University of Milan: a new model of crystal growth of materials
In a study published in the prestigious journal Nature, researchers at the University of Milan (Statale), in collaboration with the University of Manchester in the UK, the University of Samara in Russia, the Northwestern Polytechnical University of Shaanxi in China, Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and the SINTEF Materials and Chemistry Research Institute in Oslo, Norway, have described a new molecular approach to predict growth in different crystal types thanks to a kinetic model based on the partition of a crystal structure into its elementary components.
“These elementary building blocks – explained the Italian researchers – are organized to form crystal in all its possible shapes, as demonstrated in the simulations of zeolite crystals, coordination polymers, calcite, urea and L-cysteine: the effectiveness of this model lies precisely in its general applicability, which opens new avenues in the atomistic simulation of materials.”
Until now, despite the sophisticated technologies available to researchers, the complexity and variety of crystals had prevented the formulation of a growth model whose applicability could be shared. The study carried out at the University of Milan paves the way for synthesizing new functional materials starting from the prediction of their crystal growth.