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High-Density Amorphous Ice, the Frost on Interstellar Grains
Jenniskens, P.; Blake, D. F.; Wilson, M. A.; Pohorille, A.
AA(NASA Ames Research Center), AB(NASA Ames Research Center), AC(NASA Ames Research Center), AD(NASA Ames Research Center)
The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 455, p. 389 (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Density (Mass/Volume), Amorphous Materials, Ice, Frost, Interstellar Matter, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmic Dust, Crystallinity, Electron Diffraction, Hydrogen Bonds, Molecular Dynamics, Radicals, Shapes, Trapping, Universe, Vapor Deposition, Water
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Most water ice in the universe is in a form which does not occur naturally on Earth and of which only minimal amounts have been made in the laboratory. We have encountered this 'high-density amorphous ice' in electron diffraction experiments of low-temperature (T < 30 K) vapor-deposited water and have subsequently modeled its structure using molecular dynamics simulations. The characteristic feature of high-density amorphous ice is the presence of 'interstitial' oxygen pair distances between 3 and 4 Å. However, we find that the structure is best described as a collapsed lattice of the more familiar low-density amorphous form. These distortions are frozen in at temperatures below 38 K because, we propose, it requires the breaking of one hydrogen bond, on average, per molecule to relieve the strain and to restructure the lattice to that of low-density amorphous ice. Several features of astrophysical ice analogs studied in laboratory experiments are readily explained by the structural transition from high-density amorphous ice into low-density amorphous ice. Changes in the shape of the 3.07 mum water band, trapping efficiency of CO, CO loss, changes in the CO band structure, and the recombination of radicals induced by low-temperature UV photolysis all covary with structural changes that occur in the ice during this amorphous to amorphous transition. While the 3.07 micrometers ice band in various astronomical environments can be modeled with spectra of simple mixtures of amorphous and crystalline forms, the contribution of the high-density amorphous form nearly always dominates.

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