Water ice has a strong spectral feature at a wavelength of approximately 3 μm, which plays a vital role in our understanding of the icy universe. In this study, we investigate the scattering polarization of this water-ice feature. The linear polarization degree of light scattered by micron-sized icy grains is known to be enhanced at the ice band; however, the dependence of this polarization enhancement on various grain properties is unclear. We find that the enhanced polarization at the ice band is sensitive to the presence of micron-sized grains as well as their ice abundance. We demonstrate that this enhancement is caused by the high absorbency of the water-ice feature, which attenuates internal scattering and renders the surface reflection dominant over internal scattering. Additionally, we compare our models with polarimetric observations of the low-mass protostar L1551 IRS 5. Our results show that scattering by a maximum grain radius of a few microns with a low water-ice abundance is consistent with observations. Thus, scattering polarization of the water-ice feature is a useful tool for characterizing ice properties in various astronomical environments.
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