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Science. 2009 Jun 5;324(5932):1306-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1170827.

Natural quasicrystals.

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  • 1Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Mineralogia, Universit√† degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze I-50121, Italy.

Abstract

Quasicrystals are solids whose atomic arrangements have symmetries that are forbidden for periodic crystals, including configurations with fivefold symmetry. All examples identified to date have been synthesized in the laboratory under controlled conditions. Here we present evidence of a naturally occurring icosahedral quasicrystal that includes six distinct fivefold symmetry axes. The mineral, an alloy of aluminum, copper, and iron, occurs as micrometer-sized grains associated with crystalline khatyrkite and cupalite in samples reported to have come from the Koryak Mountains in Russia. The results suggest that quasicrystals can form and remain stable under geologic conditions, although there remain open questions as to how this mineral formed naturally.

PMID:
19498165
[PubMed]
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