PerspectiveMaterials Science

Snapshots of Crystal Growth

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Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1566-1567
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111099

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Summary

In recent years, atomic force microscopy has provided important insights into how materials crystallize. The method allows measurements to be performed under actual crystallization conditions and is particularly well suited to small-molecule or protein crystals. In his Perspective, Ward reviews this work, which has provided support for the terrace-ledge-kink model of crystallization and promises insights into the influence of experimental condition on crystallization at the near-molecular level. A recent extension of the method enables spatial control of crystal nucleation and regulation of the crystal growth rate and may allow crystallization conditions to be optimized.

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