Oriented attachment and mesocrystals: non-classical crystallization mechanisms based on nanoparticle assembly

Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2006 Jul 28;8(28):3271-87. doi: 10.1039/b604589h. Epub 2006 Jun 8.


In this review, we highlight particle based crystallization pathways leading to single crystals via mesoscopic transformation. In contrast to the classical mechanism of atom/molecule mediated growth of a single crystal, the particle mediated growth and assembly mechanisms are summarized as "non-classical crystallization", including exiting processes like oriented attachment and mesocrystal formation. Detailed investigations of non-classical crystallization mechanisms are a recent development, but evidence for these pathways is rapidly increasing in the literature. A major driving force for these investigations originates from biomineralization, because it seems that these crystallization routes are frequently applied by natural organisms. We give a non-exhaustive literature survey on these two mechanisms with a focus on recent examples and studies, which are dedicated to a mechanistic understanding. Furthermore, conditions are introduced for which these non-classical crystallization mechanisms can be expected, as they are always an alternative reaction pathway to classical crystallization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Computer Simulation
  • Crystallization / methods*
  • Crystallography / methods*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nanotechnology / trends
  • Particle Size