Friday, October 07, 2011


In 1982, Dan Shechtman observed unusual diffraction pattern in aluminium—manganese alloy [1, 2]. Almost 30 years later, he was awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011for the discovery of quasicrystals”.

Earlier this year, the first naturally occurring quasicrystal was described. Icosahedrite Al63Cu24Fe13 is a new mineral found in southeastern Chukhotka, Russia. It is named “for the icosahedral symmetry of its internal atomic structure, as observed in its diffraction pattern” [3].

  1. Shechtman, D., Blech, I., Gratias, D. and Cahn, J. (1984) Metallic phase with long-range orientational order and no translational symmetry. Physical Review Letters 53, 1951—1953.
  2. Fernholm, A. (2011) Crystals of golden proportions.
  3. Bindi, L., Steinhardt, P.J., Yao, N. and Lu, P.J. (2011) Icosahedrite, Al63Cu24Fe13, the first natural quasicrystal. American Mineralogist 96, 928—931.