Unique crystal morphologies of glycine grown from octanoic acid-in-water emulsions

Catherine E. Nicholson, Sharon J. Cooper*, Matthew J. Jamieson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We have obtained both porous and dendritic, intricate morphology crystals of β-glycine by the novel and simple method of emulsion droplet adhesion and encapsulation. By using octanoic acid emulsified with nonionic surfactants, the adhesion of the emulsion droplets can be so strong that, remarkably, crystal growth often proceeds around the droplets, leading to their inclusion within the single crystals. Consequently, porous single crystals can be produced with the pore diameters (∼10-25 μm) corresponding to the emulsion droplet sizes. Highly intricate, dendritic morphologies for glycine were obtained by increasing the surfactant concentration in the emulsions to 50%. In this case, partial droplet encapsulation results in crystal dendrites growing on either side of adsorbed droplets, with the complex morphologies developing due to the high density of dendritic branches that can occur. These intricate morphologies are in stark contrast to the facetted crystals that normally develop at these low supersaturations in the absence of octanoic acid droplets. This study demonstrates that complex architectures can be attained by using simple emulsion systems and tuning the degree of droplet adhesion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7718-7719
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number24
Early online date25 May 2006
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


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