Powerful X-ray beams unlock secrets of nanoscale crystal formation

(Georgia Institute of Technology) High-energy X-ray beams and a clever experimental setup allowed researchers to watch a high-pressure, high-temperature chemical reaction to determine for the first time what controls formation of two different nanoscale crystalline structures in the metal cobalt. The technique allowed continuous study of cobalt nanoparticles as they grew from clusters including tens of atoms to crystals as large as five nanometers.