A few lessons that colloidal nanoparticles can teach us about the non-equilibrium properties of crystals

events hall

Dr. Assaf Ben-Moshe*




The fact that many crystals are not in equilibrium, is quite obvious and not very surprising. Yet, this often complicates our attempts to understand and engineer their properties. Specifically, understanding crystal growth trajectories, or their behavior when made out of active, self-propelling subunits, are two important topics relevant for current and future applications, which are governed by kinetic considerations.

Despite some complications that exist when trying to make analogies between the behavior of bulk and nano-scale crystals, the latter offers many advantages when trying to address some key questions about kinetic aspects of crystallization. In my talk, I will present two different cases where advanced electron microscopy techniques, combined with the beneficial properties of nanocrystals enable us to shed light on such questions.

The first story, which deals with morphologies of crystals, dates all the way back to the 19th century and the seminal work by Louis Pasteur on crystals that exhibit chiral macroscopic shapes when made out of chiral building blocks. Using a nano-scale model system, we are able to show that the reason why chiral building blocks lead to the formation of chiral shapes, in crystals, might not always be as trivial as expected.

In the second part of the talk, I will present our attempts, using liquid-phase electron microscopy, to understand the basic rules that govern the transport of nano-particles in liquids. This is meant to pave the way to ultimately use them as building blocks for non-equilibrium active crystals.

*Post-doctoral fellow at Prof. Dan Oron Group

Seminar via ZOOM