Science ( IF 41.845 ) Pub Date : 2020-11-20 , DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9385 Kyung Hwan Kim, Katrin Amann-Winkel, Nicolas Giovambattista, Alexander Späh, Fivos Perakis, Harshad Pathak, Marjorie Ladd Parada, Cheolhee Yang, Daniel Mariedahl, Tobias Eklund, Thomas. J. Lane, Seonju You, Sangmin Jeong, Matthew Weston, Jae Hyuk Lee, Intae Eom, Minseok Kim, Jaeku Park, Sae Hwan Chun, Peter H. Poole, Anders Nilsson
We prepared bulk samples of supercooled liquid water under pressure by isochoric heating of high-density amorphous ice to temperatures of 205 ± 10 kelvin, using an infrared femtosecond laser. Because the sample density is preserved during the ultrafast heating, we could estimate an initial internal pressure of 2.5 to 3.5 kilobar in the high-density liquid phase. After heating, the sample expanded rapidly, and we captured the resulting decompression process with femtosecond x-ray laser pulses at different pump-probe delay times. A discontinuous structural change occurred in which low-density liquid domains appeared and grew on time scales between 20 nanoseconds to 3 microseconds, whereas crystallization occurs on time scales of 3 to 50 microseconds. The dynamics of the two processes being separated by more than one order of magnitude provides support for a liquid-liquid transition in bulk supercooled water.