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.

 

View PDF

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817135116

News

Fabian_poster-prize_MMM-Hub-2019

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 […]

0 comments
IMG-20190720-WA0002

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 […]

0 comments
ice_triathlon

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 […]

0 comments
ice_logo_5_rect

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 […]

0 comments
Angelos_London-Marathon

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 […]

0 comments
ice_logo_5_rect

Welcome Julia!

The ICE group has a new member: Julia will be working on C-H activation at single-atom alloy catalysts. The project involves collaboration with Michail Stamatakis from UCL’s Department of Chemical Engineering. We hope you will have a pleasant and productive time in the ICE group!

0 comments
ice-surface_NatureReviewsChemistry

Nature Reviews Chemistry on surface premelting of water ice published!

In a recently published Nature Reviews Chemistry article, titled “Surface premelting of water ice”, Ben Slater and Angelos review the current understanding of the quasi-liquid layer (QLL) that forms on the surface of ice. The review describes how advances in experimental and computational techniques furthered our understanding in the years since Faraday first postulated the […]

0 comments
angelos_world-record

Angelos is trying to set a new world record!

Angelos will be running this year’s London Marathon with the aim of setting a new world record for the “fastest marathon dressed as a scientist (male)”. He is running in support of WaterAid, an international charity working to provide clean water and decent toilets to people all over the world. To find out more and […]

0 comments
trophy

Patrick wins Best Poster prize at the TYC Student Day!

For his contribution “A Machine Learning Potential for Carbon”, Patrick was awarded a Best Poster prize at this year’s TYC Student Day! He was one of the four winners chosen from more than 30 poster presentations, which highlighted the excellent research conducted within the Thomas Young Centre. Patrick had also won the Best Poster prize […]

0 comments
incite_titan_summit

INCITE grant awarded for quantum Monte Carlo project!

The proposal titled “New Frontiers for Material Modeling via Machine Learning Techniques with Quantum Monte Carlo” was awarded a 2019 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The project lead by Dario Alfè and in collaboration with Gábor Csányi in Cambridge involves […]

0 comments

Group gatherings