Scientists shed light on 140-year-old challenge in chemistry and physics

In recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers Babak Sadigh, Luis Zepeda-Ruiz and Jon Belof report on a new mechanism of solidification in copper that provides an atomistic view of Ostwald’s step rule and alters the fundamental understanding of nucleation at high pressure. They found that not only does the crystallization process proceed via a non-equilibrium phase, but that this phase can be kinetically stabilized by the temperature.