Liquid-liquid phase transitions: a key to unlock the mystery of supercooling and glasses?
University of Glasgow
To explain the anomalous behaviour of liquid water, it was suggested that it could undergo a liquid–liquid phase transition at ~220 K between two amorphous phases. Unfortunately, this phase transition (if it exists) should lie in a region called “no man’s land” where the liquid is not in fact stable. This has led to a hunt for liquid–liquid phase transitions in other (molecular) liquids with remarkably little success. In my talk, I will present confocal fluorescence imaging studies of the only molecular liquid that does exhibit such a phase transition. The data reveal the local structures responsible for the transition and provide a much more general link to the phenomenon of supercooling and glass formation.