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In any sort of discussion of crystalline materials, it is useful to begin with a discussion of crystallography: the study of the formation, structure, and properties of crystals. A crystal structure is defined as the particular repeating arrangement of atoms (molecules or ions) throughout a crystal. Structure refers to the internal arrangement of particles and not the external appearance of the crystal. However, these are not entirely independent since the external appearance of a crystal is often related to the internal arrangement. For example, crystals of cubic rock salt (NaCl) are physically cubic in appearance. Only a few of the possible crystal structures are of concern with respect to simple inorganic salts and these will be discussed in detail, however, it is important to understand the nomenclature of crystallography.


Bravais lattice

The Bravais lattice is the basic building block from which all crystals can be constructed. The concept originated as a topological problem of finding the number of different ways to arrange points in space where each point would have an identical “atmosphere”. That is each point would be surrounded by an identical set of points as any other point, so that all points would be indistinguishable from each other. Mathematician Auguste Bravais discovered that there were 14 different collections of the groups of points, which are known as Bravais lattices. These lattices fall into seven different "crystal systems”, as differentiated by the relationship between the angles between sides of the “unit cell” and the distance between points in the unit cell. The unit cell is the smallest group of atoms, ions or molecules that, when repeated at regular intervals in three dimensions, will produce the lattice of a crystal system. The “lattice parameter” is the length between two points on the corners of a unit cell. Each of the various lattice parameters are designated by the letters a , b , and c . If two sides are equal, such as in a tetragonal lattice, then the lengths of the two lattice parameters are designated a and c , with b omitted. The angles are designated by the Greek letters α, β, and γ size 12{γ} {} , such that an angle with a specific Greek letter is not subtended by the axis with its Roman equivalent. For example, α is the included angle between the b and c axis.

[link] shows the various crystal systems, while [link] shows the 14 Bravais lattices. It is important to distinguish the characteristics of each of the individual systems. An example of a material that takes on each of the Bravais lattices is shown in [link] .

Geometrical characteristics of the seven crystal systems.
System Axial lengths and angles Unit cell geometry
cubic a = b = c, α = β = γ size 12{γ} {} = 90°
tetragonal a = b ≠ c, α = β = γ size 12{γ} {} = 90°
orthorhombic a ≠ b ≠ c, α = β = γ size 12{γ} {} = 90°
rhombohedral a = b = c, α = β = γ size 12{γ} {} ≠ 90°
hexagonal a = b ≠ c, α = β = 90°, γ size 12{γ} {} = 120°
monoclinic a ≠ b ≠ c, α = γ size 12{γ} {} = 90°, β ≠ 90°
triclinic a ≠ b ≠ c, α ≠ β ≠ γ size 12{γ} {}
Bravais lattices.
Examples of elements and compounds that adopt each of the crystal systems.
Crystal system Example
triclinic K 2 S 2 O 8
monoclinic As 4 S 4 , KNO 2
rhombohedral Hg, Sb
hexagonal Zn, Co, NiAs
orthorhombic Ga, Fe 3 C
tetragonal In, TiO 2
cubic Au, Si, NaCl

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
advantages of NAA
Sai Reply
how I can reaction of mercury?
Sham Reply

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