University of Manchester

Investigation of crystallization in confinement using X-Ray tomography

Jose R. A. Godinho
Project Completed

Scientific Case

Many crystallisation processes of great biological, technological and environmental importance, such as the formation of biominerals, the templating of nanostructures, and salt weathering, occur in restricted volumes rather than in bulk solution. However, as yet, we have a limited understanding of confinement effects on crystallisation from solution. We have been studying the effects of confinement on the crystallisation of inorganic compounds (relevant to biomineralisation and environmental crystallisation) over the last 5 years, where our work has revealed significant effects over the micron to nano length scales. In our most important results we have shown that confinement can be used to (i) control the polymorph of inorganic compounds and significantly stabilise metastable phases, (ii) identify new mineral phases that have been overlooked in bulk solution by extending their stability, (iii) control crystal orientation, (iv) gain control over single crystal/ polycrystalline structures and (v) investigate mechanisms of crystal growth. Crystallization proceeds more slowly and terminates earlier in droplets than in bulk solution, enabling the intermediate stages of crystal growth to be isolated and characterized. Having established the importance of confinement on the crystallisation of inorganic compounds from solution, we now need to identify the mechanisms that govern these effects. This will ultimately enable us to use confinement to control crystallisation processes in a predictable way.
materials chemistry

Experiment Design

We will possibly use the 4x and 10x magnifications to resolve features crystals that are tens of microns.
Scanners and Rigs
Xradia VersaXCT
Not Required
We would like to run a feasibility test on the DCT versa (1day). This possibility has also been discussed with S. MacDonald.

Sample & Safety

Samples will be cylinders approximately 2 mm diameter and mount directly on the versa holder.
Low Hazard

Scan Records

Project Report