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All of the following images are crossed-stereo pairs. To view them, cross your eyes and focus. Author's note this material has been expanded and updated, and can be found at these locations: http://wb.chem.lsu.edu/htdocs/people/sfwatkins/MERLOT/lattice/01intro.html (unframed version) http://wb.chem.lsu.edu/htdocs/people/sfwatkins/MERLOT/flattice/00lattice.html (frames version) You may also find this material on the MERLOT website. sfw, 5/4/01

Simple lattices and their unit cells

Simple Cubic (SC) - There is one host atom ("lattice point") at each corner of a cubic unit cell. The unit cell is described by three edge lengths a = b = c = 2r (r is the host atom radius), and the angles between the edges, alpha = beta = gamma = 90 degrees. There is one atom wholly inside the cube (Z = 1). Unit cells in which there are host atoms (or lattice points) only at the eight corners are called primitive.

Body Centered Cubic (BCC) - There is one host atom at each corner of the cubic unit cell and one atom in the cell center. Each atom touches eight other host atoms along the body diagonal of the cube (a = 2.3094r, Z = 2).

The cell is a rhombohedron.05%). and alpha = beta = gamma = 60 degrees.8284r. because spheres of equal size occupy the maximum amount of space in this arrangment (74. since this closest packing is based on a cubic array.There is one host atom at each corner. Z = 4). it is called "cubic closest packing": CCP = FCC. and the host atoms touch along the face diagonal (a = 2. one host atom in each face.It is also possible to choose a primitive unit cell to describe the FCC lattice.Face Centered Cubic (FCC) . FCC Primitive . with a = b = c = 2r. [A cube is a rhombohedron with alpha = beta = gamma = 90 degrees!] . This lattice is "closest packed".

the hexagonal closest packed planes must be stacked such that atoms in successive planes nestle in the triangular "grooves" of the preceeding plane. The first plane is labeled "A" and the second plane is labeled "B". When these hexagonally closest packed planes (the plane through the centers of all spheres) are stacked directly on top of one another. but only three of them can be covered by atoms in the adjacent plane. a simple hexagonal array results. and edge c is the vertical stacking distance. and the perpendicular interplanar spacing between plane A and plane B is 1.Spheres of equal size are most densely packed (with the least amount of empty space) in a plane when each sphere touches six other spheres arranged in the form of a regular hexagon. where cell edges a and b lie in the hexagonal plane with angle a-b = gamma = 120 degrees. is composed of one atom at each corner of a primitive unit cell (Z = 1). outlined in black. Closest Packing Hexagonal Closest Packing (HCP) . the edges of which are: a = b = c = 2r. however.Simple Hexagonal (SH) .633r . this is not. Note that there are six of these "grooves" surrounding each atom in the hexagonal plane. a three-dimensional closest packed arrangement. The unit cell.To form a three-dimensional closest packed structure.

Cubic Closest Packing (CCP) . Again. = (ABC).000r for simple hexagonal).If the atoms in the third layer lie over the three grooves in the A layer which were not covered by the atoms in the B layer.... If a fourth layer then repeats the A layer orientation. each at a distance of 2r: six are in the planar hexagonal array (B layer). HCP Coordination .. If the third plane is again in the "A" orientation and succeeding planes are stacked in the repeating pattern ABABA.(compared to 2. . then the third layer is different from either A or B and is labeled "C". and succeeding layers repeat the pattern ABCABCA. and six (three in the A layer above and three in the A layer below) form a trigonal prism around the central atom. the perpendicular spacing between any two successive layers is 1. the resulting closest packed structure is HCP.Each host atom in an HCP lattice is surrounded by and touches 12 nearest neighbors.633r. the resulting closest packed structure is CCP = FCC. = (AB).

.CCP Coordination .633r). in the (ABC) layered lattice. and six (three in the C layer above and three in the A layer below) form a trigonal anti-prism (also known as a distorted octahedron) around the central atom.Each host atom in a CCP lattice is surrounded by and touches 12 nearest neighbors. each at a distance of 2r: six are in the planar hexagonal (B) plane.may also be chosen. the interplanar spacing is not the closest packed value (1. The non-primitive hexagonal unit cell (Z = 3).If. Rhombohedral (R) lattice . then the primitive (Z = 1) unit cell is a rhombohedron with a = b = c <> 2r and alpha = beta = gamma <> 60 degrees.

there is only one way to produce a repeat pattern in three layers of hexagonally closest packed planes: (ABC) = CCP.2. the center of the tetrahedron is a cavity called the Tetrahedral (or Td) hole. Holes ("Interstices") in Closest Packed Arrays Tetrahedral Hole . One atom in the A layer nestles in the triangular groove formed by three adjacent atoms in the B layer. 4-layer repeats .However. there are many closest (and pseudoclosest) packings in natural and artificial materials. there are two ways to produce a closest packed lattice in four layers: (ABAC) and (ABCB). .There is only one way to produce a repeat pattern (crystal lattice) in two layers of hexagonally closest packed planes: (AB) = HCP. Likewise. there are increasing numbers of ways to produce closest packed lattices in five layers.2247r. etc.& 3-layer repeats .Consider any two successive planes in a closest packed lattice. and the four atoms touch along the edges (of length 2r) of a regular tetrahedron. By extension.. six layers. Thus. up to and including non-repeating random stacking. a guest sphere will just fill this cavity (and touch the four host spheres) if its radius is 0.

Octahedral Hole .4142r. Simple Crystal Structures CsCl Structure . three atoms in the B layer touch three atoms in the A layer such that a trigonal antiprismatic polyhedron (a regular octahedron) is formed.Adjacent to the Td hole. It can be shown that there are twice as many Td as Oh holes in any closest packed bilayer. the center of the octahedron is a cavity called the Octahedral (or Oh) hole. The two lattices have the same unit cell dimension. .Each ion resides on a separate. interpenetrating SC lattice such that the cation is in the center of the anion unit cell and visa versa. A guest sphere will just fill this cavity (and touch the six host spheres) if its radius is 0.

interpenetrating FCC lattice.The sodium chloride structure may also be viewed as a CCP lattice of anions (Z = 4).Each ion resides on a separate. The two lattices have the same unit cell dimension. .NaCl Structure . with smaller cations occupying all Oh cavities (Z = 4). Halite Structure .

The structure of the mineral fluorite (calcium fluoride) may be viewed as a CCP lattice of cations (Z = 4). [Note: the other ZnS mineral. . Zinc Blende Structure . Note that the only difference between the halite and zinc blende structures is a simple shift in relative position of the two FCC lattices. with the smaller cations occupying every other Td hole (Z = 4).The structure of cubic ZnS (mineral name "zinc blende") may be viewed as a CCP lattice of anions (Z = 4). wurtzite. can be described as a HCP lattice of anions with cations in every other Td hole. The Td cavities reside on a SC lattice which is half the dimension of the CCP lattice. with the smaller anion occupying all of the Td holes (Z = 8).The lattice of cations in zinc blende is a FCC lattice of the same dimension as the anion lattice.] Zinc Blende lattices .Fluorite Structure . so the structure can be described as interpenetrating FCC lattices of the same unit cell dimension.

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