Single-walled carbon nanotubes act like tiny straws that are so narrow that water confined within cannot freeze into its normal crystal-like structure. In particular, in very thin nanotubes, water molecules align in a single-file manner. At room temperature, each molecule remains orientated in a random direction, creating a disordered chain. For the first time, scientists observed that at a cool 150 K, these molecules go through a quasiphase transition. In this transition, the molecules orient themselves in a highly structured, classically hydrogen-bonded arrangement.
Confined within tiny carbon nanotubes, extremely cold water molecules line up in a highly ordered chain