To explain the unusual stability of undercooled liquids against crystallization, Frank hypothesized that the local structures of undercooled liquids contain a significant degree of icosahedral short-range order, which is incompatible with long-range periodicity. We present here the first direct experimental demonstration of Frank’s complete hypothesis, showing a correlation between the nucleation barrier and a growing icosahedral short-range order with decreasing temperature in a liquid. A new experimental facility, BESL (Beamline Electrostatic Levitation), was developed to enable the synchrotron x-ray structural studies on deeply undercooled, reactive liquids.
- Received 23 December 2002
- Published 15 May 2003
© 2003 The American Physical Society