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Birth of solids: atomic-scale processes in crystal nucleation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 CLUSTER project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the CLUSTER project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "CLUSTER" about.

clustering    materials    molecular    experiments    density    solid    nucleus    electron    firstly    microscopy    catalysis    condensed    trigger    nucleation    despite    dynamics    onset    thermal    functional    monitor    particle    scientific    nano    solutions    graphene    fundamentally    transmission    final    technological    embryos    constitutes    prompt    initiated    deposited    crystallization    significance    original    synthesis    formed    length    cluster    calculations    atomistic    condensation    nuclei    cell    stages    tiniest    simulations    clusters    precipitate    3d    science    expectations    initial    resolution    atomic    ions    evolution    supersaturated    merely    critical    atoms    crystalline    secondly    phenomena    structure    experimental    solids    microscope    birth    inspected    mechanisms    unprecedented    theory    liquid    sub    precipitation    stability    thirdly    qualitatively    activation    molecules    explore    behave    suspended    situ    fundamental    complemented   

Project "CLUSTER" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 8600

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙271˙250 €
 EC max contribution 2˙271˙250 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-06-01   to  2021-05-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The goal of this project is to explore the fundamental processes which trigger the nucleation and growth of solids. Condensed matter is formed by clustering of atoms, ions or molecules. This initial step is key for the onset of crystallization, condensation and precipitate formation. Yet, despite of the scientific and technological significance of these phenomena, on an atomistic level we merely have expectations on how atoms should behave rather than experimental evidence about how the growth of solid matter is initiated. The classical nucleation theory is commonly in agreement with experiments, provided the original and the final stages are inspected qualitatively. However, the classical theory does not define what fundamentally constitutes a pre-nucleation state or how a nucleus is formed at all. CLUSTER aims at investigating the very early stages of crystalline matter formation on an unprecedented length scale. It shall explore the atomic mechanisms which prompt the formation of solids. Complemented by density functional theory calculations and molecular dynamics simulations, in-situ high-resolution electron microscopy shall be used to investigate the formation, dynamics, stability and evolution of tiniest atomic clusters which represent the embryos of solid matter. Firstly, we investigate the 3D structure of clusters deposited on suspended graphene. Secondly, we focus on cluster formation, the evolution of sub-critical nuclei and the onset of particle growth by thermal activation. Thirdly, using a novel liquid-cell approach in the transmission electron microscope, we control and monitor in-situ cluster formation and precipitation in supersaturated solutions. The results of CLUSTER, which will advance the understanding of the birth of solid matter, are important for the controlled synthesis of (nano-)materials, for cluster science and catalysis and for the development of novel materials.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 S. Griffiths, J.R. Croteau, M.D. Rossell, R. Erni, A. De Luca, N.Q. Vo, D.C. Dunand, C. Leinenbach
Coarsening- and Creep Resistance of Precipitation-Strengthened Al-Mg-Zr Alloys Processed by Selective Laser Melting
published pages: , ISSN: 1359-6454, DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2020.02.008
Acta Materialia 2020-02-19
2020 Yonggui Zhao, Christos K. Mavrokefalos, Ping Zhang, Rolf Erni, Jingguo Li, C. A. Triana, Greta R. Patzke
Self-Templating Strategies for Transition Metal Sulfide Nanoboxes as Robust Bifunctional Electrocatalysts
