The collaborative work of the experimental group from KIT (Germany) led by Alexei Kiselev with Philipp and Angelos has been published in Science.
In the paper, we explore how one of the most efficient ice nucleators in the atmosphere, feldspar, freezes water. Interestingly, ice crystals orient and align themselves in a very intriguing way when they form on this particular mineral. Using state-of-the-art SEM microscopy techniques, Alexei was able to take beautiful pictures under well-controlled conditions that show how macroscopic ice crystals grow on feldspar. Philipp was able to show – using his structure search approach in combination with classical force fields to – that the most likely explanation for this fascinating behaviour is the nucleation of the primary prism face of ice onto the high-energy (100) surface. Whilst this surface is only exposed in edges and cracks, it nevertheless seems to completely dominate ice nucleation on feldspar. For more details and some breath-taking images please have a look at the paper.