Showing posts from April, 2012

2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for Quasicrystals

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the discovery, in 1982, of Quasicrystals.
Normal crystals have a periodic structure in 3D space. This meant that if the crystal lattice was translated without rotation, so that one point of the moved lattice line was aligned with the position of a corresponding point of the old position, then every point of the new lattice would line up with some point of the old position. Quasicrystals have a non-periodic structure in 3D. This means that the stated condition is not true for the Quasicrystal. 
A standard method of analysing crystals involved bouncing electrons off of them and studying the resultant patterns. Such patterns did not result from bouncing electrons off of glass or liquids, only off of crystals. When this procedure was applied to Quasicrystals, it revealed sharp points characteristic of crystals.
Quasicrystals produce patterns of sharp points, as crystals do, but the symmetry of these points is forbidden in 3D space.
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