Quasic crystals, a solid that mimics the structure of crystals but lacks periodicity, have been discovered and used in a variety of applications, including non-stick cookware, LED lights and surgical instruments. Their unique properties make them a desirable candidate for many future technologies.
They can be found in a range of different minerals, and their formation is still under study. Scientists have recently made a discovery that could help them narrow down the origin of these exotic materials.
The new mineral, called skutterudite, is believed to have formed when lightning struck near a power line in a sandy region of Nebraska. It is one of the only known natural sources for quasicrystals.
It is also one of the few minerals that has been shown to form under certain conditions in the lab.
This is a huge breakthrough, as it is one of the only ways to prove that such structures can naturally occur in nature.
In the laboratory, scientists have been able to replicate the atomic structure of these crystals, and the results have been very interesting. They have also shown that they can be used to build materials that have many desirable properties.
They have a strong electrical conductivity and are less prone to corrosion than other substances.
They can be used to make a range of products that have never before been possible, such as non-stick cookware, LED light bulbs and surgical tools. The team behind the new research hopes that their work will eventually lead to a whole range of other uses.