Frustration of crystallisation by a liquid–crystal phase

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Syme, Christopher D. ; Mosses, Joanna ; González-Jiménez, Mario ; Shebanova, Olga ; Walton, Finlay ; Wynne, Klaas (2017)
  • Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
  • Journal: Scientific Reports, volume 7 (issn: 2045-2322, eissn: 2045-2322)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1038/srep42439, pmc: PMC5314399
  • Subject: Article
    arxiv: Condensed Matter::Disordered Systems and Neural Networks | Condensed Matter::Soft Condensed Matter | Physics::Fluid Dynamics | Physics::Chemical Physics

Frustration of crystallisation by locally favoured structures is critically important in linking the phenomena of supercooling, glass formation, and liquid-liquid transitions. Here we show that the putative liquid-liquid transition in n-butanol is in fact caused by geometric frustration associated with an isotropic to rippled lamellar liquid-crystal transition. Liquid-crystal phases are generally regarded as being “in between” the liquid and the crystalline state. In contrast, the liquid-crystal phase in supercooled n-butanol is found to inhibit transformation to the crystal. The observed frustrated phase is a template for similar ordering in other liquids and likely to play an important role in supercooling and liquid-liquid transitions in many other molecular liquids.
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