Labyrinth ice pattern formation induced by near-infrared irradiation

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Science Advances  29 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaav1598
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav1598


Patterns are broad phenomena that relate to biology, chemistry, and physics. The dendritic growth of crystals is the most well-known ice pattern formation process. Tyndall figures are water-melting patterns that occur when ice absorbs light and becomes superheated. Here, we report a previously undescribed ice and water pattern formation process induced by near-infrared irradiation that heats one phase more than the other in a two-phase system. The pattern formed during the irradiation of ice crystals tens of micrometers thick in solution near equilibrium. Dynamic holes and a microchannel labyrinth then formed in specific regions and were characterized by a typical distance between melted points. We concluded that the differential absorption of water and ice was the driving force for the pattern formation. Heating ice by laser absorption might be useful in applications such as the cryopreservation of biological samples.

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