Published Research - Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition, February 15, 2011. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1010310108 Copyright 2011 National Academy of Sciences, USA. Used by permission. Online at


Ferroelectric materials are characterized by spontaneous electric polarization that can be reversed by inverting an external electric field. Owing to their unique properties, ferroelectric materials have found broad applications in microelectronics, computers, and transducers. Water molecules are dipolar and thus ferroelectric alignment of water molecules is conceivable when water freezes into special forms of ice. Although the ferroelectric ice XI has been proposed to exist on Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, evidence of a fully protonordered ferroelectric ice is still elusive. To date, existence of ferroelectric ice with partial ferroelectric alignment has been demonstrated only in thin films of ice grown on platinum surfaces or within microdomains of alkali-hydroxide doped ice I. Here we report a unique structure of quasi-one-dimensional (H2O)12n wire confined to a 3D supramolecular architecture of [CuI2CuII (CDTA) (4,4'-bpy)2]n H4 CDTA, trans-1,2-diaminocyclohexane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid; 4,4′-bpy, 4,4′-bipyridine). In stark contrast to the bulk, this 1D water wire not only exhibits enormous dielectric anomalies at approximately 175 and 277 K, respectively, but also undergoes a spontaneous transition between “1D liquid” and “1D ferroelectric ice” at approximately 277 K. Hitherto unrevealed properties of the 1D water wire will be valuable to the understanding of anomalous properties ofwater and synthesis of novel ferroelectric materials.

Supporting information, data sets 1-6, and a movie are attached (below) as "Additional files."

Zeng PNAS 2011 Transition one-dimensional suppl.pdf (521 kB)
Figs. S1 - S3

SD01.txt (17 kB)
Data set 01

SD02.txt (17 kB)
Data set 02

SD03.txt (16 kB)
Data set 03

SD04.txt (15 kB)
Data set 04

SD05.txt (15 kB)
Data set 05

SD06.txt (15 kB)
Data set 06

SM01.mpg (5672 kB)

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