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Zeolite Crystal Growth: A High-Resolution Cryo-TEM Study

Sandeep Kumar1, R. Lee Penn2, and Michael Tsapatsis1. (1) Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota, 421 Washington Ave SE, Mail Box 111, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0132, (2) Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Investigating early stages of crystal growth in solution is of considerable fundamental and practical significance to various materials including zeolites. TPA-silicalite-1 (hereafter refer to as silicalite-1) is very often used as a model system. Here, we present a study of silicalite-1 crystallization by cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM). Our results show silicalite-1 crystal growth by aggregation of structurally diverse nanoparticles. The present study also demonstrates that zeolites can be imaged by cryo-TEM with structural resolution.