Etching on large single crystals of stearic acid


ETCHING is one of the most useful ways of directly observing dislocations in a crystal1. Many studies have been made of dislocations in organic crystals, such as aromatic hydrocarbons2, but no reports on the dislocations in fatty acid crystals have been published because no large single crystal could be obtained. Recently we have succeeded in obtaining large single crystals of the saturated fatty acid stearic acid from solutions of organic solvents3. We describe here attempts to etch single stearic acid crystals using organic solvents. Optical and transmission electron micrographs of etch pits reveal several novel features and give an apparent correlation between the pits and the dislocations in stearic acid crystals.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Amelinckx, S. in The Direct Observations of Dislocations, Solid State Physics suppl. 6 (eds Ehrenreich, H., Seitz, F. & Turnbull, D.) 15–50 (Academic, New York and London, 1964).

  2. 2

    Corke, N. T., Kawada, A. A. & Sherwood, J. N. Nature 213, 62–63 (1967).

  3. 3

    Sato, K. & Okada, M. J. Crystal Growth (in the press).

  4. 4

    Verma, A. R. & Reynolds, P. Proc. Phys. Soc. B 66, 414–420 (1953).

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

SATO, K., OKADA, M. Etching on large single crystals of stearic acid. Nature 269, 399–400 (1977).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.