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Interplay of vitrification and ice formation in a cryoprotectant aqueous solution at low temperature

Abstract : The proneness of water to crystallize is a major obstacle to understanding its putative exotic behavior in the supercooled state. It also represents a strong practical limitation to cryopreservation of biological systems. Adding some concentration of glycerol, which has a cryoprotective effect preventing to some degree water crystallization, has been proposed as a possible way out, provided the concentration is small enough for water to retain some of its bulk character and/or for limiting the damage caused by glycerol on living organisms. Contrary to previous expectations, we show that in the "marginal" glycerol molar concentration ≈ 18%, at which vitrification is possible with no crystallization on rapid cooling, water crystallizes upon isothermal annealing even below the calorimetric glass transition of the solution. Through a time-resolved polarized neutron scattering investigation, we extract key parameters, size and shape of the ice crystallites, fraction of water that crystallizes, crystallization time, which are important for cryoprotection, as a function of the annealing temperature. We also characterize the nature of the out-of-equilibrium liquid phases that are present at low temperature, providing more arguments against the presence of an isocompositional liquid-liquid transition. Finally, we propose a rule-of-thumb to estimate the lower temperature limit below which water crystallization does not occur in aqueous solutions.
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Contributor : Christiane Alba-Simionesco Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 12:52:53 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 6:50:36 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03446341, version 1


Christiane Alba-Simionesco, Patrick Judeinstein, Stéphane Longeville, Oriana Osta, Florence Porcher, et al.. Interplay of vitrification and ice formation in a cryoprotectant aqueous solution at low temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , National Academy of Sciences, inPress. ⟨hal-03446341⟩



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