Crystals are more than just pretty faces. Many of the useful properties associated with metal alloys or polymer blends -- like strength, flexibility and clarity -- stem from a materials specific crystal microstructure. So the more scientists know about how crystal patterns grow as a material solidifies, the better theyll be able to create new materials with specific properties.
Computer simulation of the crystal structure for a copper-nickel alloy with randomly dispersed particles.
In a recent issue of Nature Materials, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers described work with collaborators in Hungary and France using computer simulations of crystal growth to advance understanding of how foreign particles -- either additives or impurities -- affect crystal growth patterns. They found that computer simulations developed to predict the crystal growth of metal alloys matched up remarkably well with microscope images of actual crystals grown in polymer films with thicknesses far below that of a human hair.
Randomly dispersed foreign particles in both the simulation and the real materials produced what the researchers dubbed "dizzy dendrites." In both cases, the tree-like branches in the crystals tend to curve and split, instead of forming the straight, symmetric patterns typical of pure crystals. Further simulations indicated that rotating the particles in concert during the solidification process produced spiraling dendrites.
Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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