A study has revealed new properties of water molecules


The experimental and theoretical study was dealing with dielectric properties of water molecules trapped in beryl crystals. Its crystal lattice provides nanoscopic regularly arranged sites where the trapped molecules can rotate. Unlike in liquid water, no hydrogen bonds are formed, but the molecules are interacting by their dipole moments. It has been proved that the molecules consequently tend to point in the same direction which implies producing a local electric field. Such an alignment could thus exist also in other substances and play a role in some processes involving water.

Water molecules, trapped at regular spacings of a few nanometers in a beryl crystal, turn around its six-fold symmetry axes (black arrows). The molecules' dipole moments (red arrows) interact among each other and, upon temperature lowering, they show a trend toward mutual ordering.