If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Chemistry in pictures

Selections from, where C&EN showcases the beauty of chemistry

by Manny I. Fox Morone , Craig Bettenhausen
April 3, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 14

Crystals in bloom

Copper(II) acetylacetonate crystals that look like wildflowers forming on the walls of a jar.
Credit: Kathryn Campbell
Dean Campbell, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Bradley University, found these wildflowerlike crystals of copper(II) acetylacetonate in his lab. His team was using jars filled with a solution of copper acetylacetonate in tetrahydrofuran (THF) for soaking slabs of polydimethylsiloxane. They hoped that the polymer slabs, which are known to absorb THF, would prove useful in catalysis. After these experiments, Campbell and his team found that the THF had slowly evaporated out of the closed jars, which were left in the back of a fume hood. As the solvent evaporated, these crystals formed on the jars’ walls.—Manny Morone


Supercooled n-butanol that has two distinct phases, one liquid crystal and one solid.
Credit: Klaas Wynne/Chris Syme/Finlay Walton
When n-butanol is supercooled to –133 °C, a liquid-crystal phase forms. You can see those phases in this photo: They’re the ~150-µm-diameter blue, red, and yellow droplets. When the remaining liquid crystallizes, the resultant crystals can’t penetrate into the droplets. Basically, this unusual liquid-crystal phase frustrates the formation of the crystals. This phenomenon can push liquids to solidify into glasses instead of crystals under certain conditions.—Craig Bettenhausen


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.