We investigate the large-scale structure of amorphous ices and transitions between their different forms by quantifying their large-scale density fluctuations. Specifically, we simulate the isothermal compression of low-density amorphous ice (LDA) and hexagonal ice to produce high-density amorphous ice (HDA). Both HDA and LDA are nearly hyperuniform; i.e., they are characterized by an anomalous suppression of large-scale density fluctuations. By contrast, in correspondence with the nonequilibrium phase transitions to HDA, the presence of structural heterogeneities strongly suppresses the hyperuniformity and the system becomes hyposurficial (devoid of "surface-area fluctuations"). Our investigation challenges the largely accepted "frozen-liquid" picture, which views glasses as structurally arrested liquids. Beyond implications for water, our findings enrich our understanding of pressure-induced structural transformations in glasses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)