Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Crystal Mysteries Spiral Deeper

Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Chemists have discovered crystal growth complexities, which at first glance appeared to confound 50 years of theory.

Their findings, which appear in the latest edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have a range of implications—from the production of pharmaceuticals and new electronic materials to unraveling the pathways for kidney stone formation.

The researchers focused on L-cystine crystals, the chief component of a particularly nefarious kind of kidney stone. The authors hoped to improve their understanding of how these crystals form and grow in order to design therapeutic agents that inhibit stone formation.

While the interest in L-cystine crystals is limited to the biomedical arena, understanding the details of crystal growth, especially the role of defects—or imperfections in crystals—is critical to the advancement of emerging technologies that aim to use organic crystalline materials.

Scientists in the Molecular Design Institute in the NYU Department of Chemistry have been examining defects in crystals called screw dislocations – features on the surface of a crystal that resemble a spiraled ham.

Dislocations were first posed by William Keith Burton, Nicolás Cabrera, and Sir Frederick Charles Frank in the late 1940s as essential for crystal growth. The so-called BCF theory posited that crystals with one screw dislocation would form hillocks that resembled a spiral staircase while those with two screw dislocations would merge and form a structure similar to a Mayan pyramid—a series of stacked “island” surfaces that are closed off from each other.

Using atomic force microscopy, the Molecular Design Institute team examined both kinds of screw dislocations in L-cystine crystals at nanoscale resolution. Their results showed exactly the opposite of what BCF theory predicted—crystals with one screw dislocation seemed to form stacked hexagonal “islands” while those with two proximal screw dislocations produced a six-sided spiral staircase.

A re-examination of these micrographs by Molecular Design Institute scientist Alexander Shtukenberg, in combination with computer simulations, served to refine the actual crystal growth sequence and found that, in fact, BCF theory still held. In other words, while the crystals’ physical appearance seemed at odds with the long-standing theory, they actually did grow in a manner predicted decades ago.

“These findings are remarkable in that they didn’t, at first glance, make any sense,” said NYU Chemistry Professor Michael Ward, one of the authors of the publication. “They appeared to contradict 60 years of thinking about crystal growth, but in fact revealed that crystal growth is at once elegant and complex, with hidden features that must be extracted if it is to be understood. More importantly, this example serves as a warning that first impressions are not always correct.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Light Shed on Genetic Regulation
A team of scientists has uncovered greater intricacy in protein signaling than was previously understood, shedding new light on the nature of genetic production.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Minor Flu Strains Pack a Bigger Punch
Minor variants of flu strains, which are not typically targeted in vaccines, carry a bigger viral punch than previously realized, a team of scientists has found.
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Shedding Light on the Origin of the Date Palm
Researchers also find ‘genetic mutation’ that is responsible for dates’ color.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Researchers Find “Decoder Ring” Powers in microRNA
MicroRNA can serve as a "decoder ring" for understanding complex biological processes, a team of New York Univ. chemists has found.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Differences in Tanning Treatments for Materials Discovered
NYU scientists have shown that different tanning treatments of skins can be identified.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Chemists Find New Way to Put the Brakes on Cancer
US scientists are looking for the new targets and next generation of therapeutics to stop cancer nationwide.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Sequentially Expressed Genes in Neural Progenitors Create Neural Diversity
Scientists found that a series of genes sequentially expressed in brain stem cells control the generation of neural diversity in visual system of fruit flies.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Researchers Use Sugar to Halt Esophageal Cancer in Its Track
The findings, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, have important implications for patients and may help to monitor their condition and prevent the development of cancer.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Scientific News
Improving Natural Killer Cancer Therapy
Vanderbilt University researchers discover transcription factor critical for NK cell expansion. Findings could lead to increased therapeutic efficacy.
Molecular Mechanism For Generating Specific Antibody Responses Discovered
Study could spur more ways to treat autoimmune disease, develop accurate vaccines.
Monovar Drills Down Into Cancer Genome
Rice, MD Anderson develop program to ID mutations in single cancer cells.
It’s Now Easier To Go With The Flow
Rice University tool simplifies comparison of flow cytometry data for laboratories.
Autism and Cancer Share a Remarkable Number of Risk Genes
Researchers with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, MIND Institute identify more than 40 common genes.
Number Of Known Genetic Risk Factors For Endometrial Cancer Doubled
An international collaboration of researchers has identified five new gene regions that increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, one of the most common cancers to affect women, taking the number of known gene regions associated with the disease to nine.
Genetic Variant May Help Explain Why Labradors Are Prone To Obesity
A genetic variation associated with obesity and appetite in Labrador retrievers – the UK and US’s favourite dog breed – has been identified by scientists at the University of Cambridge. The finding may explain why Labrador retrievers are more likely to become obese than dogs of other breeds.
FNIH Launches Project to Evaluate Biomarkers in Cancer Patients
Company has announced that it has launched a new project to evaluate the effectiveness of liquid biopsies as biomarkers in colorectal cancer patients.
Flowering Regulation Mechanism Discovered
Monash researchers have discovered a new mechanism that enables plants to regulate their flowering in response to raised temperatures.
Turning Skin Cells into Heart, Brain Cells
In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!