Scientists throw crystals a curve

Particles forced to assemble inside a sphere form ordered ribbons

By Beth Mole, 12:51 PM February 6, 2014

Scientists don’t need a crystal ball to predict how crystalline solids grow on flat planes. But it might come in handy for curved surfaces.

By trapping particles in tiny balls of water, scientists got their first glimpse of crystal formation in rounded environments. Researchers found that the caged crystals formed arched ribbons inside the sphere rather than the compact clumps seen on flat surfaces. The findings appear in the Feb. 7 Science.

Curves offer a particular challenge for forming cryst...

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