Density hysteresis of heavy water confined in a nanoporous silica matrix

Yang Zhang, Antonio Faraone, William A. Kamitakahara, Kao Hsiang Liu, Chung Yuan Mou, Juscelino B. Leão, Sung Chang, Sow Hsin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


A neutron scattering technique was developed to measure the density of heavy water confined in a nanoporous silica matrix in a temperature-pressure range, from 300 to 130 K and from 1 to 2,900 bars, where bulk water will crystalize. We observed a prominent hysteresis phenomenon in the measured density profiles between warming and cooling scans above 1,000 bars. We interpret this hysteresis phenomenon as support (although not a proof) of the hypothetical existence of a first-order liquid-liquid phase transition of water that would exist in the macroscopic system if crystallization could be avoided in the relevant phase region. Moreover, the density data we obtained for the confined heavy water under these conditions are valuable to large communities in biology and earth and planetary sciences interested in phenomena in which nanometer-sized water layers are involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12206-12211
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Jul 26 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Confined water
  • Equation of state
  • Liquid-liquid critical phenomenon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Density hysteresis of heavy water confined in a nanoporous silica matrix'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this