The ever-changing “Little Ice” transmits light

Rediscover ice

  As we all know, ice is the solid form of water in nature. It is a hard and brittle crystal formed by the orderly arrangement of water molecules. When it is stretched, it will crack instead of bending, resulting in avalanches, glacial slips, ice damage and other natural phenomena. At present, a large number of experiments have proved that the theoretical elastic strain① of ice is very low, and the maximum elastic strain is only about 0.3%. Once this value is exceeded, rupture will occur, and the actual strain value of ice is far lower than the ideal value. .
  And our understanding of ice also has certain limitations. Ice occupies a total volume of 26,660,000 cubic kilometers on the global land surface, which is equivalent to 24 million cubic kilometers of water. This is enough to prove that ice is the most abundant and common substance on earth, and it plays a pivotal role in environmental science, life science, physical chemistry and other fields. Since ancient times, scientists have never stopped researching and exploring ice. Especially in the past few centuries, they have used light, electricity, force and other means to conduct a series of explorations on the properties, application scope and capabilities of ice. From the high-pressure phase of ice, the new form of two-dimensional structure, to the application exploration of electron beam lithography, the understanding and application ability of ice have been greatly improved.

elastic ice

  So, how can the structural defects of ice due to the low actual elastic strain limit be compensated for? Growing very thin, bendable ice microfibers enables them to remain elastic and transmit light efficiently, the study found. Since several thousand atmospheres of pressure are required for the ice’s molecular structure to undergo a phase change, scientists need special equipment to conduct the experiments. Under the low temperature conditions provided by the Cryo-EM Center, they improved the preparation method of electric field-induced ice crystals, and prepared ice single-crystal micro-nano fibers of 800 nm to 10 μm, and used low-temperature micro-nano manipulation and transfer technology. Movement and precise control in a nitrogen environment. The most outstanding achievement of this research is that the elastic strain of the ice micro-nano fiber actually reaches 10.9% in the environment of -150 ℃, and the flexible bending of the ice fiber as an optical fiber is successfully realized.

Application of ice micro-nano fiber

  Under the low-temperature micro-nano manipulation and transfer technology, the elastic strain of the ice single-crystal micro-nano fiber reaches 10.9% and can be bent reversibly, successfully making its elastic limit close to the theoretical value. This advances people’s physical understanding of ice and inspires people to use ice as a material to prepare more complex functional structures at the micro and nano scales.

  The scientists also discovered the application prospects of ice micro-nano fibers in low temperature environments. Because ice single-crystal micro-nano fibers have advantages in light manipulation, the loss of transmitted light in the visible light band can be significantly reduced. Compared with other glass fibers, it can also be used to fabricate biosensors, even in the extremely low temperature environment of extraterrestrial objects.

  Based on the rapid development of modern optics, electricity, mechanics and other fields, this achievement has made significant progress in technology and innovation, and promoted the future research progress of ice fiber in optical transmission, optical sensing, ice physics, etc. Our country has brought more convenience in the fields of communication, electronic technology and construction