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crystals

crystals

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Published by Pallavi Jandial

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Published by: Pallavi Jandial on Nov 15, 2011
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10/06/2013

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INTRODUCTION:Crystals are the unacknowledged pillars of modern technology. Without crystals, there would be no electronic industry, no photonic industry, no fibre optic communication, which depend onmaterials/crystals such as semiconductors, superconductors, polarizer’s, transducers, radiationdetectors, ultrasonic amplifiers, ferrites, magnetic garnets, solid state lasers, ocousto-optic, photosensitive, refractory of different grades, crystalline films for microelectronics and computer industries.A most remarkable feature of matter in the solid is the tendency of the constituent atoms of agreat many solids to arrange themselves in an ordered periodic pattern. A solid material withsuch a regular atomic arrangement is said to be crystalline. A solid material without such astructure is called non-crystalline or amorphous. The properties of amorphous bodies aredistinctly different from those of crystalline substance. The term ‘
crystal’ 
and ‘
amorphous
’ have been adapted from the Greek and mean
clear ice’ 
and ‘
 shapeless
’ respectively. When a solid isdescribed as ‘amorphous’, it means that the substance has no regular internal structure. If thesubstance is having a definite geometrical shape, it is artificially created and is not formed fromthe natural conditions of growth. In between the two extremes exist polycrystalline, which ismade up of a number of smaller crystals known as crystallites, and paracrystalline phases. Liquidcrystals are another state of matter that has properties between those of a conventional liquid andthose of a solid crystal. [1]. Most crystals in nature, such as those in sugar, salt or diamonds, aresymmetrical and all have the same orientation throughout the entire crystal. Quasi crystalsrepresent a new state of matter that was not expected to be found, with some properties of crystals and others of non-crystalline matter, such as glass. Quasi crystals behave differently thanother crystals. They have an orderly pattern that includes pentagons, five fold shapes, but unlikeother crystals, the pattern never repeats itself exactly. They were first observed in 1982 in analuminum-manganese alloy (Al6Mn). On 5 Oct 2011, Daniel Shechtman, 70, a researcher atTechnion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, received the award for discovering quasicrystals.Crystallography is a tool that is often employed by material scientists. It is the experimentalscience of the arrangement of atoms in solids. The word “
crystallography
” derives from theGreek words
crystallon
= cold drop/frozen drop, with its meaning extending to all solids withsome degree of transparency, and
 grapho
=write. [2]
 
Most solid matter is crystalline i.e., nature favors the crystalline state of solids. There are over 20,000 crystalline substances in the crystal kingdom. The scientific use of the term ‘crystalislimited to the description of any solid with an ordered atomic arrangement for a given structure.Crystals are used in our day today life for a number of purposes. When ever we add common saltin cooking foods, we are ingesting salt crystals. On the contrary, precious and some semipreciouscrystals are worn as jewelries. Another use of crystals is metaphysical healing. Likewise, severaltypes of crystals are identified, which are categorized according to their shape and properties.Crystal Types: Based on shapeAs per the shape or structure, there are seven types of crystal lattice systems;Cubic- Precisely known as isometric crystal (e.g. halite), this type comprises crystals thatmeasure the same length in all axes. They may be four sided (cubic), eight sided (octahedron)and twelve sided (dodecahedron).Monoclinic- Monoclinic crystals (e.g. orthoclase) are characterized by lattice vectors of differentlengths. Their structure resembles a rectangular prism having a parallelogram base.Triclinic- In triclinic crystals (e.g. microcline), all the three vectors have different lengths, thusexhibiting some what strange shapes.Trigonal- Simply speaking, trigonal crystals (e.g. dolomite), are cubic crystals, when the latter isstretched along the body diagonal.Tetragonal- Tetragonal crystals (e.g. wulfenite), are more or less similar to cubic type, exceptthat one lattice vector is stretched to a certain length. Structurally, a tetragonal crystal resemblesa rectangular prism having a square shaped base.Orthorhombic- This type of crystal appears like a tetragonal crystal, when viewed from the side.An orthorhombic crystal (e.g. aragonite) has a rectangular prism and a rectangular base.Hexagonal- The structural symmetry of a hexagonal crystal (e.g. beryl) is similar to a right prism. When viewed in cross section, it has a regular hexagonal shape.Crystal Types: Based on propertiesCrystals can be divided into four types, according to their physical and chemical properties.
 
Ionic Crystals- Crystals in which the constituent atoms are bound together by strong ionic or electrostatic bonds. Example of ionic crystal type is common salt (NaCl); the sodium ion andchloride ion are bonded non-covalent, electrostatic bonds.Covalent Crystals- As the name signifies, the component particles of covalent crystals exhibitstrong covalent bonding. The most precious stone, diamond is an example of covalent crystal.Metallic Crystals- In general, metallic crystals (e.g. nickel and copper) have a very high meltingand boiling points. In this type of crystal, the atoms are present in the lattice sites, which enablethe outer electrons to move freely.Molecular Crystals- Unlike the ionic and covalent crystals, the constituents of molecular type are bonded by weak hydrogen or Van der Waals forces. Thus, a molecular crystal (e.g. sugar)usually has a low melting point.
Crystallization:
 Crystallization is the (natural or artificial) process for the formation of ‘s
 
olid crystals’ from auniform solution.Crystallization is also defined as a process of arranging atoms or moleculesthat are in fluid or solution state into an ordered solid state. All crystallizing methods change the physical state of a material by transforming the system from some non-equilibrium state towardsan equilibrium state. Crystallization methods are divided into two broad categories viz.,concentration gradient and thermal gradient, based upon how system performs thetransformation. Concentration gradient methods typically involve concentrating the sample byeither removal of solvent or transport of material to another solvent system in which the materialis less soluble. Thermal gradient methods rely upon the fact that the crystals form when thematerial is cooled. The choice of crystallization method for a particular sample depends greatlyupon the physical and chemical properties of the sample. Growing crystals is more of an art thana science and luck is a major factor, there are some things to do and some other things not to do.Some theoretical background about crystallization:-Saturation and Super saturationA key parameter for crystallization is supersaturation. It is the driving force of crystallization.Theoretically, crystallization should starts when the concentration of a compound in a solvent ishigher than the solubility product of this compound. Generally, however, crystallization is

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