[meteorite-list] New Quasicrystal Found in Russian Meteorit
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2016 14:54:03 -0800 (PST)
Discovery of yet to be observed extraterrestrial quasicrystal
University of Florence
December 16, 2016
As reported in a study by a scientist of the Department of Earth Sciences
appeared in Scientific Reports
A new quasicrystal coming from outer space surprised scientists with a
chemical composition never previously observed. ("Collisions in outer
space produced an icosahedral phase in the Khatyrka meteorite never observed
previously in the laboratory" in Scientific Reports). The study is the
output of an group of international researchers that includes Luca Bindi
of the University's Department of Earth Sciences.
The new extraterrestrial mineral, the third one presently identified,
was produced by collisions between space asteroids at the dawn of the
solar system. Its discovery proves that such materials could be a lot
more common than previously thought.
"Quasicrystals are unique minerals", reports Luca Bindi, associate professor
of Mineralogy, "and its atoms are set as if in a mosaic, in regular patterns,
but that do not repeat themselves periodically such as in ordinary crystals."
Up to now there were only two known natural quasicrystals (icosahedrite
and decagonite) also identified by the research group led by Biondi. The
first quasicrystal was identified in 2009 in a specimen of the Khatyrka
meteorite, found in Siberia and held by the Museum of Natural History
of the University of Florence.
Together with colleagues from Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution
and the Russian Academy of Sciences, Bindi and his team have returned
to Siberia in 2011 where they collected further samples of the meteorite
in which the other two quasicrystals have been identified.
"Whereas the first two crystals reflect the chemical equivalent of synthetic
material discovered some years before thanks to the Nobel prize winner
Dan Shechtman who had synthesized them in the 1980s", continues Bindi,
"the quasicrystal material found now is something that has not been foreseen
by laboratory experiments and it shows how little we know of the formation
mechanisms of such materials that take shape and remain stable in exceptional
conditions and have innumerable technological applications".
Received on Wed 21 Dec 2016 05:54:03 PM PST