The displacement field associated with the freezing of a melt and its role in determining crystal growth kinetics.
ABSTRACT: The atomic displacements associated with the freezing of metals and salts are calculated by treating crystal growth as an assignment problem through the use of an optimal transport algorithm. Converting these displacements into timescales based on the dynamics of the bulk liquid, we show that we can predict the activation energy for crystal growth rates, including activation energies significantly smaller than those for atomic diffusion in the liquid. The exception to this success, pure metals that freeze into face-centered cubic crystals with little to no activation energy, are discussed. The atomic displacements generated by the assignment algorithm allows us to quantify the key roles of crystal structure and liquid caging length in determining the temperature dependence of crystal growth kinetics.
Project description:While common growth models assume a structure-less liquid composed of atomic flow units, structural ordering has been shown in liquid metals. Here, we conduct in situ transmission electron microscopy crystallization experiments on metallic glass nanorods, and show that structural ordering strongly affects crystal growth and is controlled by nanorod thermal history. Direct visualization reveals structural ordering as densely populated small clusters in a nanorod heated from the glass state, and similar behavior is found in molecular dynamics simulations of model metallic glasses. At the same growth temperature, the asymmetry in growth rate for rods that are heated versus cooled decreases with nanorod diameter and vanishes for very small rods. We hypothesize that structural ordering enhances crystal growth, in contrast to assumptions from common growth models. The asymmetric growth rate is attributed to the difference in the degree of the structural ordering, which is pronounced in the heated glass but sparse in the cooled liquid.
Project description:Molecular dynamics simulations of ubiquitin in water/glycerol solutions are used to test the suggestion by Karplus and coworkers that proteins in their biologically active state should exhibit a dynamics similar to 'surface-melted' inorganic nanoparticles (NPs). Motivated by recent studies indicating that surface-melted inorganic NPs are in a 'glassy' state that is an intermediate dynamical state between a solid and liquid, we probe the validity and significance of this proposed analogy. In particular, atomistic simulations of ubiquitin in solution based on CHARMM36 force field and pre-melted Ni NPs (Voter-Chen Embedded Atom Method potential) indicate a common dynamic heterogeneity, along with other features of glass-forming (GF) liquids such as collective atomic motion in the form of string-like atomic displacements, potential energy fluctuations and particle displacements with long range correlations ('colored' or 'pink' noise), and particle displacement events having a power law scaling in magnitude, as found in earthquakes. On the other hand, we find the dynamics of ubiquitin to be even more like a polycrystalline material in which the ?-helix and ?-sheet regions of the protein are similar to crystal grains so that the string-like collective atomic motion is concentrated in regions between the ?-helix and ?-sheet domains.
Project description:Physical properties of crystalline materials often manifest themselves as atomic displacements either away from symmetry positions or driven by external fields. Especially the origin of multiferroic or magnetoelectric effects may be hard to ascertain as the related displacements can reach the detection limit. Here we present a resonant X-ray crystal structure analysis technique that shows enhanced sensitivity to minute atomic displacements. It is applied to a recently found crystalline modification of strontium titanate that forms in single crystals under electric field due to oxygen vacancy migration. The phase has demonstrated unexpected properties, including piezoelectricity and pyroelectricity, which can only exist in non-centrosymmetric crystals. Apart from that, the atomic structure has remained elusive and could not be obtained by standard methods. Using resonant X-ray diffraction, we determine atomic displacements with sub-picometer precision and show that the modified structure of strontium titanate corresponds to that of well-known ferroelectrics such as lead titanate.
Project description:An improved algorithm has been developed for assigning chemical structures to incoming entries to the Cambridge Structural Database, using only the information available in the deposited CIF. Steps in the algorithm include detection of bonds, selection of polymer unit, resolution of disorder, and assignment of bond types and formal charges. The chief difficulty is posed by the large number of metallo-organic crystal structures that must be processed, given our aspiration that assigned chemical structures should accurately reflect properties such as the oxidation states of metals and redox-active ligands, metal coordination numbers and hapticities, and the aromaticity or otherwise of metal ligands. Other complications arise from disorder, especially when it is symmetry imposed or modelled with the SQUEEZE algorithm. Each assigned structure is accompanied by an estimate of reliability and, where necessary, diagnostic information indicating probable points of error. Although the algorithm was written to aid building of the Cambridge Structural Database, it has the potential to develop into a general-purpose tool for adding chemical information to newly determined crystal structures.
Project description:Crystallization from amorphous solids is generally caused by activating phonons in a wide frequency range during heat treatment. In contrast, the activation of phonons in a narrow frequency range using ultrasonic treatment also causes crystallization below the glass transition temperature. These behaviors indicate that crystallization is related to the atomic motion in the glass state, and it is suggested that the activation of specific atomic motion can cause crystallization without increasing temperature. In this study, we observe nucleation and nuclei growth caused by mechanical oscillation in a hard-sphere colloidal glass and evaluate the effect of mechanical oscillation on the structural evolution in the early stage of the crystallization. Oscillation between 5 and 100 Hz is applied to the colloidal glass, and it is observed that the nucleation rate increases under the 70 Hz oscillation, resulting in formation of stable nuclei in a short amount of time. The nuclei growth is also accelerated by the 70 Hz oscillation, whereas increases in the nucleation rate and nuclei growth were not observed at other frequencies. Finally, activation of the diffusion-based rattling of particles by caging is considered as a possible mechanism of the observations.