published pages: , ISSN: 0897-4756, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.9b02933
Chemistry of Materials 2020-02-13
2019 J. Nordlander, M. Campanini, M. D. Rossell, R. Erni, Q. N. Meier, A. Cano, N. A. Spaldin, M. Fiebig, M. Trassin
The ultrathin limit of improper ferroelectricity
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13474-x
Nature Communications 10/1 2019-12-17
2019 Trond Rypdal Henninen, Marta Bon, Feng Wang, Daniele Passerone, Rolf Erni
The Structure of Sub-nm Platinum Clusters at Elevated Temperatures
published pages: , ISSN: 1433-7851, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201911068
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2019-11-08
2019 Nabeel Ahmad, Marta Bon, Daniele Passerone, Rolf Erni
Template-Assisted in Situ Synthesis of Ag@Au Bimetallic Nanostructures Employing Liquid-Phase Transmission Electron Microscopy
published pages: , ISSN: 1936-0851, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b06614
ACS Nano 2019-11-07
2019 M. Bon, N. Ahmad, R. Erni, D. Passerone
Reliability of two embedded atom models for the description of Ag@Au nanoalloys
published pages: 64105, ISSN: 0021-9606, DOI: 10.1063/1.5107495
The Journal of Chemical Physics 151/6 2019-09-20
2017 Yucheng Zhang, Carlos Guerra-Nuñez, Ivo Utke, Johann Michler, Piyush Agrawal, Marta D. Rossell, Rolf Erni
Atomic Layer Deposition of Titanium Oxide on Single-Layer Graphene: An Atomic-Scale Study toward Understanding Nucleation and Growth
published pages: 2232-2238, ISSN: 0897-4756, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b05143
Chemistry of Materials 29/5 2019-06-18
2017 Yucheng Zhang, Debora Keller, Marta D. Rossell, Rolf Erni
Formation of Au Nanoparticles in Liquid Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy: From a Systematic Study to Engineered Nanostructures
published pages: 10518-10525, ISSN: 0897-4756, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b04421
Chemistry of Materials 29/24 2019-06-18
2016 Hyo-Ki Hong, Junhyeon Jo, Daeyeon Hwang, Jongyeong Lee, Na Yeon Kim, Seungwoo Son, Jung Hwa Kim, Mi-Jin Jin, Young Chul Jun, Rolf Erni, Sang Kyu Kwak, Jung-Woo Yoo, Zonghoon Lee
Atomic Scale Study on Growth and Heteroepitaxy of ZnO Monolayer on Graphene
published pages: 120-127, ISSN: 1530-6984, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03621
Nano Letters 17/1 2019-06-18
2018 Christoph P. Guntlin, Stefan T. Ochsenbein, Michael Wörle, Rolf Erni, Kostiantyn V. Kravchyk, Maksym V. Kovalenko
Popcorn-Shaped Fe x O (Wüstite) Nanoparticles from a Single-Source Precursor: Colloidal Synthesis and Magnetic Properties
published pages: 1249-1256, ISSN: 0897-4756, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b04382
Chemistry of Materials 30/4 2019-06-18
2018 Nabeel Ahmad, Debora Keller, Marta D. Rossell, Rolf Erni
Liquid Phase Studies of Nanomaterials
published pages: 727-727, ISSN: 0009-4293, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2018.727
CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry 72/10 2019-04-18
2019 Debora Keller, Trond R. Henninen, Rolf Erni
Formation of gold nanoparticles in a free-standing ionic liquid triggered by heat and electron irradiation
published pages: 16-21, ISSN: 0968-4328, DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2018.10.008
Micron 117 2019-04-18
2019 N. Ahmad, D. Keller, M. D Rossell, R. Erni
In situ Template Assisted Growth of Ag@Au Bimetallic Nanostructures
published pages: 41-42, ISSN: 1431-9276, DOI: 10.1017/s1431927618015933
Microscopy and Microanalysis 25/S1 2019-03-25
2019 Wang, Feng; Müller, Johannes; Eljarrat, Alberto; Henninen, Trond; Rolf, Erni; Koch, Christoph
Solving Inverse Problems With Multi-scale Deep Convolutional Neural Networks
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
1 2019-08-29
2019 Jingguo Li, Wenchao Wan, C. A. Triana, Zbynek Novotny, Jürg Osterwalder, Rolf Erni, Greta R. Patzke
Dynamic Role of Cluster Cocatalysts on Molecular Photoanodes for Water Oxidation
published pages: 12839-12848, ISSN: 0002-7863, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b06100
Journal of the American Chemical Society 141/32 2019-08-29

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