Design of Organic Solids

Volume 198 of the series Topics in Current Chemistry pp 163-208


Crystalline Polymorphism of Organic Compounds

  • Caira Mino R. Affiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, University of Cape Town

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Crystal polymorphism is encountered in all areas of research involving solid substances. Its occurrence introduces complications during manufacturing processes and adds another dimension to the complexity of designing materials with specific properties. Research on polymorphism is fraught with unique difficulties due to the subtlety of polymorphic transformations and the inadvertent formation of pseudopolymorphs. In this report, a summary of thermodynamic, kinetic and structural considerations of polymorphism is presented. A wide variety of techniques appropriate to the study of organic crystalline polymorphism and pseu-dopolymorphism is then surveyed, ranging from simple crystal density measurement to observation of polymorphic transformations using variable-temperature synchrotron X-ray diffraction methods. Application of newer methodology described in this report is yielding fresh insights into the nature of the crystallization process, holding promise for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of polymorphism and its practical control.


Crystal polymorphism Pseudopolymorphism Crystallization