Dipole Aligned Solids - A Metastable Phase of Molecular Materials

Alexander Rosu-Finsen, Jerome Lasne, Andrew Cassidy, David Field, Martin R S McCoustra

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In recent years, observations of the presence of a spontaneous and powerful static electric field within thin films of molecular solids have been reported by Field and co-workers [1]. These electric fields, which can approach 10^8 V m-1 or more, are believed to arise from alignment of the molecular dipoles in the thin films. Seeking to provide an independent means of observing this phenomenon of the "spontelectric phase", the first new electrically unique, structural phase to have emerged in decades, we have used reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) to investigate thin films of nitrous oxide (N2O). The presence of a static electric field within the thin film, the defining characteristic of spontelectrics, is demonstrated through the observed temperature dependence of longitudinal-transverse optical (LO-TO) splitting in RAIR spectra, using an analysis based on the vibrational Stark effect [2]. Tentative evidence for the surface-templating of the growth of the spontelectric phase will be presented from RAIRS studies of solid carbon monoxide (CO) on a range of water substrates (porous amorphous solid water, compact amorphous solid water and crystalline water) [3].

[1] Spontaneous electric fields in solid films: spontelectrics. D. Field, O. Plekan, A. Cassidy, R. Balog, N.C. Jones and J. Dunger, Int. Rev. Phys. Chem., 2013, 32, 345-392.

[2] Spontaneously electrical solids in a new light. J. Lasne, A. Rosu-Finsen, A. Cassidy, M. R. S. McCoustra and D. Field, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., submitted.

[3] Templating dipole alignment in solid carbon monoxide on water ice surfaces. A. Rosu-Finsen, J. Lasne, A. Cassidy, D. Field and M. R. S. McCoustra, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., in preparation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication62nd International Symposium of the American Vacuum Society
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015
Event62nd International Symposium and Exhibition of American Vacuum Society - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 18 Oct 201523 Oct 2015


Conference62nd International Symposium and Exhibition of American Vacuum Society
Abbreviated titleAVS 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


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