This month’s crystal clear could almost be an ice cube, it’s certainly large enough!
In fact this is a single crystal of K3B6O10Cl synthesised by Shilie Pan et al. and has dimensions of 25 x 11 x 7 mm3. The team based at Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics & Chemistry have published their findings in Issue 3 of CrystEngComm, detailing the growth of these crystals as well as their optical properties.
Materials which possess non-linear optical (NLO) properties are of great interest given their potential applications in photonics, including optical storage and frequency mixing. Using a top-seeded solution growth method the team synthesised these large crystals and found them to have a high laser damage threshold and a wide transparency range. The K3B6O10Cl crystals are potentially promising in high-power UV light generation.
It is important for application that very high quality single crystals are formed; initially the researchers found that spontaneous nucleation and crack formation hindered quality crystal growth, with crystalline grains floating on the solution surface and attaching to the edge of the growing crystal.
To see how the team overcame these problems to produce the beautiful single crystal displayed here you can download their article now, which has been made free to access for 4 weeks.
Growth, thermal and optical properties of a novel nonlinear optical material K3B6O10Cl
Hongping Wu, Shilie Pan, Hongwei Yu, Dianzeng Jia, Aiming Chang, Hongyi Li, Fangfang Zhang and Xia Huang
CrystEngComm, 2012, 14, 799-803