Subliming Ice Surfaces: Freeze-Etch Electron Microscopy

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Science  05 Jun 1970:
Vol. 168, Issue 3936, pp. 1216-1218
DOI: 10.1126/science.168.3936.1216


Vacuum sublimation of oriented single crystals of ice at temperatures from -110 to -60 degrees Celsius was studied by electron microscopy with the freeze-etch technique. Sublimation etches the ice surface to produce pits and asperities and above -85 degrees Celsius causes extreme surface roughening. The etch pits are ascribed to surface dislocations, and the extreme roughening is ascribed to the departure from unity of the vaporization coefficient. The asperities could not be attributed to impurities; they may be related to the whiskers that others have observed at higher temperatures.

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