Liquid-liquid transitions in molecular liquids: from supramolecular structure to phase separation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Chemical and Process Engineering


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Mosses J (2015) Crystal templating through liquid-liquid phase separation. in Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)

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Walton F (2020) Polyamorphism Mirrors Polymorphism in the Liquid-Liquid Transition of a Molecular Liquid. in Journal of the American Chemical Society

Description Controlled birth of new crystals is a highly desirable but elusive goal. Attempts to speed up crystallization, such as high super saturation or working near a liquid-liquid critical point, has usually led to uncontrollable nucleation and irregular crystal growth. We discovered that under highly nonequilibrium conditions of spinodal decomposition, water crystals can grow as thin wires without any molecular templates. This suggests that such nonequilibrium conditions may be employed more widely as mechanisms for crystal nucleation and growth control.
Exploitation Route We have shown that highly nonequilibrium
crystal nucleation and growth does not have to result in
uncontrolled polycrystalline phases. Rather, we have been able
to make highly reproducible crystalline wires without
the use of an external template. We believe that such a
liquid phase-separation induced crystal templating might be a
general phenomenon with wider applicability than water ice.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology