase introduced to the state-of-the-art T–P phase diagram. The χ phase is the most stable structure in the high-pressure/low-temperature region, located between ice II and ice VI, and next to ice V exhibiting two triple points at 6.06 kbar/131.23 K and 9.45 kbar/144.24 K, respectively. A possible explanation for the missing ice phase in the T–P phase diagram is that ice χ is a rare polarized ferroelectric phase, whose nucleation/growth occurs only under very high electric fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1925
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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