July Crystal Clear: Crystal Cavern

An image taken through an optical microscope of L-arginine acetate grown using a 'Metal-Assisted and Microwave-Accelerated Evaporative Crystallization’ process.

The beautiful image in this month’s crystal clear isn’t actually a crystal cavern. It is crystals of L-arginine acetate grown using a new crystallisation technique. The crystals are of particular interest in non-linear optics given their second harmonic generation properties.

The Aslan Research Group have developed a new crystallisation method to grow L-arginine acetate crystals much faster than the previously reported cooling/evaporation method. The Metal-Assisted and Microwave-Accelerated Evaporative Crystallization process uses silver island films and low power microwave heating to grow the crystals quickly. The team also investigated functionalising the metal nucleation surface to see if this enhanced crystal growth. 

The image shown here is of the crystals created using bare silver island films and microwaves, the rest of the teams results, including full details of their growth process can be found in Issue 14 of CrystEngComm

Rapid crystallization of L-arginine acetate on engineered surfaces using metal-assisted and microwave-accelerated evaporative crystallization
Melissa A. Pinard, Tsehai A. J. Grell, Danielle Pettis, Muzaffer Mohammed and Kadir Aslan

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