Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 05 October 2011
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Dan Shechtman, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, for the discovery of quasicrystals.


Crystals contain unit cells that are repeated with regularity throughout the crystal. This repetition was believed to be required in order to obtain a crystal and among the rotational symmetries, 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-fold axes are allowed, while 5-, 7- and all higher rotations are disallowed. Shechtman discovered 5-fold symmetry in his crystal sample that led to the realization that the crystal had a regular pattern that never repeated itself — the idea of quasicrystals was born. Within each symmetry class of quasicrystals, different superspace-group symmetries are allowed and realized so that while quasicrystals allow non-crystallographic symmetry, they are not defined by it.


The first quasicrystals discovered by Shechtman were synthetic intermetallics of Al with 10–14 % Mn, and while hundreds of intermetallic systems have been shown to yield quasicrystals, so far few other types of systems have been reported to be quasicrystalline.



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    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2012 has been awarded to R. Lefkowitz and B. Kobilka for their work on G protein-coupled receptors

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