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© Bertrand REBIERE / Bruno Alonso / ICGM / CNRS Images



A zeolite’s dream

Zeolites, which are like tiny, hard, dense sponges, are made up of extremely porous crystals with unique properties: a single gram of zeolite contains billions of nanometre-sized pores and cavities, with an astounding internal surface area of up to 900m²! The image shows a rather pleasing arrangement of zeolite crystals placed on carbon tape. What scientists are trying to do here is explore and characterise the internal organisation of these crystals at the nanometre scale in order to elucidate and calibrate their physico-chemical properties. Zeolites are able to absorb and filter chemical compounds mainly due to their shape (their chemical structure as well as their size) and are also used in the manufacture of more efficient and eco-friendly catalysts. This image is a winner of the 2021 La preuve par l'image (LPPI) competition.

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