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48
votes
1answer
5k views

Is it possible to “see” atoms?

As per my knowledge, atoms are small beyond our imaginations. But there is an image on Wikipedia that shows silicon atoms observed at the surface of silicon carbide crystals. The image: How can we ...
12
votes
2answers
191 views

Why do crystals grow in preferred directions?

I want to know why snowflakes (and other crystals) grow symmetrically and I find the leading answer to the established question to be entirely unsatisfactory. When water freezes, you get ice. ...
12
votes
1answer
454 views

What are some predictions from string theory that say some crystalline materials “will end up in one of many lowest-energy ground states?”

I am referring to this recent "news feature" by Zeeya Merali from Nature magazine www.nature.com/uidfinder/10.1038/478302a. Here is the specific quote: "To make matters worse, some of the testable ...
11
votes
2answers
766 views

Are synthetically-produced diamonds as hard as natural diamonds?

I was having a discussion with my friend about the intrinsic worthlessness of diamonds (DeBeers and whatnot) and how synthetic diamonds haven't caught on, again because of the marketing/propoganda ...
10
votes
2answers
213 views

How strong is electron degeneracy pressure?

I'm trying to get some specific numbers for electron degeneracy that I can understand, using a concrete example. Take for example this portion of carbon crystal: Exactly how much energy would be ...
9
votes
4answers
24k views

Why does ice have a lower density than water?

Can someone explain me why is ice lighter than water? As I know, all solids are usually heavier than the liquids (correct me if I am wrong).
8
votes
0answers
251 views

Crystal momentum and the vector potential

I noticed that the Aharonov–Bohm effect describes a phase factor given by $e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}\int_{\partial\gamma}q A_\mu dx^\mu}$. I also recognize that electrons in a periodic potential gain a phase ...
7
votes
3answers
176 views

Are there materials that get softer with temperature decrease?

Could be there material that begins melting/softening when it's temperature is lowered? I would say no, but I've seen enough physics to know that not always life is so easy. Moreover I think I've ...
7
votes
4answers
329 views

How many of the 230 crystallographic groups are realized in nature?

All of them or only a subset? This is a famous and fundamental result in solid state physics.
7
votes
0answers
442 views

Does positronium have a stable crystalline phase?

This is a long shot, but while the 100YSS conference is going on at Houston, i haven't been able to get a grip on myself and think in other, more mundane and short-term rewards as normal people do. ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How does the process of freezing water remove salt?

How does freezing water to make ice remove whatever salts were in the water to begin with?
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Transparency of materials

Is transparency of material has something to do with inter- or intra-molecular bonding? E.g. both graphite and diamond are carbon, but graphite is opaque and diamond transparent.
6
votes
2answers
153 views

Is it possible to have annealing without creep?

Annealing can repair a material by allowing atoms to find the minimum energy state; since solids have a surface tension this process will allow cracks to fuse and reverse fatigue. However, annealing ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

Entropy and Crystal Growth

I was reading about growing single crystals and I'm a little confused about this - In most crystal growing processes, a "seed crystal" is used, and the rest of the material crystallizes on the seed ...
5
votes
2answers
838 views

Why do some things crystallize? (And others don't, for that matter.)

Ice, for example, will form a crystal when frozen under certain circumstances. Why is this the case for ice? While on the subject of water crystallization, why do snowflakes usually form in base 6 ...
5
votes
1answer
352 views

Born-Oppenheimer Approximation equivalent to Tensor-product ?

If you have a wave function $\Psi$ of a system consisting of an electron and the vibrational modes of the crystal, THEN we represent the wavefunction $\Psi%$ to be in the Hilbert Space formed by the ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

What physical phenomenon occured in this experiment?

I noticed a strange behavior of my experiment. I have a glass container with a fully saturated solution of CuSO4, which I use to grow CuSO4 crystals, by waiting for the water to evaporate. Recently I ...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Topological Insulators: is HgX a special case?

