Ice is born in low-mobility regions of supercooled liquid water

When an ice crystal is born from liquid water, two key changes occur: (i) The molecules order and (ii) the mobility of the molecules drops as they adopt their lattice positions. Most research on ice nucleation (and crystallization in general) has focused on understanding the former with less attention paid to the latter. However, supercooled water exhibits fascinating and complex dynamical behavior, most notably dynamical heterogeneity (DH), a phenomenon where spatially separated domains of relatively mobile and immobile particles coexist. Strikingly, the microscopic connection between the DH of water and the nucleation of ice has yet to be unraveled directly at the molecular level. Here we tackle this issue via computer simulations which reveal that (i) ice nucleation occurs in low-mobility regions of the liquid, (ii) there is a dynamical incubation period in which the mobility of the molecules drops before any ice-like ordering, and (iii) ice-like clusters cause arrested dynamics in surrounding water molecules. With this we establish a clear connection between dynamics and nucleation. We anticipate that our findings will pave the way for the examination of the role of dynamical heterogeneities in heterogeneous and solution-based nucleation.

 

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DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817135116

News

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Angelos has been awarded the RSC Surfaces and Interfaces Award!

Angelos has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Surfaces and Interfaces Award, for “outstanding contributions towards the understanding of complex aqueous interfaces and the formation of ice at such interfaces.” More information can be found here: https://www.rsc.org/awards-funding/awards/2020-winners/ Congratulations Angelos!

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New Humboldt-Fellow in the group

Julia was successful in her application for an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship and will continue her work in the ICE group with the Feodor Lynen Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as of 1st June 2020. Congratulations Julia!  

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The ICE group is moving!

Angelos has accepted a position in Cambridge, and so the ICE group is moving! It’s going to be a reasonably slow multi-year phase transition. You can find more information in the official announcement. Congratulations, Angelos, and all the best for this exciting new opportunity!

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Angelos appears on Clarivate’s ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ list!

Angelos has appeared on Clarivate’s ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ list for the second year in a row. Inclusion on the list is based on the number of recent publications that ranked in the top 1% by citations in a given field and year. For further details see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/nov/ucl-academics-named-global-list-influential-researchers Congratulations!

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Martin wins PhD prize!

Martin won the Marshall Stoneham prize for his PhD thesis on “Merging data-driven and computational methods to understand ice nucleation”. It is awarded by the Condensed Matter & Materials Physics Group (CMMP) for outstanding postgraduate research. Well done!

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Fabian wins Best Poster prize at the MMM Hub conference!

The second annual Materials & Molecular Modelling (MMM) Hub Conference and User Meeting took place on 3-4 September. Many excellent talks demonstrated how the computational resources provided by the MMM Hub are used to tackle challenges in many areas of biological, chemical, and physical research. This was also illustrated by more than 50 posters, spanning […]

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Science and sports in York

Last weekend, the ICE group gathered in York for the International Materials Simulation Workshop. Current and former members as well as collaborators talked about their recent projects and discussed how to tackle society’s big challenges, utilize advancements in methodology and make the most of fruitful collaborations. The meeting highlighted the diverse range of problems that […]

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Triple Triathlon at Castle Howard in support of WaterAid

The ICE group will be participating in the Castle Triathlon series for the third year in a row. This time, three relays teams are going to compete at Castle Howard, near York, on 21 July. They will be swimming, cycling and running a combined distance of roughly 280 km! As part of the tradition, the […]

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Open postdoc position (University of Manchester & ICE group)

A 2-year postdoc position is available in the Condensed Matter Physics group at the University of Manchester. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the ICE group and involves developing and applying theoretical models to understand the anomalous dielectric behaviour of water under confinement (Fumagalli et al. Science 360, 1339-1342, 2018). You can […]

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Angelos sets world record at the London Marathon!

Angelos set a new world record for the “fastest marathon dressed as a scientist (male)” at this year’s London Marathon, finishing in 3:22:51. Congratulations! He also managed to raise more than £3000 in support of WaterAid, an international charity working to provide clean water and decent toilets to people all over the world. Many thanks […]

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