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Recently, only the second binary icosahedral quasicrystal ever has been discovered, ten years after the first. A particular scandium‑zinc alloy (Sc12Zn88) was created via a traditional solution‑growth method. Sc12Zn88 consists of millimeter-sized, facetted, single grain quasicrystals.
When the growth conditions are changed only slightly, these quasicrystals can take very different structures. For example, the same alloy can feature pentagonal dodecahedron grains (twelve pentagon faces) or rhombic triacontahedron grains (30 rhombic faces).
The image to the right shows a clump of rhombic triacontahedron crystal grains. In the upper in upper right corner is a single 1mm grain.
Rhombic triacontahedron grain's actual size:
Below are photos of high‑energy x‑ray diffraction patterns for a single rhombic triacontahedron grain from the Sc12Zn88 alloy. The images are not identical because the x-ray diffraction patterns were measured along different axes.
1Ames Laboratory, U.S. DOE, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
2Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
3Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Work was performed at Ames Laboratory Materials Preparation Center supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11358. The use of the Advanced Photon Source was supported by the U.S. DOE under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.