Scientists take on the crystal maze

May 22, 2006

Scientists at the University of Manchester are to create the first 3D model of the maze-like crystals known as Zeolites.

Professor Michael Anderson of the University's Centre for Microporous Materials will lead an international research team in a bid to create the first 3D ‘map' of the material.

Zeolites are porous crystals commonly known as molecular sieves. They are made up of a complex maze of tunnels which can be used to purify or filter materials such as water or crude oil when they are passed through the crystal.

The aim of the three-year project is to understand how Zeolite crystals grow in order to gain a better understanding of their morphology. If successful, the model will then be used to inform new techniques for controlling crystal growth.

Professor Anderson said: “If we can create a model of the complex 3D puzzle inside porous materials such as Zeolites we will be one step closer to understanding how to control the growth and final shapes of these crystals.

“If we can control crystal growth then we will have the potential to create defect free crystals with unlimited applications in electronics, oil refinement and even nuclear clean-up.”

An analytical technique known as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) will be used to map the topology of the material at a sub-nanometre scale. Electron Microscopy will also be used to analyse the crystal interior structure and defects. Both techniques will be combined with advanced theory and modelling techniques to create the model.

The research will be funded by a £1.1m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Professor Anderson added: “We hope to substantially improve the fundamental understanding of the crystal growth of a whole class of nano-porous materials.”

Source: The University of Manchester

Explore further: Researchers find tin selenide shows promise for efficiently converting waste heat into electrical energy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Physicists create new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

12 hours ago

A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminescent nanoparticle to use in security-related radiation detection may have instead happened upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy.

Recommended for you

Novel technique opens door to better solar cells

Apr 14, 2014

A team of scientists, led by Assistant Professor Andrivo Rusydi from the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science, has successfully developed a technique to ...

Probing metal solidification nondestructively

Apr 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —Los Alamos researchers and collaborators have used nondestructive imaging techniques to study the solidification of metal alloy samples. The team used complementary methods of proton radiography ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...