December Crystal Clear: A Christmas Crystal

This month’s very festive Crystal Clear looks surprisingly like a Christmas tree!
In fact this is a dendritic nickel nanocrystal synthesised by Zhang et al. using a simple electrolytic process in ethylene glycol solution. The microstructures have trunks of around 10 µm with ordered branches approximately 0.5-1.5 µm long and a thickness of 210 nm. The authors found they were able to control the morphology of the structures by adjusting the experimental conditions such as precursor concentration, voltage and the temperature of the reaction.

Designing nano-structures is an area of great interest as the size and shape can significantly affect the properties, in this instance it was found that compared with bulk Ni the Ni dendritic crystals exhibited a decreased saturation magnetism but an enhanced coercivity.

You can find out more about their work by reading the advance article in CrystEngComm which is free to access for 4 weeks.

Electrolytic approach towards the controllable synthesis of symmetric, hierarchical, and highly ordered nickel dendritic crystals
Jian Wang, Liangming Wei, Liying Zhang, Yafei Zhang and Chuanhai Jiang
CrystEngComm, 2012, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C1CE06066J, Paper

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