Third Natural Quasicrystal Discovered

  • Author: Marek Czykanski
  • Published: 17 December 2016
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Scientific Reports/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Third Natural Quasicrystal Discovered

Normally, crystals are strictly symmetrical. However, in 1982, Daniel Shechtman, Technion – Israel Institute of technology, Haifa, discovered quasicrystals. In these types of crystals, the regular arrangement is broken up and several different basic forms alternate.

Such structures were long regarded as "impossible" in nature. However, Paul Steinhardt, Princeton University, NJ, USA, and his colleagues have already discovered two natural representatives of such quasicrystals in recent years. Both come from the Khatyrka meteorites discovered in Siberia in 2011. One of the quasicrystals resembles a ten-cornered disc stack, the other is based on icosahedral basic elements.

In the same meteorite, the scientists have discovered a third quasi-crystal. It is a mineral with the composition Al62.0(8)Cu31.2(8)Fe6.8(4). The basic geometric unit of the quasicrystal resembles an icosahedron. The composition is outside the measured equilibrium stability field at standard pressure of the Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystals reported previously. The compound is the first quasicrystal whose composition was found in nature before being synthesized in the laboratory.

The researchers suspect that the quasicrystals owe their origin to the extreme conditions they were exposed to in the meteorite. Earlier analyses have shown that the Khatyrka meteorite experienced a collision in space, and was exposed to a pressure of up to 5 GPa and heated to 1,200 °C.

Also of Interest


Article Views: 2110

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH