Stacking disorder in ice I
Traditionally, ice I was considered to exist in two well-defined crystalline forms at ambient pressure: stable hexagonal ice (ice Ih) and metastable cubic ice (ice Ic). However, it is becoming increasingly evident that what has been called cubic ice in the past does not have a structure consistent with the cubic crystal system. Instead, it is a stacking-disordered material containing cubic sequences interlaced with hexagonal sequences, which is termed stacking-disordered ice (ice Isd). In this article, we summarise previous work on ice with stacking disorder including ice that was called cubic ice in the past. We also present new experimental data which shows that ice which crystallises after heterogeneous nucleation in water droplets containing solid inclusions also contains stacking disorder even at freezing temperatures of around −15 °C. This supports the results from molecular simulations, that the structure of ice that crystallises initially from supercooled water is always stacking-disordered and that this metastable ice can transform to the stable hexagonal phase subject to the kinetics of recrystallization. We also show that stacking disorder in ice which forms from water droplets is quantitatively distinct from ice made via other routes. The emerging picture of ice I is that of a very complex material which frequently contains stacking disorder and this stacking disorder can vary in complexity depending on the route of formation and thermal history.