Every chemist who routinely uses single-crystal X-ray crystallography to verify structures wishes that they could grow perfectly X-ray-worthy crystals every time with ease. But as University of Southern California graduate student Van Do can attest, compounds sometimes seem to have their own ideas. Case in point: this iridium complex she was trying to characterize formed a cluster of long, thin crystals resembling seaweed. Pretty, but sadly not quite up to par for single-crystal diffraction. Solvent, temperature, timing, and many other variables can all influence crystal formation, so finding the perfect crystal-growing conditions for a given compound sometimes feels like “black magic,” says Do.
Submitted by Van Do
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