Project Abstract

Interface Controlled Nucleation and Crystallisation for Nanoparticle Synthesis (INTERCONY) is a materials science project bringing together theoretical studies, computer simulations and experimental studies on the formation of interfaces during nucleation and crystal growth in liquids. The INTERCONY consortium is a strongly interdisciplinary team consisting of groups, involved in materials science research (glass), physics (computer simulation, transmission electron microscopy), physical chemistry (theory of nucleation and crystallisation) as well as Europe/s leading supplier of special glasses, engaged in glass research, development and production. The consortium consists of six partners from four European countries and is ideally suited to address these tasks. If a crystal is formed in a multicomponent liquid, it does not possess the same chemical composition as the liquid. Hence, in highly viscous liquids such as melts, polymers or sols, the composition of the liquid will change near the emerging crystals. Such interface can either enhance diffusion and hence accelerating crystal growth or form a diffusional barrier which leads to a decay in crystal growth velocity. Since in the latter case crystal growth is notably hampered, the formation of a high volume concentration of nano crystals with narrow size distribution is facilitated. INTERCONY goes beyond a purely thermodynamic and kinetic theory for nucleation and crystal growth by including a completely new approach taking into account the structure of the liquid. This is done by combining percolation theory with the theories of nucleation and crystal growth. At a high degree of polymerization, a network is rigid or below a certain threshold, i.e. number of covalent bridges per network former, turns into a floppy network. However, also within a rigid network, tiny floppy regions exist, which enable nucleation if their size is larger than that of a critical nucleus. Once a nucleus is formed in a multicomponent system, the chemical composition changes near the nucleus and the network may switch from floppy to rigid. Within INTERCONY a completely new approach is being developed which is expected to lead to a drastic extension of knowledge and should result in general routes enabling the preparation of nano crystalline multifunctional materials with properties tailored with respect to the respective application. Derived from fundamental studies, INTERCONY will furthermore provide technical guidelines for the preparation of nano glass-ceramics with emphasis on multifunctional materials especially for novel photonic applications. This study will enable the utilisation of partially crystalline materials as photonic components and leads to a high potential impact also with respect to future photonic systems.

List of Participants

Partner ID
Jena University, Otto-Schott-Institute
Prof. C. Russel (Coordinator)
Glass Science Nucleation and Crystallisation Glass structure, Glass properties
Institute Physical Chemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Prof. I. Avramov
Nucleation and Crystallisation (Theory and Experiment) Glass properties (viscosity and diffusion coefficients)
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Prof. P. Argyrakis
Modelling, Simulation
Schott AG, Mainz, Germany
Dr. U. Fotheringham
Leibniz-Institute for Surface Modification
PD Dr. Th. Hoche
Analytical transmission electron microscopy
Instituto de Ceramica y Vidrio
Dr. Alicia Duran
Glass Science, Spectroscopy, Nucleation and crystallisation

(c) Computational Physics Group A.U.Th.