Formation of Cyclic Water Hexamer in Liquid Helium: The Smallest Piece of Ice

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Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 293-295
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.293

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The cyclic water hexamer, a higher energy isomer than the cage structure previously characterized in the gas phase, was formed in liquid helium droplets and studied with infrared spectroscopy. This isomer is formed selectively as a result of unique cluster growth processes in liquid helium. The experimental results indicate that the cyclic hexamer is formed by insertion of water molecules into smaller preformed cyclic complexes and that the rapid quenching provided by the liquid helium inhibits its rearrangement to the more stable cage structure.

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