American Chemical Society
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Seeking Rules Governing Mixed Molecular Crystallization

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-12-15, 15:13 authored by Norbert M. Villeneuve, Joshua Dickman, Thierry Maris, Graeme M. Day, James D. Wuest
Mixed crystals result when components of the structure are randomly replaced by analogues in ratios that can be varied continuously over certain ranges. Mixed crystals are useful because their properties can be adjusted by increments, simply by altering the ratio of components. Unfortunately, no clear rules exist to predict when two compounds are similar enough to form mixed crystals containing substantial amounts of both. To gain further understanding, we have used single-crystal X-ray diffraction, computational methods, and other tools to study mixed crystallizations within a selected set of structurally related compounds. This work has allowed us to begin to clarify the rules governing the phenomenon by showing that mixed crystals can have compositions and properties that vary continuously over wide ranges, even when the individual components do not normally crystallize in the same way. Moreover, close agreement of the results of our experiments and computational modeling demonstrates that reliable predictions about mixed crystallization can be made, despite the complexity of the phenomenon.