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Mechanism for the Efficient Homogeneous Nucleation of Ice in a Weakly Ionized, Ultracold Plasma

Bellan, Paul M. (2022) Mechanism for the Efficient Homogeneous Nucleation of Ice in a Weakly Ionized, Ultracold Plasma. Astrophysical Journal, 936 (1). Art. No. 52. ISSN 1538-4357.

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It is proposed that the rapid observed homogeneous nucleation of ice dust in a cold, weakly-ionized plasma depends on the formation of negative hydroxyl ions by fast electrons impacting water molecules. These OH⁻ ions attract neutral water molecules because of the high dipole moment of the water molecules and so hydrates of the form (OH)⁻(H₂O)ₙ are formed. The hydrates continuously grow in the cold environment to become macroscopic ice grains. These ice grains are negatively charged as a result of electron impact and so continue to attract water molecules. Because the hydroxyl ions are negative, unlike positive ions they do not suffer recombination loss from collision with plasma electrons. Recombination with positive ions is minimal because positive ions are few in number (weak ionization) and slow-moving as result of being in thermal equilibrium with the cold background gas.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bellan, Paul M.0000-0002-0886-8782
Alternate Title:Mechanism for the efficient homogeneous nucleation of ice in a weakly-ionized, ultra-cold plasma
Additional Information:© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2022 April 29; revised 2022 July 29; accepted 2022 July 30; published 2022 August 30. Supported by the NSF/DOE Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering via USDOE Award DE-SC0020079.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0020079
Subject Keywords:Circumstellar dust; Ice formation; Plasma physics; Water vapor; Accretion; Dielectronic recombination; Photoelectron spectroscopy; Hydroxyl sources; Circumstellar grains; Interstellar dust; Silicate grains; Interstellar dust processes
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:: Circumstellar dust (236); Ice formation (2092); Plasma physics (2089); Water vapor (1791); Accretion (14); Dielectronic recombination (2061); Photoelectron spectroscopy (2097); Hydroxyl sources (772); Circumstellar grains (239); Interstellar dust (836);
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220707-204053741
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Official Citation:Paul M. Bellan 2022 ApJ 936 52
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:115398
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Jul 2022 21:51
Last Modified:11 Oct 2022 18:11

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