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Lattice Symmetry and Identification--The Fundamental Role of Reduced Cells in Materials Characterization



Alan D. Mighell


In theory, physical crystals can be represented by idealized mathematical lattices. Under appropriate conditions, these representations can be used for a variety of purposes such as identifying, classifying, and understanding the physical properties of materials. Critical to these applications is the ability to construct a unique representation of the lattice. The vital link that enabled this theory to be realized in practice was provided by the 1970 paper on the determination of reduced cells. This seminal paper led to a mathematical approach to lattice analysis initially based on systematic reduction procedures and the use of standard cells. Subsequently, the process evolved to a matrix approach based on group theory and linear algebra that offered a more abstract and powerful way look at lattices and their properties. Application of the reduced cell to both database work and laboratory research at NIST was immediately successful. Currently, this cell and/or procedures based on reduction are widely and routinely used by the general scientific community: (i) for calculating standard cells for the reporting of crystalline materials, (ii) for classifying materials, (iii) in crystallographic database work, (iv) in routine x-ray and neutron diffractometry, and (v) in general crystallographic research. Especially important is its use in symmetry determination and in identification. The focus herein is on the role of the reduced cell in lattice symmetry determination.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
106 No. 6


crystallography, identification, mathematical lattices, reduction, symmetry determination


Mighell, A. (2002), Lattice Symmetry and Identification--The Fundamental Role of Reduced Cells in Materials Characterization, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 22, 2024)


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Created February 1, 2002, Updated February 19, 2017