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Статья

Incipient ferroelectricity of water molecules confined to nano-channels of beryl

Nature Communications. 2016. No. 7. P. 12842 .
Gorshunov B., Torgashev V., Zhukova E., Thomas V., Belyanchikov M., Kadlec C., Kadlec F., Savinov M., Ostapchuk T., Petzelt J., Prokleška J., Tomas P., Pestrjakov E., Fursenko D., Shakurov G., Prokhorov A., Gorelik V., Kadyrov L., Uskov V., Kremer R., Dressel M.

Water is characterized by large molecular electric dipole moments and strong interactions between molecules; however, hydrogen bonds screen the dipole-dipole coupling and suppress the ferroelectric order. The situation changes drastically when water is confined: in this case ordering of the molecular dipoles has been predicted, but never unambiguously detected experimentally. In the present study we place separate H 2 O molecules in the structural channels of a beryl single crystal so that they are located far enough to prevent hydrogen bonding, but close enough to keep the dipole-dipole interaction, resulting in incipient ferroelectricity in the water molecular subsystem. We observe a ferroelectric soft mode that causes Curie-Weiss behaviour of the static permittivity, which saturates below 10 K due to quantum fluctuations. The ferroelectricity of water molecules may play a key role in the functioning of biological systems and find applications in fuel and memory cells, light emitters and other nanoscale electronic devices.