Trying to grow crystals can be downright “disheartening.” That’s the way Daniel Chica, a Northwestern University grad student working with Mercouri Kanatzidis describes his experience trying to crystalize a neutron-absorbing seleno-phosphate compound, LiInP2Se6. “I would set up the crystal growth reactions and wait a week or two for them to finish. After waiting all that time, I would take the glass tubes out of the furnace filled with hope and, to my dismay, see amorphous blobs where I hoped to see crystals. As I was giving up hope, I set up a reaction with a pinch of iodine and just the right temperatures and BAM! I was filled with awe as I saw these gigantic, ruby-colored crystals span the inside of the glass tube.” The researchers showed that the pretty semiconductor crystals can be used to make a sensitive neutron detector.
Read more at cenm.ag/lisemibr.
Credit: Nature 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1886-8
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