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Droplet microfluidics XRD identifies effective nucleating agents for calcium carbonate

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201808172 DOI Help

Authors: Mark A. Levenstein (University of Leeds) , Clara Anduix-canto (University of Leeds) , Yi-yeoun Kim (University of Leeds) , Mark A. Holden (University of Leeds) , Carlos Gonzalez Nino (University of Leeds) , David C. Green (University of Leeds) , Stephanie E. Foster (University of Leeds) , Alexander N. Kulak (University of Leeds) , Lata Govada (Imperial College London) , Naomi E. Chayen (Imperial College London) , Sarah J. Day (Diamond Light Source) , Chiu C. Tang (Diamond Light Source) , Britta Weinhausen (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) , Manfred Burghammer (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) , Nikil Kapur (University of Leeds) , Fiona C. Meldrum (University of Leeds)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Advanced Functional Materials , VOL 114

State: Published (Approved)
Published: March 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 10425 , 12352 , 17729

Abstract: The ability to control crystallization reactions is required in a vast range of processes including the production of functional inorganic materials and pharmaceuticals and the prevention of scale. However, it is currently limited by a lack of understanding of the mechanisms underlying crystal nucleation and growth. To address this challenge, it is necessary to carry out crystallization reactions in well‐defined environments, and ideally to perform in situ measurements. Here, a versatile microfluidic synchrotron‐based technique is presented to meet these demands. Droplet microfluidic‐coupled X‐ray diffraction (DMC‐XRD) enables the collection of time‐resolved, serial diffraction patterns from a stream of flowing droplets containing growing crystals. The droplets offer reproducible reaction environments, and radiation damage is effectively eliminated by the short residence time of each droplet in the beam. DMC‐XRD is then used to identify effective particulate nucleating agents for calcium carbonate and to study their influence on the crystallization pathway. Bioactive glasses and a model material for mineral dust are shown to significantly lower the induction time, highlighting the importance of both surface chemistry and topography on the nucleating efficiency of a surface. This technology is also extremely versatile, and could be used to study dynamic reactions with a wide range of synchrotron‐based techniques.

Journal Keywords: bioactive glass; crystallization; droplet microfluidics; nucleation; powder X‐ray diffraction; serial crystallography

Subject Areas: Materials, Chemistry, Engineering


Instruments: I11-High Resolution Powder Diffraction , I22-Small angle scattering & Diffraction

Other Facilities: ESRF