Friday, September 3, 2010

Physicists find fractal boundaries in crystals

Physicists find fractal boundaries in crystals: When a single crystal is bent, portions of the crystal shift and create defects in the lattice called dislocations. The researchers found that their crystals exhibited starkly contrasting properties depending on temperature.

When hot crystals were bent, the dislocations arranged into grain boundaries, which are the places where lattice planes suddenly tilt. At low temperatures, the dislocations formed self-similar, random patterns known as fractals."

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