Does Local Structure Bias How a Crystal Nucleus Evolves?

<p>The broad scientific and technological importance of crystallization has led to significant research probing and rationalizing crystallization processes, particularly how nascent</p> <p>crystal phases appear. Previous work has generally neglected the possibility of the molecular-level dynamics of individual nuclei coupling to local structures (e.g., that of the nucleus and its</p> <p>surrounding environment). However, recent experimental work has conjectured that this can occur. Therefore, to address a deficiency in scientific understanding of crystallization, we have</p> <p>probed the nucleation of prototypical single and multi-component crystals (specifically, ice and mixed gas hydrates). Here, we establish that local structures can bias the evolution of nascent</p> <p>crystal phases on a nanosecond timescale by, for example, promoting the appearance or disappearance of specific crystal motifs, and thus reveal a new facet of crystallization behaviour.</p> <p>Analysis of the crystallization literature confirms that structural biases are likely present during crystallization processes beyond ice and gas hydrate formation. Moreover, we demonstrate that</p> <p>structurally-biased dynamics are a lens for understanding existing computational and experimental results while pointing to future opportunities.</p>