Heterogeneous Electrofreezing Triggered by CO2 on Pyroelectric Crystals: Qualitatively Different Icing on Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Surfaces

Sofia Curland, Leah Javitt, Isabelle Weissbuch, David Ehre, Meir Lahav, Igor Lubomirsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


By performing icing experiments on hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces of pyroelectric amino acids and on the x-cut faces of LiTaO3, we discovered that the effect of electrofreezing of super cooled water is triggered by ions of carbonic acid. During the cooling of the hydrophilic pyroelectric crystals, a continuous water layer is created between the charged hemihedral faces, as confirmed by impedance measurements. As a result, a current of carbonic acid ions, produced by dissolved environmental CO2, flows through the wetted layer towards the hemihedral faces and elevates the icing temperature. This proposed mechanism is based on the following: (i) on hydrophilic surfaces, water with dissolved CO2 (pH 4) freezes at higher temperatures than pure water of pH 7. (ii) In the absence of the ionic current, achieved by linking the two hemihedral faces of hydrophilic crystals by a conductive paint, water of the two pH levels freeze at the same temperature. (iii) On hydrophobic crystals with similar pyroelectric coefficients, where there is no continuous wetted layer, no electrofreezing effect is observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15570-15574
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2020


  • electrofreezing
  • ice nucleation
  • pyroelectricity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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