The deposition and the isothermal crystallization kinetics of thin amorphous solid water (ASW) films on both Ru(0001) and CO-precovered Ru(0001) have been investigated in real time by simultaneously employing helium atom scattering, infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, and isothermal temperature-programmed desorption. During ASW deposition, the interaction between water and the substrate depends critically on the amount of preadsorbed CO. However, the mechanism and kinetics of the crystallization of 50 layers thick ASW film were found to be independent of the amount of preadsorbed CO. We demonstrate that crystallization occurs through random nucleation events in the bulk of the material, followed by homogeneous growth, for solid water on both substrates. The morphological change involving the formation of three-dimensional grains of crystalline ice results in the exposure of the water monolayer just above the substrate to the vacuum during the crystallization process on both substrates.

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