Understanding Crystallisation: Faraday Discussion

11 - 13 April 2022, York, United Kingdom



Join us in April 2022 for this addition to our Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have been the forefront of physical chemistry. Many of these Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field.
This meeting is for established and early-career scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers interested in measuring, modelling and designing crystallisation processes.  The unique format of the Faraday Discussions will allow for in-depth discussions of issues critical to the development of crystallisation research. The meeting will bring together communities of scientists studying nucleation in different contexts such as inorganics, organics, porous materials, and biological systems, offering opportunities to establish new collaborations.
On behalf of our committee, we look forward to welcoming you to York.
Fiona Meldrum
Chair, Understanding Crystallisation


The RSC is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, or have childcare, caring responsibilities or other care needs, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance. Please refer also to our Grants for carers fund, for more information please see the ‘bursaries’ section on this page.


Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal.
Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in this video:


Crystallisation, the spontaneous arrangement of molecular building blocks into ordered solid particles, is a fascinating phenomenon. Understanding the dynamic, molecular-scale processes that underlie crystal nucleation and growth holds the key to designing the production of specific crystalline materials. The ability to induce crystallisation how, when and where we want it is key to material synthesis. Such capabilities will transform industrial and environmental sectors, including healthcare, formulated products, oil and gas, water, mining and advanced materials.

The Discussion will focus on the following four themes:
Understanding crystal nucleation mechanisms: where do we stand?
We will discuss recent advances and outstanding challenges in measuring, modelling and engineering the nucleation of crystals. Classical nucleation theory and its relevance, controlling nucleation and tackling heterogeneous nucleation will be discussed. We will ask which model systems best enable theory and experiment to work together to provide new insights, what we can learn from colloidal systems, and if we can understand and engineer secondary nucleation.
Growing crystals by design
This session will cover advances and challenges in modelling, measuring and engineering crystal growth, with an emphasis on predicting morphologies and influencing growth via engineered surfaces. We will discuss what factors to control to engineer growth, kinetics versus thermodynamics in crystal growth, and understanding where crystal growth appears on the surface. We will also ask whether epitaxial matching matters and if we can engineer surface topography to direct growth.
Controlling polymorphism
Polymorphism affects both organic and inorganic materials, in particular carbonates. Challenges lie in predicting the polymorphic outcome of a crystallisation process, polymorph solubility and exploiting polymorphism to obtain adaptive functional materials such as breathing MOFs. In this session, the prediction of processes that lead to specific polymorphs, the size a growing cluster has to be before its crystal phase is fixed and the prevention of unwanted polymorph production will all be discussed.
Learning Lessons from Nature – the future of biomimetics
In nature, crystallisation plays a role in many biological systems. Complex control mechanisms involving peptides, confined volumes and crowded environments allow natural crystalline materials to grow into beautiful, functional structures. This session will cover the use of biomimetic principles in engineering functional materials and developing more efficient crystallisation processes. We will discuss the limitations of biomimetic principles and how to get around these. We will also consider if the ability to design multifunctional nanocomposite materials, which are themselves devices, is within reach.
National Stem Learning Centre

National Stem Learning Centre, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom

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