In Russia discovered extraterrestrial quasicrystal


In science, it so happens that the path becomes more interesting than the actual discoveries made along the way. It is safe to say the inhomogeneous group of scientists and a simple stone, which was discovered by them in a remote part of Russia. This simple stone was identified as quasicrystals and was, according to the team to investigate it, part of the meteorite that came to us shortly after the birth of our solar system.

The story begins with Dan Schechtman, materials scientists, who suggested in 1982 that it is possible to create such materials to be cross between glass and crystal. Ridiculed for his bold assertion, he later won the Nobel Prize for it well after other scientists actually managed to create such materials. Uniqueness quasicrystals is that instead of a single crystalline recurring pattern as conventional crystal, their atoms form a lattice, which is ordered in the same time will not be repeated.

After reading the study Schechtman, a theoretical physicist Paul Steinhardt, came to the conclusion that these structures, which he called quasicrystals should occur in nature.

Eight years later, the Italian mineralogist Luca Bindi Steinhardt said about some of his collection of stones, one of which, according to him, looked particularly promising.

After the analysis, they concluded that this was indeed the natural stone of quasicrystals, though its origin was unknown.

After a serious study of a sample of stone, including mass spectrometry to determine the different isotopes of oxygen contained in the sample, the team concluded that found in a remote part of Russia stone is part of a meteorite that fell to Earth soon after the birth of our solar system. Among other minerals, the sample contained a form of quartz, which is formed only at high temperatures and pressures similar to those experienced by a meteorite falling to Earth. As a result, they have come to the conclusion that quasi-crystals can actually be of natural origin, although it is still unclear what the conditions in the depths of space, leading to the formation of this unique material.

Original: Physorg

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