High-Density Liquid Water at a Water-Ice Interface


Because ice surfaces catalyze various key chemical reactions impacting nature and human life, the structure and dynamics of interfacial layers between water vapor and ice have been extensively debated with attention to the quasi-liquid layer. Other interfaces between liquid water and ice remain relatively underexplored, despite their importance and abundance on the Earth and icy extraterrestrial bodies. By in situ optical microscopy, we found that a high-density liquid layer, distinguishable from bulk water, formed at the interface between water and high-pressure ice III or VI, when they were grown or melted in a sapphire anvil cell. The liquid layer showed a bicontinuous pattern, indicating that immiscible waters with distinct structures were separated on the interfaces in a similar manner to liquid-liquid phase separation through spinodal decomposition. Our observations not only provide a novel opportunity to explore ice surfaces but also give insight into the two kinds of structured water.



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