Nature Communications

8 (1), 2017,  2041-1723

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02300-x

One of the central quantities in the context of crystal nucleation is the critical nucleus: a bunch of atoms/molecules/particles large just enough for the system to proceed to the growth of the newborn crystalline phase. However, we argue in this work that pre-critical nuclei can provide some unexpectedly important insight as well. And, in the process of figuring this out, we actually came up with a modification of classical nucleation theory (the tool of the trade when talking nucleation…) which is necessary when the crystalline polymorph nucleating heterogeneously differs from what you get from homogeneous nucleation…