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Journal Article

A one-dimensional ice structure built from pentagons


Carrasco,  Javier
Theory, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;


Michaelides,  Angelos
Theory, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Carrasco, J., Michaelides, A., Forster, M., Haq, S., Raval, R., & Hodgson, A. (2009). A one-dimensional ice structure built from pentagons. Nature Materials, 8, 427-431. Retrieved from http://www.fhi-berlin.mpg.de/th/th.html.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-F961-6
Heterogeneous ice nucleation has a key role in fields as diverse as atmospheric chemistry and biology. Ice nucleation on metal surfaces affords an opportunity to watch this process unfold at the molecular scale on a well-defined, planar interface. A common feature of structural models for such films is that they are built from hexagonal arrangements of molecules. Here we show, through a combination of scanning tunnelling microscopy, infrared spectroscopy and density-functional theory, that about 1-nm-wide ice chains that nucleate on Cu(110) are not built from hexagons, but instead are built from a face-sharing arrangement of water pentagons. The pentagon structure is favoured over others because it maximizes the water–metal bonding while maintaining a strong hydrogen-bonding network. It reveals an unanticipated structural adaptability of water–ice films, demonstrating that the presence of the substrate can be sufficient to favour non-hexagonal structural units.