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An apparently first-order transition between two amorphous phases of ice induced by pressure


We recently reported1 a transition from ice Ih to a high-density amorphous phase at 10 kbar, 77 K. Here we report that low-density amorphous ice (density 0.94 g cm−3) compressed at 77 K transforms to high-density amorphous ice (1.19 g cm−3 at zero pressure) at a sharp transition at 6±0.5 kbar. The transition is at least as sharp as the previously reported1 transition and strongly resembles a first-order transition in its sharpness and large volume change. It appears to be the first example of an apparently first-order transition between amorphous solids and has implications not only for our understanding of the behaviour of condensed matter, but also for theories of planetary interiors.

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Mishima, O., Calvert, L. & Whalley, E. An apparently first-order transition between two amorphous phases of ice induced by pressure. Nature 314, 76–78 (1985).

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