Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Create Rare, Large Symmetrical Crystals

18.09.2002



Accident Leads to Important Discovery

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., have created large symmetrical crystals that rarely occur in nature. These crystals could be harder than conventional engineering materials. The accidental discovery was made during attempts to make superconducting nanostructures with a simple technique used to create carbon nanotubes.

Pulickel Ajayan and Ganapathiraman Ramanath, faculty members in materials science and engineering at Rensselaer, used boron carbide, a common engineering material, in the high-temperature experiment. In the ashes, they discovered large crystals with five-fold crystallographic symmetry.



Nanosize five-fold symmetrical, or icosahedral, crystals are fairly common, but these larger micron-size crystals with five-fold symmetry are rare in nature because their smaller units cannot repeat their pattern infinitely to form space-filling structures. As the nuclei of these crystals grow, the strain on the crystals increases. This causes them to revert to their common bulk crystal structures.

Ajayan believes that the inherent structure of boron carbide, which has icosahedral units in the unit cell, allows the crystals to grow to micron size without the strain. "These crystals are unique due to their high symmetry. Because of the hardness inherent to the crystal structure, we could anticipate a better material for engineering, specifically coatings. It is exciting and fulfilling to find something that is quite rare in nature, although we need to conduct further measurements to understand its potential," Ajayan said.

The researchers, their post-doctoral research associates (Bingqing Wei and Robert Vajtai), and a graduate student (Yung Joon Jung) collaborated with colleagues at the University of Ulm in Germany.
Their research appeared as the cover story in the June 13 issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. The school offers degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of research centers that are characterized by strong industry partnerships. The Institute is especially well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

:Patricia Azriel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu/dept/NewsComm/

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials
21.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing
20.07.2017 | University of Leeds

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>