The distinctive character of water ice results from the partially disordered combination of covalent and hydrogen bonds in the network of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The nontrivial hydrogen correlations we report in diffuse neutron scattering are analytically fit via a description of this state as a topological system exhibiting an emergent gauge field. This allows for the density of correlation-terminating point defects to be determined as one defect per 500 oxygen sites at 30 K. Application of an analytical model of ice paves the way towards a detailed understanding of this ubiquitous solid.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics