Heterogeneous Electrofreezing of Super-Cooled Water on Surfaces of Pyroelectric Crystals is Triggered by Trigonal Planar Ions

Sofia Curland, Christoph Allolio, Leah Javitt, Shiri Dishon Ben-Ami, Isabelle Weissbuch, David Ehre, Daniel Harries*, Meir Lahav*, Igor Lubomirsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Electrofreezing experiments of super-cooled water (SCW) with different ions, performed directly on the charged hemihedral faces of pyroelectric LiTaO3 and AgI crystals, in the presence and in the absence of pyroelectric charge are reported. It is demonstrated that bicarbonate (HCO3) ions elevate the icing temperature near the positively charged faces. In contrast, the hydronium (H3O+) slightly reduces the icing temperature. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the hydrated trigonal planar HCO3 ions self-assemble with water molecules near the surface of the AgI crystal as clusters of slightly different configuration from those of the ice-like hexagons. These clusters, however, have a tendency to serve as embryonic nuclei for ice crystallization. Consequently, we predicted and experimentally confirmed that the trigonal planar ions of NO3 and guanidinium (Gdm+), at appropriate concentrations, elevate the icing temperature near the positive and negative charged surfaces, respectively. On the other hand, the Cl and SO42− ions of different configurations reduce the icing temperature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15575-15579
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number36
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Israeli Science Foundation (546/17), the Minerva foundation with funding from the Federal German Ministry for Education and Research (712928), and the German–Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (project I‐1342‐302.5). This research is made possible in part by the historic generosity of the Harold Perlman Family. The Fritz Haber Research Centre is supported by the Minerva Foundation, Munich, Germany.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • electrofreezing
  • ice nucleation
  • ionic charges
  • pyroelectricity


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