Project description:We define a molecular caging complex as a pair of molecules in which one molecule (the "host" or "cage") possesses a cavity that can encapsulate the other molecule (the "guest") and prevent it from escaping. Molecular caging complexes can be useful in applications such as molecular shape sorting, drug delivery, and molecular immobilization in materials science, to name just a few. However, the design and computational discovery of new caging complexes is a challenging task, as it is hard to predict whether one molecule can encapsulate another because their shapes can be quite complex. In this paper, we propose a computational screening method that predicts whether a given pair of molecules form a caging complex. Our method is based on a caging verification algorithm that was designed by our group for applications in robotic manipulation. We tested our algorithm on three pairs of molecules that were previously described in a pioneering work on molecular caging complexes and found that our results are fully consistent with the previously reported ones. Furthermore, we performed a screening experiment on a data set consisting of 46 hosts and four guests and used our algorithm to predict which pairs are likely to form caging complexes. Our method is computationally efficient and can be integrated into a screening pipeline to complement experimental techniques.
Project description:Atomic collision processes are fundamental to numerous advanced materials technologies such as electron microscopy, semiconductor processing and nuclear power generation. Extensive experimental and computer simulation studies over the past several decades provide the physical basis for understanding the atomic-scale processes occurring during primary displacement events. The current international standard for quantifying this energetic particle damage, the Norgett-Robinson-Torrens displacements per atom (NRT-dpa) model, has nowadays several well-known limitations. In particular, the number of radiation defects produced in energetic cascades in metals is only ~1/3 the NRT-dpa prediction, while the number of atoms involved in atomic mixing is about a factor of 30 larger than the dpa value. Here we propose two new complementary displacement production estimators (athermal recombination corrected dpa, arc-dpa) and atomic mixing (replacements per atom, rpa) functions that extend the NRT-dpa by providing more physically realistic descriptions of primary defect creation in materials and may become additional standard measures for radiation damage quantification.
Project description:The conventional superposition methods use an ordinary least squares (LS) fit for structural comparison of two different conformations of the same protein. The main problem of the LS fit that it is sensitive to outliers, i.e. large displacements of the original structures superimposed.To overcome this problem, we present a new algorithm to overlap two protein conformations by their atomic coordinates using a robust statistics technique: least median of squares (LMS). In order to effectively approximate the LMS optimization, the forward search technique is utilized. Our algorithm can automatically detect and superimpose the rigid core regions of two conformations with small or large displacements. In contrast, most existing superposition techniques strongly depend on the initial LS estimating for the entire atom sets of proteins. They may fail on structural superposition of two conformations with large displacements. The presented LMS fit can be considered as an alternative and complementary tool for structural superposition.The proposed algorithm is robust and does not require any prior knowledge of the flexible regions. Furthermore, we show that the LMS fit can be extended to multiple level superposition between two conformations with several rigid domains. Our fit tool has produced successful superpositions when applied to proteins for which two conformations are known. The binary executable program for Windows platform, tested examples, and database are available from https://engineering.purdue.edu/PRECISE/LMSfit.
Project description:Engineering atomic structures at metal surfaces represents an important step in the development of novel nanomaterials and nanodevices, but relies predominantly on atomic/molecular beam epitaxy under ultrahigh vacuum conditions, where controlling the deposition processes remains challenging. By using solution-borne nanosized gold clusters as a precursor, here we develop a wet deposition protocol to the fabrication of atomically flat gold nanoislands, so as to utilize the dynamic exchange of surface-active molecules at the liquid-metal interface for manipulating the growth kinetics of ultrathin metallic nanostructures. While remarkable shape and size selection of gold nanoislands is observed, our experimental and theoretical investigations provide compelling evidences that organic adsorbates can impart a bias to the island orientation by preferred adsorption and alignment and intervene in the assembly and disassembly of adatom islands by complexing with Au adatoms. This approach offers a simple solution to regulate atomic layer growth of metals at ambient conditions.
Project description:Low-frequency vibrations are crucial for protein structure and function, but only a few experimental techniques can shine light on them. The main challenge when addressing protein dynamics in the terahertz domain is the ubiquitous water that exhibit strong absorption. In this paper, we observe the protein atoms directly using X-ray crystallography in bovine trypsin at 100?K while irradiating the crystals with 0.5?THz radiation alternating on and off states. We observed that the anisotropy of atomic displacements increased upon terahertz irradiation. Atomic displacement similarities developed between chemically related atoms and between atoms of the catalytic machinery. This pattern likely arises from delocalized polar vibrational modes rather than delocalized elastic deformations or rigid-body displacements. The displacement correlation between these atoms were detected by a hierarchical clustering method, which can assist the analysis of other ultra-high resolution crystal structures. These experimental and analytical tools provide a detailed description of protein dynamics to complement the structural information from static diffraction experiments.