What is it about?

A 'water wire' is a linear chain of water molecules. This unique structure is found in a porous mineral called bikitaite. We nicknamed the water chain 'one-dimensional ice' because of its stability inside the porous host. At ambient temperature, the behaviour of the water wire is more similar to ice than to liquid water: the molecules do not diffuse, and the linear chain is maintained. In this work, we wanted to understand why this peculiar water wire is stable inside bikitaite.

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Why is it important?

We explained why this porous material can stabilize this unique water wire: each pore fits the water chain like a glove, and there are favorable interactions between the chain and the host material.


The fabrication of nano-wires confined in porous matrices is an exciting area for many technological applications. It is very important to understand how these species can be introduced and stabilized in a porous material like a zeolite. A first step in this direction may be to reveal how nature works. That's what we did by studying the water wires naturally confined inside this mineral.

Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Dipolar host/guest interactions and geometrical confinement at the basis of the stability of one-dimensional ice in zeolite bikitaite, The Journal of Chemical Physics, July 1999, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/1.479277.
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