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Existence of ferroelectric ice on planets; A Neutron diffraction study

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

We measured time-resolved neutron powder diffraction of ices doped with very small amounts of some catalysts using the wide-angle neutron diffractometer (WAND) at the High Flax Isotope Reactor (HFIR) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We succeeded in making ferroelectric ice, which prepared at high pressures (0.2 and 0.4 GPa), in a 60 to 75 K temperature range over tens hours. Neutron diffraction experiments confirmed the existence of a large ferroelectric structure in the sample. Therefore, thick surface (about 500 Km) of ferroelectric ice may exist on cold icy bodies, such as, Pluto and Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO). It suggests that about 70% of Pluto body is ferroelectric ice. Future telescope or planetary probe will be able to detect the huge ferroelectric-ice mass. In this symposium we report recent results at the HFIR and our future plan using higher intensity neutron beam.

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