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Unlocking The Mysteries of Quasicrystals: Characteristics & Latest Discoveries

Relevance : GS paper 3, Science and Tech

Quasicrystals are a type of matter that have properties of both crystals and glasses. Unlike crystals, which have a repeating arrangement of atoms in a three-dimensional lattice, quasicrystals have a repeating pattern that is never exactly the same, giving them a unique and non-repeating structure.


This leads to unusual and distinct physical properties, such as high strength and the ability to conduct electricity without heating up.


Some of the latest discoveries of quasicrystals include the discovery of naturally occurring quasicrystals in a type of meteorite called the Khatyrka meteorite. This was the first time that quasicrystals had been found in nature, and it opened up new avenues for research into their formation and properties.


Another recent discovery was the creation of new quasicrystalline alloys, which have unique electrical, optical, and thermal properties. These alloys have the potential to be used in a wide range of applications, such as in electronics, solar cells, and structural materials.


Quasicrystals are still a relatively new and developing field of research, and there is much that is yet to be discovered about their properties and potential uses. However, the unique characteristics of quasicrystals make them an exciting area of study, with the potential to revolutionize many different industries.


Frequently Asked Questions on Quasicrystals

1 ) What are Quasicrystals?

  • Quasicrystals are a type of material with an ordered atomic structure that is intermediate between a crystal and a glass.
  • Unlike crystals, they have an aperiodic arrangement of atoms, meaning their repeating pattern does not follow a simple, repeating lattice structure.

2 ) What are the characteristics of Quasicrystals?

  • Quasicrystals have a unique, repeating atomic structure that is different from the repeating lattice structure found in crystals.
  • They have a high degree of rotational symmetry, meaning their repeating pattern is unchanged when rotated by specific angles.
  • Quasicrystals are typically hard, heat-resistant, and have low thermal conductivity.

3 ) What is the latest discovery of Quasicrystals?

  • In 2021, scientists discovered a quasicrystal in a meteorite that had fallen to Earth. This was the first time a naturally occurring quasicrystal had been found, confirming that they can exist in the universe outside of laboratory conditions.
  • Another recent discovery involves the creation of quasicrystals with a large, repeating pattern that can be seen with the naked eye. These large quasicrystals have potential for use in decorative and architectural applications.

4 ) Are there any practical applications of Quasicrystals?
Yes, there are several potential applications of quasicrystals, including:

  • As coatings to improve the hardness and wear resistance of cutting and drilling tools.
  • As components in high-temperature applications, such as furnace linings and heat exchangers, due to their high thermal stability.
  • In electronics, as components that can resist heat, radiation, and corrosion.
  • As coatings for food packaging to improve its resistance to heat and moisture.

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February 2024