PerspectiveChemistry

Polymorphism in Liquids

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Science  29 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5697, pp. 820-821
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104417

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Summary

Some solid compounds can exist in two or more "polymorphs" with different atomic structures but the same chemical composition. Similar behavior has been observed for glasses and liquids, where the phenomenon is termed "polyamorphism." In their Perspective, Yarger and Wolf highlight the reports by Katayama et al. and Tanaka et al., who have observed polymorphism between two different liquids in phosphorus and triphenyl phosphite, respectively. This observation in single-component systems is unusual and sheds light on the thermodynamics of liquid-liquid phase transitions.

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