Anomalously large isotope effect in the glass transition of water

Catalin Gainaru, Alexander L. Agapov, Violeta Fuentes-Landete, Katrin Amann-Winkel, Helge Nelson, Karsten W. Köster, Alexander I. Kolesnikov, Vladimir N. Novikov, Ranko Richert, Roland Böhmer, Thomas Loerting, Alexei P. Sokolov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We present the discovery of an unusually large isotope effect in the structural relaxation and the glass transition temperature Tg of water. Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy of low-density as well as of vapor-deposited amorphous water reveal Tg differences of 10 ± 2 K between H2O and D2O, sharply contrasting with other hydrogen- bonded liquids for which H/D exchange increases Tg by typically less than 1 K. We show that the large isotope effect and the unusual variation of relaxation times in water at low temperatures can be explained in terms of quantum effects. Thus, our findings shed new light on water's peculiar low-temperature dynamics and the possible role of quantum effects in its structural relaxation, and possibly in dynamics of other low-molecularweight liquids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17402-17407
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 9 2014


  • Amorphous ice
  • Dynamics of water
  • Glass transition
  • Isotope effect
  • Quantum effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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