Abnormal phase transition between two-dimensional high-density liquid crystal and low-density crystalline solid phases

Wenbin Li, Longjuan Kong, Baojie Feng, Huixia Fu, Hui Li, Xiao Cheng Zeng, Kehui Wu, Lan Chen

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3 Scopus citations


Some two-dimensional liquid systems are theoretically predicted to have an anomalous phase transition due to unique intermolecular interactions, for example the first-order transition between two-dimensional high-density water and low-density amorphous ice. However, it has never been experimentally observed, to the best of our knowledge. Here we report an entropy-driven phase transition between a high-density liquid crystal and low-density crystalline solid, directly observed by scanning tunneling microscope in carbon monoxide adsorbed on Cu(111). Combined with first principle calculations, we find that repulsive dipole-dipole interactions between carbon monoxide molecules lead to unconventional thermodynamics. This finding of unconventional thermodynamics in two-dimensional carbon monoxide not only provides a platform to study the fundamental principles of anomalous phase transitions in two-dimensional liquids at the atomic scale, but may also help to design and develop more efficient copper-based catalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number198
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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