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Title: How does a transient amorphous precursor template crystallization
Authors: Tian, H.Z. 
Xiang, Y.L. 
Issue Date: 7-Nov-2007
Citation: Tian, H.Z., Xiang, Y.L. (2007-11-07). How does a transient amorphous precursor template crystallization. Journal of the American Chemical Society 129 (44) : 13520-13526. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Crystallization through metastable phases, such as polymorphism, plays an important role in chemical manufacture, biomineralization, and protein crystallization. However, the kinetics creating the final stable crystalline phase from metastable phases has so far remained unclear. In this study, crystallization via an amorphous precursor, the so-called multistep crystallization (MSC), is studied quantitatively in a colloidal model system. In MSC, amorphous dense droplets are first nucleated from the mother phase. Subsequently, a few unstable subcrystalline nuclei can be created simultaneously by fluctuation from the tiny dense droplets, which is different from previous theoretical predictions. It is necessary for these crystalline nuclei to reach a critical size Ncrys* to become stable. However, in contrast to subcrystalline nuclei, a stable mature crystalline nucleus is not created by fluctuation but by coalescence of subcrystalline nuclei, which is unexpected. To accommodate a mature crystalline nucleus larger than the critical size N crys, the dense droplets have to first acquire a critical size N*. This implies that only a fraction of amorphous dense droplets can serve as a precursor of crystal nucleation. As an outcome, the overall nucleation rate of the crystalline phase is, to a large extent, determined by the nucleation rate of crystals in the dense droplets, which is much lower than the previous theoretical expectation. Furthermore, it is surprising to see that MSC will promote the production of defect-free crystals. The knowledge acquired in this study will also significantly advance our understandings in polymorphism related processes. © 2007 American Chemical Society.
Source Title: Journal of the American Chemical Society
ISSN: 00027863
DOI: 10.1021/ja073598k
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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