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Videos of gold nanoparticles snapping together show how some crystals grow

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Mesmerizing videos offer a new look at the ways crystals form.

The real-time clips, described March 30 in Nature Nanotechnology, show closeup views of microscopic gold particles tumbling, sliding and flitting about before clicking into place in crystalline structures.

Before embarking on the study, physicist Erik Luijten of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., had expected to simply confirm century-old perceptions about how crystals form. But, he says, “there was still so much to discover about crystallization.”  

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