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:
“It is crystal clear to me that if Arabs put down a draft resolution blaming Israel for the recent earthquake in Iran it would probably have a majority, the U.S. would veto it and Britain and France would abstain.”
—Amos Oz (b. 1939)
“Madame, ye been alle beautee shrine
As fer as cercled is the mapemounde:
For as the crystal glorious ye shine,
And like ruby been youre cheekes rounde.”
—Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?1400)
“We have ... a thirst unquenchable, to allay which he has not shown us the crystal springs. This thirst belongs to the immortality of Man.... It is no mere appreciation of the Beauty before usbut a wild effort to reach the Beauty above.”
—Edgar Allan Poe (18091849)