The nucleation of ice is vital in cloud physics and impacts on a broad range of matters from the cryopreservation of food, tissues, organs, and stem cells to the prevention of icing on aircraft wings, bridge cables, wind turbines, and other structures. Ice nucleation thus has broad implications in medicine, food engineering, mineralogy, biology, and other fields. Nowadays, the growing threat of global warming has led to intense research activities on the feasibility of artificially modifying clouds to shift the Earth’s radiation balance. For these reasons, nucleation of ice has been extensively studied over many decades and rightfully so. It is thus not quite possible to cover the whole subject of ice nucleation in a single review. Rather, this feature article provides a brief overview of ice nucleation that focuses on several major outstanding fundamental issues. The author’s wish is to aid early researchers in ice nucleation and those who wish to get into the field of ice nucleation from other disciplines by concisely summarizing the outstanding issues in this important field. Two unresolved challenges stood out from the review, namely the lack of a molecular-level picture of ice nucleation at an interface and the limitations of classical nucleation theory.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited