2014 ISC Overview

Introduction

The Laboratory of Crystallographic Studies (CSIC-UGR) has organised the 4th International School of Crystallization: Drugs, Foods, Agrochemicals, Minerals, New Materials (ISC2014, http://www.iscgranada.org/) under the auspices of the International Union of Crystallography through the Crystal Growth and Characterization of Materials Commission. The event took place in the Centre of the beautiful City of Granada, an ideal place to promote close scientific and social interactions between the attendees.

 

The School gathered postgraduate/postdoctoral students as well as research scientists from industry and academia that deal routinely with crystallisation processes but seek fundamental knowledge on the crystallisation phenomena and the behaviour of crystallising solutions. Students from all over the world were invited to learn from top quality international speakers, to hear case study presentations, to watch practical hands-on demonstrations and to present their research results in the purposely dedicated poster sessions.

 

ISC2014 covered five days of lectures and practical demonstrations related to the field of the crystallization of foods, drugs and agrochemical compounds, including dedicated sessions on polymorphism and mineral growth.

Organising Committee

Prof. Juan Manuel Garcia-Ruiz, Director of the School

Dr. Jaime Gómez Morales, Director of the School

Dr. Alfonso Garcia Caballero

Dr. Duane Choquesillo Lazarte

Dr. Cristóbal Verdugo Escamilla

Dr. José Manuel Delgado López

Dr. Ulrich Griesser

Attendance

The turnout of the School was excellent having with 110 participants from 17 different countries, most of which were students (58 students, 52.7 %) and industrial representatives (10.0 %), being the rest composed of academics (4 academics, 3.6 %) and exhibitors (Figure 1). The participants were supported by 34 speakers and demonstrators (30.9 %).

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Figure 1. Top: Distribution of the type of participants in the ISC2014; Down: Number of participants in the ISC2014 by country of origin – not including speakers and demonstrators (17 different countries).

 

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Figure 2. Country of origin of the students that received a grant to attend ISC2014.

 

A considerable effort was made to provide financial support to as many students as possible. In fact, all of the 19 grant applications were accepted for funding (Figure 2). Remarkably, all the students coming from outside Spain (accounting for 63,2 % of all the granted students) received financial support to attend the School.

 

Programme of the ISC2014

ISC2014 covered five days of lectures and practical demonstrations carried by 34 selected experts in the field of crystallisation.

Main topics of the ISC2014

  • Solution properties

  • Nucleation: classical and non-classical approaches

  • Crystal growth kinetics and mechanisms

  • Crystallization routes

  • Crystallization techniques

  • Crystal morphology

  • Mineral textures

  • Polymorphism

  • Hydrates and solvates

  • Crystallization screening

  • Industrial (mass) crystallization

  • Chirality

  • Biomineralization

  • Co-crystals

  • Diamonds growth

 

The first day of the School dealt with the fundamentals of crystallisation from solution encompassing a revision of phase diagrams, speciation, supersaturation and basic concepts on crystallizing solutions, nucleation theories, crystal growth kinetics and mechanisms, techniques for observation of nucleation and crystal growth, nanoscale observations of mineral growth and analytical techniques for monitoring, controlling and scaling-up solution crystallization processes (Figure 3).

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Figure 3. “Nucleation theory”, talk given by Prof. Garcia-Ruiz.

 

 

The second day of the School focused on both classical and novel crystallization techniques including solution vs gel growth, crystallization from melts, crystallization in microfluidics, industrial crystallization, the development of robust pharmaceutical crystallization processes and crystallization at high pressures (Figure 4).

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Figure 4. Lecture on crystallization from melts given by Prof. Ulrich Griesser.

 

On Wednesday there were two different sessions on special topics. The morning session of the third day was devoted to discuss the fundamentals of polymorphism, cocrystallization and chiral crystallization. The afternoon session was dedicated to mineral growth encompassing self-assembled nanostructured materials, crystallization in space and applications to preserve the cultural heritage (Figure 5).

 

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Figure 5. Prof. Nair Rodríguez-Hornedo explaining ‘Cocrystals and Engineering Cocrystals’.

 

Thursday Thursday were entirely dedicated to a ‘Demonstration Fair’, at which 20 specialists offered short (20-40 minutes) practical sessions periodically at scheduled times. Participants could choose what sessions they wanted to attend and in the order they wished, so that they selected their own learning programme “a la carte”. The Demonstrations’ Fair proved to be an excellent teaching tool as it provided students with plenty of opportunities to interact on a personal basis with tutors and to watch closely how to perform crystallisation experiments (Figure 6).

 

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Figure 6. Dr. Jordi Benet showing how to crystallize organic molecules from the melt by heating and cooling experiments. In the adjacent stand, Prof. Helmut Cölfen explains how to analyze prenucleation clusters during the Demonstration Fair.

 

The theme of the last day was mineral growth, including a review of nucleation for the last 80 years, crystal growth using AFM, advanced methods for nucleation studies, crystal growth of nanocrystalline apatites and bio-controlled crystal growth of the mollusk shell (Figure 7). The School was closed with the presentation of prizes offered by the International Union of Crystallography and the Crystallisation Factory.

 

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Figure 7. Dr. Jaime Gomez Morales explaining the crystal growth of nanocrystalline apatites for biomedical applications.

 

Social events

In addition to the scientific course, there was a parallel social programme which consisted of a welcome cocktail on Sunday, a night tour of outstanding beauty to the Moorish palaces of The Alhambra on Wednesday (Figure 9)and a Flamenco dinner party on Thursday in the Carmen de la Victoria of the Albayzin district (Figure 10),

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Figure 9. A group picture at the entrance of Alhambra.

 

 

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Figure 10. The Flamenco Party took place at Carmen de la Victoria.

 

Evaluation

Overall, the School was deemed to be very successful as judged by the majority of positive comments written in the evaluation form by the participants. The attendees were asked about three major items: the quality of the scientific programme, the demonstrations Fair, and the organisation (see Figure 11).

 

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Figure 11. Top: Opinion of the delegates about the quality of the scientific programme; Middle: Opinion of the delegates about the quality of the presentations fair; Bottom: Opinion of the delegates about the quality of the demonstrations fair.

 

Conclusions

There was a general feeling among the participants that the School had been very valuable partly because of the quality of the programme and partly due to the contribution of some of the best lecturers for the wide range of topics covered.

 

All in all, the ISC2014 was an enriching experience for all of those involved triggering several fruitful scientific discussions. The positive approach, the openness and active participation of each of the participants made it a wonderful experience worthwhile to be repeated in the future.

 

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to all of the participants; to the teachers for their full commitment and to the students and colleagues from academic and industrial background for believing in these Crystallisation Schools. We also wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the Members of the Organizing Committee for their substantial contributions to the Schools. We are very grateful to all the people who have worked very hard in preparing the Schools to make it successful. Last but not least, we would also like to express our gratitude to the Sponsors and Exhibitors for their great support.

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