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Crystalline ice

Amorphous on the surface

Crystalline ice surfaces are found to exhibit an unusually large spread of vacancy formation energies, akin to an amorphous material. The finding has implications for the fundamental understanding of electrostatically frustrated surfaces and for the reactivity and catalytic properties of atmospheric ice.

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Figure 1: Molecular representation of the crystalline surface of hexagonal ice, with a water molecule hovering above a vacancy defect.
Figure 2: Variation in vacancy formation energies of water molecules in the six bilayers closest to the surface of hexagonal ice1.


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Correspondence to Lars Ojamäe.

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Ojamäe, L. Amorphous on the surface. Nature Mater 10, 725–726 (2011).

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