Special microscope shows different anti-icing strategies of plant leaves

When environmental temperatures go below zero, ice crystals are formed on many leaves of evergreen plants. Nevertheless, they usually survive frost phases unharmed. Using a special cryo-scanning electron microscope, researchers from the Zoological Institute of Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) were able to take high-resolution images of icing processes on surfaces of plants native to Germany and Antarctica at the micro- and nanoscales for the first time. In the process, they discovered various tiny structures on the leaf surfaces with which the plants protect themselves against low temperatures.


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