The results of research led partly in the frame of a LabEx project
make the front page of the prestigious review Science on 13th January 2017.
Many organic and inorganic compounds form only small crystals whose structures cannot be defined through X-ray or neutron diffraction. Thanks to the use of diffraction dynamics theory applied to data analysis of electron procession, structures of an organic compound (paracetamol) and inorganic compound (cobalt aluminophosphate) have been detected from crystals smaller than a micrometer.
This approach allows to detect even the smaller of atoms: hydrogene (represented by lighting halos on the front page). These works open new perspectives towards a large use of electron procession to define the structure of crystalline solids at an inacessible scale via X-ray and neutron diffraction.
The origin of this work comes from the NICE research project (Normandy Initiative for Crystallography using Electrons) led by Philippe Boullay (CRISMAT) and involving the CIMAP and LCS laboratories. Researchers from CRISMAT (P. Boullay, O. Pérez and S. Petit), LCS (S. Mintova and M. Zaarour) and L. Palatinus from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic have led the research on cobalt aluminophosphate within this frame.
Please find here the CNRS press release (french version)
Illustration: C. Bickel / Science ;
L. Palatinus et al., Science (2017)