Crystal Structures

By David K. Ferry1, Dragica Vasileska1, Gerhard Klimeck2

1. Arizona State University 2. Purdue University

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In mineralogy and crystallography, a crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms in a crystal. A crystal structure is composed of a basis, a set of atoms arranged in a particular way, and a lattice. The basis is located upon the points of a lattice spanned by lattice vectors, which is an array of points repeated periodically in three dimensions. The set of points forming a volume that can completely fill the space of the lattice when translated by integral multiples of the lattice vectors is called the unit cell. The length of the edge of a unit cell and the angle between the adjacent sides are called the lattice parameters. The symmetry properties of the crystal are embodied in its space group. A crystal's structure and symmetry play a role in determining many of its properties, such as cleavage planes, electronic band structure, and optical properties.

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  • David K. Ferry, Dragica Vasileska, Gerhard Klimeck (2010), "Crystal Structures,"

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