Crystal growth at liquid-liquid interfaces studied with atomic resolution


Growth at interfaces between two immiscible liquids is of increasing interest for the formation of nanomaterials. In a recent publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the group of Bridget Murphy and Olaf Magnussen (IEAP, CAU) together with collaborators Moshe Deutsch (Bar-Illan University, Israel), Ben Ocko (Brookvaven National Laboratory, USA), and Oliver Seeck (DESY) report a first atomic scale study of such growth processes. Using the LISA diffractometer at the PETRA III sychrotron source, build by the Kiel group and funded by the German ministry for education and research (BMBF), the interface between liquid mercury and a salt solution containing lead, bromide, and fluoride ions was investigated by X-ray scattering. Surprisingly, a subnanometer thin crystalline layer was found to form between the two liquid phases, which served as a template for the subsequent growth of larger crystallites. 
(CAU press release 94/2013 from 2013-04-10)