44th Annual Conference of the British Association for Crystal Growth

21 Aug 2013

Messel bursar Michal Rusin attended the 44th Annual Conference of the British Association for Crystal Growth (BACG) in Manchester from 16 - 18 June 2013. He writes: I am very grateful to be awarded the Messel Travel Bursary by SCI. With the financial support, I had the opportunity to attend the 44th Annual Conference of the British Association for Crystal Growth, which was attended by over 150 delegates from the United Kingdom and overseas.

The event was very well organised, with a variety of lectures and focus areas. The scientific programme covered a wide spectrum of topics and was divided into four symposia: crystal growth and nucleation from solution, industrial crystallisation and pharmaceuticals, surface science of crystal growth phenomena and inorganic materials. There were 38 presentations in total with two sessions running in parallel at any one time, so you had a choice of attending the session you preferred.

I was particularly pleased to listen to a fascinating plenary lecture by Prof Cristobal Viedma, who discovered the new physicochemical phenomenon named after him, Viedma ripening. During the conference, I gave an oral presentation entitled 'Selective crystallisation of the more stable polymorphic form of L-glutamic acid in an acoustic levitator'. The work I presented is a part of my PhD research and is a collaborative project between the University of Sheffield and the BAM institute in Berlin, Germany. In my talk, I discussed the unusual behaviour of L-glutamic acid that I observed during crystallisation from a droplet of solution suspended in the acoustic field.

Interestingly, when using this novel experimental strategy, the less stable polymorph does not form and the crystallisation process yields only the more thermodynamically stable crystals. These original findings are interesting not only from the academic point of view but ultimately may also lead to the development of new downstream processing routes allowing faster manufacturing in a wide range of industries dealing with polymorphic materials, including pharmaceutical, foods and specialty chemicals.

Thanks to attending this conference I had the opportunity to share my recent findings with both industrial and scientific communities and discuss them with the experts in the field. I answered a number of stimulating questions on my talk, was given many suggestions and constructive feedback, and refuelled myself with new ideas.

Furthermore, the conference dinner was a great opportunity to network with other research groups that investigate similar phenomena and are interested in the experimental techniques adopted in my studies. I also had a chance to talk to the renowned professors who have written many of the publications I have read, including Prof R J Davey, Prof S Price, Prof K Roberts, Prof G Cocquerel and Prof J ter Horst.

The opportunity to deliver a presentation and receive feedback on my research in the final months of my doctorate was a fantastic experience. Through networking and presenting my findings to a variety of people from the community I have greatly raised my profile as a scientific researcher. I found the 44th Annual Meeting of BACG to be a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring event, and I would like to express my gratitude towards SCI for helping to fund my attendance.

Michal Rusin
University of Sheffield

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