A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an ordered pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. In addition to their microscopic structure, large crystals are usually identifiable by their macroscopic geometrical shape, consisting of flat faces with specific, characteristic orientations.
The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography. The process of crystal formation via mechanisms of crystal growth is called crystallization or solidification. The word crystal is derived from the Ancient Greek word κρύσταλλος (krustallos), meaning both “ice” and “rock crystal”, from κρύος (kruos), "icy cold, frost".
Common crystals include snowflakes, diamonds, and table salt; however, most common inorganic solids are polycrystals. Crystals are often symmetrically intergrown to form crystal twins.
Read more about Crystal: Crystal Structure (microscopic), Crystal Faces and Shapes, Polymorphism and Allotropy, Crystallization, Defects, Impurities, and Twinning, Chemical Bonds, Quasicrystals, Special Properties From Anisotropy, Crystallography, Gallery
Famous quotes containing the word crystal:
“Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.”
—John Donne (15721631)
“But the thing that I saw in your face
No power can disinherit:
No bomb that ever burst
Shatters the crystal spirit.”
—George Orwell (19031950)
“While that the sun with his beams hot
Scorched the fruits in vale and mountain,
Philon the shepherd, late forgot,
Sitting beside a crystal fountain,”
—Unknown. The Unfaithful Shepherdess (l. 14)