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Published May 2015 | public
Journal Article

Study on morphology and growth of water–ice grains spontaneously generated in a laboratory plasma


An apparatus has been developed to study the nucleation, growth, and morphology of water–ice grains spontaneously generated in a weakly ionized plasma having very cold neutral particles. Nucleation of water–ice grains in the laboratory experiment occurs only when plasma exists but the plasma density is not too high. Nonspherical, fast growth occurs when the mean free path of water molecules exceeds the screening length for the ice grain in which case molecules incident on the ice grain can be considered to have collisionless trajectories. High water vapor pressure enhances this nonspherical, fast growth provided the collisionless condition is satisfied. Magnetic field impedes nonspherical growth by reducing the charge residing on water–ice grains if the field is sufficiently strong to make the electron gyro radius smaller than the ice grain screening length.

Additional Information

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Received 29 March 2014; Received in revised form 3 July 2014; Accepted 28 July 2014; Available online 4 August 2014. This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Energy Office of Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0010471. We thank J. Goree for graciously loaning the long distance microscope lens used in this work. We also thank S. Shimizu for kindly providing information on his experiment design.

Additional details

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October 23, 2023