Janus regulation of ice growth by hyperbranched polyglycerols generating dynamic hydrogen bonding

Sang Yup Lee, Minseong Kim, Tae Kyung Won, Seung Hyuk Back, Youngjoo Hong, Byeong Su Kim, Dong June Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, a new phenomenon describing the Janus effect on ice growth by hyperbranched polyglycerols, which can align the surrounding water molecules, has been identified. Even with an identical polyglycerol, we not only induced to inhibit ice growth and recrystallization, but also to promote the growth rate of ice that is more than twice that of pure water. By investigating the polymer architecture and population, we found that the stark difference in the generation of quasi-structured H2O molecules at the ice/water interface played a crucial role in the outcome of these opposite effects. Inhibition activity was induced when polymers at nearly fixed loci formed steady hydrogen bonding with the ice surface. However, the formation-and-dissociation dynamics of the interfacial hydrogen bonds, originating from and maintained by migrating polymers, resulted in an enhanced quasi-liquid layer that facilitated ice growth. Such ice growth activity is a unique property unseen in natural antifreeze proteins or their mimetic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6532
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea under NRF-2017M3D1A1039421 (Future Materials Discovery Program), 2021R1A2C3004978, and 2020R1A6A3A13073854.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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