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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: A New Way to Grow Quasicrystals
9 October 2013 5:30 pm
Until Daniel Shechtman came along, chemists defined crystals as materials in which atoms are arranged in a regular pattern that repeats itself. But in 1982, Shechtman, a materials scientist at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, found that an alloy of aluminum and manganese had a regular order of its atoms but in a pattern that did not repeat. Such “quasicrystals” forced chemists to rewrite their textbooks, and ultimately won Shechtman a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2011. Since that early discovery, quasicrystals have been found in nature, and engineers made numerous varieties of their own and use them in everything from razor blades to nonstick coatings in cookware. Now, researchers in Germany have come up with a new way to grow ultrathin quasicrystalline films. As they report online today in Nature, they deposited a thin layer of barium titanate (BaTiO3) atop a surface of platinum atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Barium titanate’s atoms are normally arrayed in a cubic pattern. But the mismatch in atomic arrangement between the two layers forces the BiTiO3 to arrange its atoms into 12-sided dodecahedrons. The outer ring of the dodecahedrons can be seen in yellow (images left and right). Inside, the atoms arrange themselves in a series of triangles, squares, and rhombi (right). The authors suggest that the new way of growing quasicrystals may lead to many more varieties with as yet untold uses.