Using an X-ray laser, we investigated the crystal structure of ice formed by homogeneous ice nucleation in deeply supercooled water nanodrops (r ≈ 10 nm) at ∼225 K. The nanodrops were formed by condensation of vapor in a supersonic nozzle, and the ice was probed within 100 μs of freezing using femtosecond wide-angle X-ray scattering at the Linac Coherent Light Source free-electron X-ray laser. The X-ray diffraction spectra indicate that this ice has a metastable, predominantly cubic structure; the shape of the first ice diffraction peak suggests stacking-disordered ice with a cubicity value, X, in the range of 0.78 ± 0.05. The cubicity value determined here is higher than those determined in experiments with micron-sized drops but comparable to those found in molecular dynamics simulations. The high cubicity is most likely caused by the extremely low freezing temperatures and by the rapid freezing, which occurs on a ∼1 μs time scale in single nanodroplets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry