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A critical analysis of calcium carbonate mesocrystals

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5341 DOI Help
PMID: 25014563 PMID Help

Authors: Yi-yeoun Kim (University of Leeds) , Anna Schenk (University of Leeds) , Johannes Ihli (University of Leeds) , Alex N. Kulak (University of Leeds) , Nicola B. J. Hetherington (University of Leeds) , Chiu Tang (Diamond Light Source) , Wolfgang W. Schmahl (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Department für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften, Sektion Kristallographie) , Erika Griesshaber (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Department für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften, Sektion Kristallographie) , Geoffrey Hyett (University of Southampton) , Fiona Meldrum (University of Leeds)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 5 , PAGES 3954-3961

State: Published (Approved)
Published: July 2014

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The term mesocrystal has been widely used to describe crystals that form by oriented assembly, and that exhibit nanoparticle substructures. Using calcite crystals co-precipitated with polymers as a suitable test case, this article looks critically at the concept of mesocrystals. Here we demonstrate that the data commonly used to assign mesocrystal structure may be frequently misinterpreted, and that these calcite/polymer crystals do not have nanoparticle substructures. Although morphologies suggest the presence of nanoparticles, these are only present on the crystal surface. High surface areas are only recorded for crystals freshly removed from solution and are again attributed to a thin shell of nanoparticles on a solid calcite core. Line broadening in powder X-ray diffraction spectra is due to lattice strain only, precluding the existence of a nanoparticle sub-structure. Finally, study of the formation mechanism provides no evidence for crystalline precursor particles. A re-evaluation of existing literature on some mesocrystals may therefore be required.

Subject Areas: Materials, Chemistry


Instruments: I11-High Resolution Powder Diffraction