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Source: The post is based on the article “Third source of natural quasicrystals preserves their reputation for violent origins” published in The Hindu on 8th February 2023.
What is the News?
Recently, Scientists have discovered a third natural source of quasicrystals.
What are Quasicrystals?
Quasicrystal, also called quasi-periodic crystal, is a matter formed atomically in a manner somewhere between the amorphous solids of glasses and the precise pattern of crystals.
In quasicrystals, the atoms are arranged in a pattern that repeats itself at irregular, yet predictable, intervals.
When was it discovered?
The American-Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman discovered quasicrystals in the lab in 1982.
The first natural quasicrystal found was as microscopic grains in a fragment of the Khatyrka meteorite lying in the Koryak mountains of Russia.
The second time scientists found natural quasicrystals in the remains of the Trinity test of the Manhattan Project.
Recently in the Sand Hills dunes in northern Nebraska, where scientists found silicate glass which is a dodecagonal quasicrystal, rare even for quasicrystals.
What are the applications of Quasicrystals?
Quasicrystals can be used in surgical instruments, LED lights and non-stick frying pans. They have poor heat conductivity, which makes them good insulators.
Other potential applications include selective solar absorbers for power conversion, broad-wavelength reflectors, and bone repair and prostheses applications where biocompatibility, low friction and corrosion resistance are required.