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Laser control over crystal nucleation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "CONTROL" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: G12 8QQ

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 United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 2˙488˙162 €
 EC max contribution 2˙488˙162 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-09-01   to  2024-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW UK (GLASGOW) coordinator 2˙488˙162.00


 Project objective

The CONTROL programme I propose here is a five-year programme of frontier research to develop a novel platform for the manipulation of phase transitions, crystal nucleation, and polymorph control based on a novel optical-tweezing technique and plasmonics. About 20 years ago, it was shown that lasers can nucleate crystals in super-saturated solution and might even be able to select the polymorph that crystallises. However, no theoretical model was found explaining the results and little progress was made.

In a recent publication (Nat. Chem. 10, 506 (2018)), we showed that laser-induced nucleation can be understood in terms of the harnessing of concentration fluctuations near a liquid–liquid critical point using optical tweezing. This breakthrough opens the way to a research programme with risky, ambitious, and ground-breaking long-term aims: full control over crystal nucleation including chirality and polymorphism.

New optical and microscopic techniques will be developed to allow laser manipulation on a massively parallel scale and chiral nucleation using twisted light. Systematically characterising and manipulating the phase behaviour of mixtures, will allow the use of the optical-tweezing effect to effectively control the crystallisation of small molecules, peptides, proteins, and polymers. Exploiting nanostructures will allow parallelisation on a vast scale and fine control over chirality and polymorph selection through plasmonic tweezing. Even partial success in the five years of the programme will lead to fundamental new insights and technological breakthroughs. These breakthroughs will be exploited for future commercial applications towards the end of the project.

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The information about "CONTROL" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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