Desublimation Definition in Chemistry

What Desublimation Means in Science

Ice crystals on window often form via desublimation.
Ice crystals on window often form via desublimation. Johner Images / Getty Images

Desublimation or deposition is the phase change from gas directly to solid, with no intermediate liquid phase. Desublimation is the reverse process of sublimation.

Desublimation Examples

Probably the most familiar example of desublimation is the formation of frost on a window in winter. Water vapor in cold air freezes into ice without ever becoming liquid water. This is also how hoar frost forms and accounts for some frost formation in home freezers.

Another example is soot formation in chimneys. The molecules from combustion rise away from a fire as hot gases. As the gases contact the cooler chimney walls, they change into the solid state without ever becoming liquids.


  • Moore, John W., et al., Principles of Chemistry: The Molecular Science, Brooks Cole, 2009, p. 387 ISBN 978-0-495-39079-4