Disappearing Polymorphs Revisited

Dejan Krešimir Bučar, Robert W. Lancaster, Joel Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

280 Scopus citations


Nearly twenty years ago, Dunitz and Bernstein described a selection of intriguing cases of polymorphs that disappear. The inability to obtain a crystal form that has previously been prepared is indeed a frustrating and potentially serious problem for solid-state scientists. This Review discusses recent occurrences and examples of disappearing polymorphs (as well as the emergence of elusive crystal forms) to demonstrate the enduring relevance of this troublesome, but always captivating, phenomenon in solid-state research. A number of these instances have been central issues in patent litigations. This Review, therefore, also highlights the complex relationship between crystal chemistry and the law. Now you see it, now you don't: Some of the most captivating accounts of organic solid-state chemistry in recent years concern disappearing polymorphs. This Review features notorious examples and underlines the misconceptions in understanding this phenomenon - both among scientists and in the court of law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6972-6993
Number of pages22
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • crystallization
  • drug formulation
  • nucleation
  • polymorphism
  • solid-state chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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