High electric fields elucidate the hydrogen-bonded structures in 1-phenyl-1-propanol

Jan Philipp Gabriel, Erik Thoms, Ranko Richert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


High electric fields are applied to illuminate the role of hydrogen bonding in the dielectric relaxation of 1-phenyl-1-propanol (1P1P). Unlike many other monohydroxy alcohols, 1P1P is not associated with a strong distinct Debye loss peak, which would indicate chain-like hydrogen-bonded structures. We exploit the feature that a high field induced enhancement of the dielectric constant indicates a shift of the thermodynamic equilibrium towards more polar (e.g., chain-like) structures. This so-called ‘chemical effect’ rests on a field-induced lowering of the free energy of the more polar species, thus shifting the equilibrium towards a higher dielectric constant. We demonstrate that an external electrical field of EB = 245 kV cm−1 increases the amplitude of the Debye peak, whereas that of the remaining loss profile remains constant. This indicates the coexistence of chain-like and less polar structures in supercooled 1P1P and helps to discriminate the Debye process from the signature of the primary structural relaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115626
JournalJournal of Molecular Liquids
StatePublished - May 15 2021


  • Alcohol
  • Dielectric
  • Glass dielectric relaxation
  • Glasses
  • Hydrogen-bonding
  • Kirkwood correlation factor
  • Monohydroxy alcohols
  • Nonlinear dielectric effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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