Crystal Viewer

This Demonstration gives insight into the crystal symmetries of five standard crystal symmetries of pure elements. These lattice symmetries are
1) simple cubic SC (e.g., polonium);
2) face-centered cubic FCC (e.g., copper);
3) body-centered cubic BCC (e.g., iron);
4) hexagonal closed-packed HCP (e.g., helium);
5) diamond DIA (e.g., silicon).
The direction defines a plane to which this direction is perpendicular. This plane is called the crystal plane . The three values , , and are often referred to as Miller indices.

THINGS TO TRY

SNAPSHOTS

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DETAILS

The viewer not only allows studying the symmetry of specific planes, but also visualizes the density of the atoms in certain directions. This is important for a process called channeling (see the Wikipedia entry). In this case a (high-energy) atom or ion penetrates the crystal. If the atoms of the crystal have a low density in the direction of penetration, the penetration depth is probably high, and vice versa. One may say that in low-density directions channels open for the penetrating particle. Usually, these channels open in high-symmetry crystal directions. To visualize the effect of different cross sections, it is possible to change the size.
References:
For more structures that appear in crystals of pure elements see N. W. Ashcroft and N. D. Mermin, Solid State Physics, Philadelphia: Sounders College Publishing, 1976.
C. Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics, 7th ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996.

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