Transition from one-dimensional water to ferroelectric ice within a supramolecular architecture

Hai Xia Zhao, Xiang Jian Kong, Hui Li, Yi Chang Jin, La Sheng Long, Xiao Cheng Zeng, Rong Bin Huang, Lan Sun Zheng

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96 Scopus citations


Ferroelectric materials are characterized by spontaneous electric polarization that can be reversed by inverting an external electric field. Owing to their unique properties, ferroelectric materials have found broad applications in microelectronics, computers, and transducers. Water molecules are dipolar and thus ferroelectric alignment of water molecules is conceivable when water freezes into special forms of ice. Although the ferroelectric ice XI has been proposed to exist on Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, evidence of a fully proton-ordered ferroelectric ice is still elusive. To date, existence of ferroelectric ice with partial ferroelectric alignment has been demonstrated only in thin films of ice grown on platinum surfaces or within microdomains of alkali-hydroxide doped ice I. Here we report a unique structure of quasi-one-dimensional (H2O)12n wire confined to a 3D supramolecular architecture of [CuI2CuII(CDTA) (4,4′-bpy)2]n H4CDTA, trans-1,2-diaminocyclohexane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid; 4,4′-bpy, 4,4′-bipyridine). In stark contrast to the bulk, this 1D water wire not only exhibits enormous dielectric anomalies at approximately 175 and 277 K, respectively, but also undergoes a spontaneous transition between "1D liquid" and "1D ferroelectric ice" at approximately 277 K. Hitherto unrevealed properties of the 1D water wire will be valuable to the understanding of anomalous properties ofwater and synthesis of novel ferroelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3481-3486
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • Ab initio molecular dynamics
  • Phase transition
  • Supramolecular nanochannel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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