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Existence of ferroelectric ice in the universe

Fukazawa, Hiroshi; Hoshikawa, Akinori; Ishii, Yoshinobu; Chakoumakos, B. C.*; Fernandez-Baca, J. A.*

Whether ferroelectric ice, named ice XI, exists in a stable low-temperature phase attracts much interest. This question arose as a condensed-matter issue, and became of interest in astronomy (e.g., does ice XI exist on Pluto?) because astronomical observations identified the existence of crystalline ice in our solar system. From neutron diffraction experiments, we found the temperature conditions for the transformation of the largest fraction of ice into ice XI using the lowest level of impurity dopant. The finding of bulk crystal of ordered structure firmly supports that ice XI is stable. This suggests the existence of naturally occurring ice XI at a narrow temperature range (57-66 K) in our solar system.

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Category:Astronomy & Astrophysics

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