Strong dc Electric Field Applied to Supersaturated Aqueous
Glycine Solution Induces Nucleation of the γ Polymorph

Janice E. Aber, Stephen Arnold, and Bruce A. Garetz
Physical Review Letters 94,145503 (2005)

Applying a strong static electric field to supersaturated aqueous glycine solutions resulted in the nucleation of the γ polymorph. This is the first report of a strong dc field inducing the nucleation of a neutral solute in a supersaturated solution. We attribute this effect to the electric-field-induced orientation of the highly polar glycine molecules in large preexisting solute clusters, helping them organize into a crystalline structure. This result also lends further support to our proposed optical-Kerr mechanism for nonphotochemical laser-induced nucleation.