Dynamics and unsteady morphologies at ice interfaces driven by D2O–H2O exchange

Ran Drori, Miranda Holmes-Cerfon, Bart Kahr, Robert V. Kohn, Michael D. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth dynamics of D2O ice in liquid H2O in a microfluidic device were investigated between the melting points of D2O ice (3.8 °C) and H2O ice (0 °C). As the temperature was decreased at rates between 0.002 °C/s and 0.1 °C/s, the ice front advanced but retreated immediately upon cessation of cooling, regardless of the temperature. This is a consequence of the competition between diffusion of H2O into the D2O ice, which favors melting of the interface, and the driving force for growth supplied by cooling. Raman microscopy tracked H/D exchange across the solid H2O–solid D2O interface, with diffusion coefficients consistent with transport of intact H2O molecules at the D2O ice interface. At fixed temperatures below 3 °C, the D2O ice front melted continuously, but at temperatures near 0 °C a scalloped interface morphology appeared with convex and concave sections that cycled between growth and retreat. This behavior, not observed for D2O ice in contact with D2O liquid or H2O ice in contact with H2O liquid, reflects a complex set of cooperative phenomena, including H/D exchange across the solid–liquid interface, latent heat exchange, local thermal gradients, and the Gibbs–Thomson effect on the melting points of the convex and concave features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11627-11632
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number44
StatePublished - Oct 31 2017


  • Hydrogen–deuterium exchange
  • Ice growth
  • Ice morphology
  • Microfluidics
  • Raman microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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