Scientists from China and the United States have developed “bendy” and “ultra clear” ice fibers, which can be used to make optical fibers as an alternative material.
Defying the common knowledge of ice being a rigid and brittle crystal, the researchers developed “very thin” ice microfibers that can bend up to about 11 percent and remain elastic, according to an article published in the latest issue of journal Science.
The single-crystal ice microfibers were grown at the temperature of minus 50 degrees Celsius, with diameters ranging from 10 micrometers to less than 800 nanometers, said Tong Limin with the Zhejiang University team who cooperated with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
Furthermore, their exceptional optical quality allows for effective light transmission, making them a viable alternative to optical fiber composed of glass, according to the researchers.
“Developing micro/nano ice-based technologies in certain application situations, such as employing them as a research platform to examine viruses, can be aided by making optical fibers from common materials like ice or water.”