skip to content

Materials Theory Group

 
Two Dimensional Ice from First Principles: Structures and Phase Transitions

Scientists at UCL and Cambridge predict new two-dimensional ice structures on the basis of state-of-the-art computer simulations.

A systematic computer simulation study has led to predictions about how water molecules freeze into a single layer of ice. These simulations, published in Physical Review Letters, reveal several models for 2D ice, including a hexagonal, a Cairo tiling pentagonal, a square and a rhombic structure. The new 2D ice structures, obtained on the basis of first principles simulations and unbiased structure search methods, extend the knowledge of ice in nature and are potentially important in understanding phenomena such as cloud microphysics and tribology.

The authors also predict a sequence of phase transitions that happens as a function of pressure and confinement, leading to the determination of a phase diagram of 2D ice. Overall this work provides a fresh perspective on 2D confined ice, highlighting the sensitivity of the structures formed to the confining pressure and confinement width. The observation of the flat square structure supports recent experimental observations of square ice confined within graphene sheets. The authors also discuss how other structures such as the Cairo tiling pentagonal structure may be observed by slightly altering the conditions used so far in experiments.

J. Chen, G. Schusteritsch, C.J. Pickard, C.G. Salzmann, and A. Michaelides, "Two Dimensional Ice from First Principles: Structures and Phase Transitions", Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 025501 – Published 13 January 2016 - DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.025501 

 

Latest news

Visualising potential energy surfaces using dimensionality reduction

25 November 2021

Computational structure prediction has emerged as a highly successful approach to the discovery of new materials. Candidate structures are created by constructing the most stable configurations that can be adopted by a given...

The elements of life under pressure

1 July 2021

First-principles structure prediction sheds light on high-pressure compounds formed from carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.

AIRSS for battery cathode materials

15 June 2021

A team of researchers at Cambridge and University College London have developed a computational framework for battery cathode exploration based on ab initio random structure searching.

Anatase-like Grain Boundary Structure in Rutile Titanium Dioxide

30 April 2021

A collaboration between researchers at Cambridge and AIMR has shed light on grain boundary structures in titania.

Physics World Breakthrough of the Year finalists for 2020

17 December 2020

A paper coauthored by Chris Pickard and Bartomeu Monserrat has been selected as a Top 10 finalist in Physics World's breakthroughs of the year for 2020.

An upper limit for the speed of sound

17 November 2020

A collaboration involving Bartomeu Monserrat and Chris Pickard was featured on both the University website and the Department website .

New fellowships for Chuck

17 November 2020

Congratulations to Chuck Witt, who began recently as a Schmidt Science Fellow and as a Junior Research Fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge! The Schmidt award is intended to catalyze new research directions and...