Experimental Observation of Mesoscopic Fluctuations to Identify Origin of Thermodynamic Anomalies of Ambient Liquid Water
We report a new experimental approach for observing mesoscopic fluctuations underlying the thermodynamic anomalies of ambient liquid water. In this approach, two sound velocity measurements with different frequencies, namely inelastic X-ray scattering (IXS) in THz band and ultrasonic (US) in MHz band, are required to investigate the relaxation phenomenon with the characteristic frequency between the two aforementioned frequencies. We performed IXS measurements to obtain the IXS sound velocity of liquid water from the ambient conditions to the supercritical region of liquid-gas phase transition (LGT) and compared the results with the US sound velocity in the literature. We found that the ratio of the two sound velocities, Sf, which corresponds to the relaxation intensity, exhibits a simple but significant change. Two distinct rises were observed in the high-temperature and low-temperature regions, implying that two relaxation phenomena exist: in the high-temperature region, a peak was observed near the LGT critical ridge line, which was linked with changes in the density fluctuation and isochoric and isobaric specific heat capacities; in the low-temperature region, Sf increased toward the low-temperature region, which was linked with the change in the isochoric heat capacity. We concluded that these two relaxation phenomena are originated from critical fluctuations of liquid-gas phase transition (LGT) and liquid-liquid phase transition, respectively. The linkage between Sf and isochoric heat capacity in the low-temperature region proves that the relaxation is the cause of the well-known heat capacity anomaly of ambient liquid water. In this study, both LGT and LLT critical fluctuations were observed, and the relationship between thermodynamics and the critical fluctuations was comprehensively discussed.