I got confused by reading this article: Francois Virot, Roland Hayn, Manuel Richter, and Jeroen van den Brink. “Engineering topological surface-states: HgS, HgSe and HgTe.” arXiv preprint ...
4
votes
1answer
298 views

Crystal Momentum in a Periodic Potential

I'm working through some basic theory on periodic potentials, and I would appreciate help in understanding the crystal momentum. Suppose we have a Bravais lattice with lattice vectors $\textbf{R}$. ...
4
votes
1answer
276 views

Anisotropic refractive index with isotropic components?

In relation to my question here I wanted to make sure that my physical argument was not flawed. Anisotropic properties, (especially refractive index) is characteristic of a well-ordered solid ...
4
votes
1answer
293 views

Origin of Laue equations?

The Bragg condition (by Bragg in 1913) can be derived by the Laue equations that is making use of the Miller indices and all the latice/crystal stuff (so basically it's bringing Bragg's law to more ...
4
votes
1answer
359 views

What is crystal field anisotropy or effect ? It forces the magnetic moment to point in particular local direction..

Can you give a basic explanation of what is crystal field anisotropy ? What is the reason to arise ? In spin ice it forces the dipoles to point in the local 111 direction. For partially filled rare ...
4
votes
1answer
311 views

Does a thermally expanding torus experience internal stress?

I'm trying to learn continuum mechanics and thermo-mechanics. As we know, heating an object increases the mean atomic distance $a_0$ of the atoms in a rigid body. Let's assume it is a linear elastic ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

How can one reasonably theoretically model polycrystalline materials?

Many techniques are taught in advanced solid state courses but they are almost all derived for perfectly crystalline materials. For example, band structure really only appears theoretically when you ...
4
votes
0answers
34 views

What groups of symmetry are most suited for filling uniformely a spherical 3D space, whilst possessing the lowest possible surface-to-volume ratio?

I am looking for the closest known approximate solution to Kelvin foams problem that would obey a spherical symmetry. One alternative way of formulating it: I am looking for an equivalent of ...
4
votes
1answer
183 views

Do indirect optical transitions “cool” the material a little?

So I'm reading in Ashcroft and Mermin about indirect optical transitions: So, a photon comes in, and it only excites the electron across the indirect band gap if a phonon with the appropriate wave ...
3
votes
3answers
475 views

Jet turbine blades from single crystals, how are they formed?

I know about nothing about crystals, although I do know a bit more about jet turbine engines, and I definitely know that you don't want the fan blade hitting the fan housing. The reason given in the ...
3
votes
1answer
301 views

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

As far as I understand a new pattern of crystal growth has been found experimentally. How does it relate to the known 2D and 3D nucleation and growth of crystals? The dominating theory of crystal ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

Can you explain why crystals form without thermodynamics?

I know that the basic reason that solid crystals form is because it's the lowest energy configuration (i.e. this). I am looking for an intuitive explanation for this process, one that does not involve ...
3
votes
4answers
528 views

Molecule vs Crystal

Feynman mentions in his lectures: ...the concept of a molecule of a substance is only approximate and exists only for a certain class of substances. It is clear in the case of water that the ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

How to make a single crystal silicon wafer?

How can I make a single crystal silicon wafer? What are the tools needed? What is the most diffcult part? Can I make it at home or at school lab? I am now interested on Czochralski process where you ...
3
votes
1answer
500 views

Nature of tetragonal distortion in Jahn-Teller effect

I am wondering: If I have a regular octahedron as my starting point, oriented along the x-y-z axis, and now Jahn-Teller suggest I elongate or compress along the $z$-axis, what happens along the other ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Are there any electro-optic crystals that are also pyroelectric but not birefringent?

As the title says, a crystal that is electr-optic and pyroelectric can it be non-birefrigent?
3
votes
1answer
991 views

How to write the Fröhlich Hamiltonian in one dimension?

I am currently working on a (functional) analysis problem refining Pekar's Ansatz (or adiabatic approximation, as it is called in his beautiful 1961 manuscript "Research in Electron Theory of ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Where are the ice rings in X-ray crystallography located?

