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Sandia Scientists Capture Ice Growth at the Nanoscale [Slide Show]

A modified scanning tunneling microscope reveals ice crystal patterns as they grow
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ICE NINE:

The entire platinum sample is covered when the ice thickens to nine nanometers. Just a few pinholes reaching down to the original wetting layer remain.....[ More ]

ATOMIC TERRACE:

At a total film thickness of four nanometers, most channels are filled in and atomically flat terraces up to 200 nanometers wide form.....[ More ]

MINI MAZE:

More condensation freezes and the average thickness of the ice grows to 1.5 nanometers. All of the mini crystals merge into a labyrinthine pattern, with the dark channels indicating the original ice film layer.....[ More ]

HEXAGONS:

Once ice (from the condensation) completely covers the platinum surface, three-dimensional, hexagon-shaped mini crystals start to form. These two- to three-nanometer-thick crystals are surrounded by the original ice film layer, which now appears black.....[ More ]

ONE ATOM DEEP:

All solid surfaces are uneven at the microscopic level. When more water is deposited the irregular ice patches from the first slide expand and merge until the one-molecule layer covers the entire surface.....[ More ]

ON THIN ICE:

Sandia researchers use a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to study ice-film morphology in greater detail than ever before. At 140 kelvins (–208 degrees Fahrenheit or –133 Celsius), water deposited on a platinum surface forms irregular one-molecule-thick patches.....[ More ]

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