Curves Alter Crystallization

Scientists have studied crystallization since the time of Galileo, so it's easy to imagine there's nothing new to learn about the process. Work reported by MRSEC researchers Manoharan, Nelson, and coworkers in Science (Feb. 7, 2014), however, has uncovered a previously unseen phenomenon — that curved surfaces can dramatically alter the shape of crystals as they form (above). The finding could have applications ranging from applying coatings to nanoparticles used in industry to aiding in drug delivery, and may even help shed light on how viruses assemble.

David A. Weitz (Physics & Applied Physics)
Harvard MRSEC (DMR-1420570)