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From Droplet to Crystal – X-Ray Scat­tering Shows Crystal Formation in 3D

Jülich, 8 June 2017 – Take a solution mixed with nanoparticles, place a drop on a suitable substrate, for example silicon, and wait until the solvent has evaporated. What is left behind are solid, highly ordered crystals, similar to a salt crust. This surprisingly simple method makes it possible to produce thin layers with novel properties that are required, for example, in solar cells, computer chips, or in constructing sensors and detectors. An international research team investigated this drop casting method in X-ray scattering experiments and observed how the iron oxide nanoparticles join together to form an ordered crystal. These types of magnetic nanoparticles are particularly interesting for applications in high-density storage media and new approaches to cancer therapy that are still under development.

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