One-dimensional water nanowires induced by electric fields

W Zhao and HS Huang and QL Bi and YJ Xu and YJ Lu, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 21, 19414-19422 (2019).

DOI: 10.1039/c9cp02788b

Self-aggregation of water vapour molecules under external electric fields is systemically investigated by using molecular dynamics simulations. It is found that small water clusters aggregate into one- dimensional water nanowires along the electric field direction. The electric field strength plays a crucial role in tuning the nanowire structure. Under relatively weak electric fields such as E = 0.1 V angstrom(-1), square and pentagonal prism-like structures are preferred; when intermediate strength electric fields are applied (E = 1.0 V angstrom(-1)), water nanowires featuring a disordered mixture of four-, five- and six-membered rings are formed; and an open ordered structure which is reminiscent of two-dimensional (2D) ice is observed when the field strength becomes very high (E > 3.0 V angstrom(-1)). Bond parameter analysis based on density-functional theory calculations shows that the electric field affects anisotropically the conformation of water molecules as well as the hydrogen-bond properties. Along the electric field, the H-O bond is stretched and the hydrogen bond shrinks with field strength in contrast to the changes perpendicular to the electric field. As a result, the hydrogen bonding is enhanced along the electric field. Under very high electric fields, the anisotropic hydrogen-bond network opens up via breaking of the bonds perpendicular to the electric field and ultimately relaxes into a loose quasi-2D ordered network.

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