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January-February 2009

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Characterization of Gold Crystallinity

by Diffraction Methods

The term crystal is used in two related but distinct contexts in mineralogy. First, it is used to describe a mineral or other solid whose natural shape comprises flat planes that are arranged in a symmetric order. In other words, it is used to describe the morphology of a solid. The term crystal is also used to denote a regular and repeating arrangement of atoms in three dimensions. The macroscopic formation and geometry of a crystal are in large part the product of the microscopic atomic structure. Ultimately, it is the regular, repeating arrangement of atoms that makes a solid material a crystal.
Dr. John Rakovan, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor of mineralogy and geochemistry at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Nina Gasbarro is a sophomore student in the Department of Geology at Miami University.
Dr. Heinz Nakotte is a professor of physics at New Mexico State University and the instrument scientist for the single crystal diffraction (SCD) device at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Karunakar Kothapalli is a senior PhD student in physics at New Mexico State University.
Dr. Sven C. Vogel is the instrument scientist for the high pressure–preferred orientation (HIPPO) device at LANSCE, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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