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Frontiers in Crystalline Matter: From Discovery to Technology
New approaches to communication are needed to advance the field of discovery and growth of crystalline materials. The internal collaboration common in industrial laboratories formerly engaged in DGCM activities greatly aided the development of materials by providing rapid responses to synthesis needs as well as rapid feedback from measurement to synthesis. A similar approach to communication among researchers should be promoted through programmatic means by the federal agencies. The committee envisions a “DGCM network” as a novel approach to scientific collaboration that would both fulfill conventional needs for greater communication and enable the new modes of collaboration afforded by cyber infrastructure. The envisioned DGCM network would provide a virtual forum for organizing synthesis efforts, crystal growers would be able to announce the availability of new compounds, and a measurer would be able to request collaboration with a crystal grower to meet the measurer’s need for a specific sample. The envisioned DGCM network would also provide access to information in the physical archive of already-synthesized samples stored in individual laboratories throughout the country, further enabling collaborations. At the same time, policies and procedures for participating in the network would be designed to enhance collaborative work while protecting the intellectual contributions of researchers who discover or develop novel crystalline materials.