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A U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science funded Energy Frontier Research Center

Research Highlights 


Reaction network highlight slide




Miura-Observing and modeling



Wustrow-Lowering ternary oxide synthesis temperatures






Beauvais-FeS flow cell



Wright-Crystal mapping






Denney-Illuminating Single Crystal Growth



Rakita Active Reaction Control






Xia-Directed solution growth



ONolan-Gradient accelerated




Franco-In situ growth




Rimsza-Energetics and Structure



Cosby-Salt Effects



Pouchard-Data Curation



Coaty-Morphological Tuning



Synthesis of metal chloride films


Insights into bond strain in cluster-mediated synthesis

research image of hydrolysis and condensationHighlighted from cover article: John B. Parise, Bingying Xia, Jack W. Simonson, William R. Woerne, Anna M. Plonka, Brian L. Phillips and Lars Ehm  Crystals 2019, 9(5),246;

Scientific Achievement

Determined the complete atomic arrangement in akdalaite, the presumed analogue of ferrihydrite, a sink for toxins in nature, and used as a synthetic barrier to contamination for environmental clean-up.

Significance and Impact

Provides insights into how the Al-analogue, which is defect free in nano- and fully condensed forms,  can provide a basis to model the defect structure of ferrihydrite, which changes along the reaction pathway.  

Research Details

In oxide-hydroxides condensed from clusters, significant strain accompanies conversion from cluster to extended nano-particles and crystals.

Joint x-ray, neutron and NMR studies reveal the extent of structural distortion and bond strain, compared to the clusters from which the extended solids are synthesized. 

The clusters are unstrained; condensation leads to significant under-bonding of the metals in the central tetrahedral site.