Non-Photochemical Laser-Induced Nucleation (NPLIN)

Crystallization is the most widely used separation/purification process in industrial practice. Despite its widespread use, currently implemented industrial crystallization processes rely on trial-error to ensure desired crystal quality - crystal size distribution, polymorphic form, crystal shape and purity. Therefore they struggle to keep up with current product quality demands. Controlled and predictive production with no additional particle modification or recrystallization steps would be a significant improvement in industrial-scale synthesis on tailoring crystalline materials.

NPLIN is a promising yet not-completely-understood physiochemical phenomenon. Intense nanosecond laser pulse induces almost instantaneous crystallization in solutions of low supersaturation that would otherwise take weeks to nucleate. Therefore, it is necessary to study how light and induced flow fields due to local heating interact with molecules\molecular clusters and alter their crystallization pathways upon irradiation.

The current objective is to: (a) perform Molecular Dynamics simulations of (pre-)nucleus formation in the presence of an external laser field which induces ordering due to electrostatic interactions, (b) check non-equilibrium bubble-induced nucleation mechanisms by simulation, and (c) based on these results make predictions for specific experimental systems. Thus we aim towards a scalable, continuous, and commercially viable process capable of producing high quality, “first time right” crystals.