Aromatic stacking – a key step in nucleation†
Crystal nucleation from solution is of central importance in the chemical and biological sciences. Linking nucleation kinetics to the properties of solutes and solvents remains a grand-challenge in physical chemistry. Through a unique dataset of compounds able to self-assemble via both hydrogen-bonds and aromatic stacking, we are able to compare the importance of these two types of interaction in driving the nucleation process. Contrary to previous reports in which solution chemistry and hydrogen bonding have been seen as controlling factors, we are now able to show that cluster growth via aromatic stacking holds the key.