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Press Release 06-067

Crystal Sieves, Born Anew

Hard data resolves decades-old mystery of how certain zeolites form

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Silicon-oxygen nanoparticles aggregate to form zeolites.

Silicon-oxygen nanoparticles aggregate to form zeolites, capturing other atoms and molecules in the process. The resulting minerals have regularly-shaped, intricate pore and channel systems throughout their structures.

Credit: Michael Tsapatsis, University of Minnesota


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R. Lee  Penn of the University of Minnesota department of chemistry.

R. Lee Penn of the University of Minnesota department of chemistry uses the Tecnai F30 high-resolution microscope to study zeolite formation. The scope was purchased with the support of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant.

Credit: Patrick O'Leary, University of Minnesota


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Tracy Davis, lead author on the zeolite study.

Tracy Davis, lead author on the zeolite study, used the Small Angle X-Ray Scattering System on loan from Anton Paar GmbH of Granz, Austria, to study zeolite formation and growth.

Credit: University of Minnesota


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Laboratory-grown zeolites appear to form in a hierarchical, steep-bystep fashion.

Laboratory-grown zeolites appear to form in a hierarchical, steep-by-step fashion with silicon-oxygen nanoparticles forming first. Those particles then aggregate into larger, more complex structures, incorporating other atoms and molecules while still leaving substantial pores and tunnels.

Credit: Michael Tsapatsis, University of Minnesota


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Michael Tsapatis is the principal investigator for the zeolite growth study.

Michael Tsapatis is the principal investigator for the zeolite growth study.

Credit: University of Minnesota


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