A microfluidic apparatus for the study of ice nucleation in supercooled water drops

Journal Article

This paper describes a microfluidic instrument that produces drops of supercooled water suspended in a moving stream of liquid fluorocarbon, and measures the temperatures at which ice nucleates in the drops. A microfluidic chip containing a monodisperse drop generator and a straight channel with 38 embedded resistance thermometers was placed in contact with a seven-zone temperature-control plate and imaged under a microscope with a high-speed camera. This instrument can record the freezing temperatures of tens of thousands of drops within minutes, with an accuracy of 0.4 °C. The ice-nucleation temperatures in ∼80-m drops were reported for the freezing of 37061 drops of pure water, and of 8898 drops of water seeded with silver iodide. Nucleation of ice in pure water was homogenous and occurred at temperatures between -36 and -37.8 °C, while water containing silver iodide froze between -10 and -19 °C. The instrument recorded the largest sets of individual freezing temperatures (37061), had the fastest data acquisition rate (75 measurements/s), and the best optical (3 m) and temporal (70 s) resolutions among instruments designed to study nucleation of ice. The dendritic growth of ice in 150-m drops of supercooled water at -35 °C was observed and imaged at a rate of 16000 frames/s. © 2009 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stan, CA; Schneider, GF; Shevkoplyas, SS; Hashimoto, M; Ibanescu, M; Wiley, BJ; Whitesides, GM

Published Date

  • 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 16

Start / End Page

  • 2293 - 2305

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1473-0197

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1039/b906198c