The crystal orientation of THF clathrates in nano-confinement by in situ polarized Raman spectroscopy

Mrityunjay K. Sharma, Xin Ning Leong, Carolyn A. Koh, Ryan L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gas hydrates form at high pressure and low temperatures in marine sediments and permafrost regions of the earth. Despite forming in nanoporous structures, gas hydrates have been extensively studied only in bulk. Understanding nucleation and growth of gas hydrates in nonporous confinement can help create ways for storage and utilization as a future energy source. Herein, we introduce a new method for studying crystal orientation/tilt during tetrahydrofuran (THF) hydrate crystallization under the influence of nano-confinement using polarized Raman spectroscopy. Uniform cylindrical nanometer size pores of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) are used as a model nano-confinement, and hydrate experiments are performed in a glass microsystem for control of the flash hydrate nucleation kinetics and analysis via in situ polarized Raman spectroscopy. The average THF hydrate crystal tilt of 56 ± 1° and 30.5 ± 0.5° were observed for the 20 nm and 40 nm diameter pores, respectively. Crystal tilt observed in 20 and 40-nanometer-size pores was proportional to the pore diameter, resulting in lower tilt relative to the axis of the confinement at larger diameter pores. The results indicate that the hydrates nucleation and growth mechanism can depend on the nanoconfinement size. A 1.6 ± 0.01 °C to 1.8 ± 0.01 °C depression in melting point compared to the bulk is predicted using the Gibbs-Thomson equation as a direct effect of nucleation in confinement on the hydrate properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-809
Number of pages12
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 27 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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