Demonstration of single crystal growth via solid-solid transformation of a glass

Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 18:6:23324. doi: 10.1038/srep23324.


Many advanced technologies have relied on the availability of single crystals of appropriate material such as silicon for microelectronics or superalloys for turbine blades. Similarly, many promising materials could unleash their full potential if they were available in a single crystal form. However, the current methods are unsuitable for growing single crystals of these oftentimes incongruently melting, unstable or metastable materials. Here we demonstrate a strategy to overcome this hurdle by avoiding the gaseous or liquid phase, and directly converting glass into a single crystal. Specifically, Sb2S3 single crystals are grown in Sb-S-I glasses as an example of this approach. In this first unambiguous demonstration of an all-solid-state glass → crystal transformation, extraneous nucleation is avoided relative to crystal growth via spatially localized laser heating and inclusion of a suitable glass former in the composition. The ability to fabricate patterned single-crystal architecture on a glass surface is demonstrated, providing a new class of micro-structured substrate for low cost epitaxial growth, active planar devices, etc.

Publication types

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