I threw this image of one of my protein crystal's diffraction pattern (not the greatest) on a poster, and was wondering where (what reciprocal dimension) the ice rings are located as it might be a ...
3
votes
1answer
33 views

Why do we still get sharp scattering spots with quasi-crystal?

In a quasi-crystal, there is no translational invariance. This means there is no delta-function in the Fourier transform. But to get a sharp scattering spot, we need a delta function. Physically, ...
3
votes
1answer
229 views

Difference in chemical potential in supersaturated solutions

I have been more or less struggeling to understand an equation that is apparently used in almost all books covering crystals in any way. Basically every book that I have found explains the following: ...
3
votes
1answer
301 views

What determines Phonon - Phonon collisions?

I was in Solid State Physics lecture yesterday and we BRIEFLY went over what causes phonons to collide with one another. Things such as crystal imperfections, boundaries, Temperature, but I was ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Difference between Wigner crystal state and fractional quantum Hall (FQH) state

Wigner crystal and FQH effect are both due to strong electron-electron interaction under magnetic field. As we know, Landau's symmetry-breaking cannot be used to describe FQH state. But can it be used ...
3
votes
1answer
264 views

Algorithm for identifying planes in a Bravais Lattice

I have a lattice with Lattice Vectors $(\vec{t}_1,\vec{t}_2,\vec{t}_3)$ which are NOT orthogonal in general. How can I identify the atoms/unit cells that belong to a plane - that is normal to a given ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Crystal visualization software for visualizing lattice with reciprocal vectors drawn in same image [closed]

I'm looking for a free crystal visualization program, preferably for Linux, that can visualize the common lattice structures in 3D interactively (rotatable with mouse) and draw in the same picture the ...
3
votes
1answer
513 views

Bragg condition for transmission: Why is the full diffracted angle Two times Theta? Or isn't it?

On a Bragg reflection with incomming angle Theta the total diffraction angle of the incomming wave is 2*Theta, of course. But I have Bragg transmission with electrons on a graphite crystal ...
3
votes
2answers
763 views

Madelung constant list (for surfaces as well)

Searching for this on google proved to be quite tedious, but I reckon that someone working with crystals a lot might know this off the top of his head: Is there a good source that lists the Madelung ...
3
votes
0answers
49 views

What is the the real world interpretation of the high dimensionality of quasicrystals?

One of the examples of the problems of 5-fold symmetry is that pentagons tiled on a 2D plane do not completely fill that plane, leaving voids. This may be solved by "folding" it into 3D space, and ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

Lattice geometry and dispersion relation

Is there a general theorem which gives some information about which influence have the lattice geometry (for example sub-lattice structure, square lattice, honeycomb lattice, lattice symmetries, ...) ...
3
votes
0answers
131 views

Why is there a 'loophole' in Mermin Wagner for rotations?

I'm just starting out in my mathematics career by looking at some simple stuff on broken symmetries in statistical mechanics. Since 3D is 'hard' it would be very nice to look at 2D toy models of ...
3
votes
0answers
169 views

Bandgap Spacing in Photonic Crystals

I am doing some self-study on photonics and have encountered the following question: We know that amorphous electronic crystals such as amorphous silicon have a bandgap. Can amorphous photonic ...
2
votes
2answers
881 views

How many atoms exist within a continuum body?

Materials, such as solids, liquids and gases, are composed of molecules separated by "empty" space. On a microscopic scale, materials have cracks and discontinuities. However, certain physical ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

FCC lattice as a stack of triangular lattices

According to Marder, Condensed Matter Physics, Chapter 2: Within the planes normal to the vector [1,1,1], the atoms of an fcc lattice lie in a two dimensional triangular lattice However, he does ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Bloch theorem, Energy, Free electron

I'm trying to learn on my own a bit of solid physics to tackle semiconductors afterwards. I'm struggling with the Energy versus $k$ diagrams for a free electron which shows that for a single value of ...