May 24, 2023
Journal Article

Dynamic Heterogeneity and Kovacs' Memory Effects in Supercooled Water


Understanding the properties of supercooled water is important for developing a comprehensive theory for liquid water and amorphous ices. Because of rapid crystallization for deeply supercooled water, experiments on it are typically done in conditions in which the temperature and/or pressure are rapidly changing. As a result, information on the structural relaxation kinetics of supercooled water as it approaches (metastable) equilibrium are useful for interpreting results obtained in this experimentally challenging region of phase space. We used infrared spectroscopy and the fast time resolution obtained by transiently heating nanoscale water films to investigate relaxation kinetics (aging) in supercooled water. When the structural relaxation of the water films was followed using a temperature jump protocol analogous to the classic experiments of Kovacs, similar memory effects were observed. In particular, after suitable aging at one temperature, water’s structure displayed an extremum versus the number of heat pulses upon changing to a second temperature before eventually relaxing to a steady state structure characteristic of that temperature. A random double well model based on the idea of dynamic heterogeneity in supercooled water accounts for the observations.

Published: May 24, 2023


Kringle L.M., B.D. Kay, and G.A. Kimmel. 2023. Dynamic Heterogeneity and Kovacs' Memory Effects in Supercooled Water. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 127, no. 17:3919–3930. PNNL-SA-182629. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcb.3c01465

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