Making Matter

The atomic structure of materials

Index © M. Hewat 1998-2000 Help                                    

These pages illustrate the 3D structures of inorganic materials in the ILL's ICSD-for-WWW database; they were featured in Science (USA) 12 March 1999 and La Recherche (France) October 1999, where they were described as "pedagogique et passionnant". And here they are translated into Russian !! They were originally produced by Marcus Hewat 's 3D VRML structure drawing application xtal-3d, written during 1994 summer student work experience. The database is used by scientists at the European High Flux Reactor, Synchrotron and elsewhere for studying the atomic structure of materials. The latest version of these pages is on the ILL's 3D structure gallery, and more 3D computer graphics are on Marcus's WWW pages, and on those of his employer, SERA-CD designers of concept cars.

In general you will obtain a large picture of the structure if you click on the small picture. You will obtain a 3D VRML model by clicking on ¶-flagged links such as this one for the famous ¶C60 Buckyballs
Note: These are now VRML-97 files, as required by recent VRML viewers.

  • Introduction
  • Why is Atomic Structure Important ?
  • Close Packing
  • How do Atoms Pack Together ?
      CCP, FCC, Gold, HCP, Sodium, BCC, Chromium.
  • Compounds
  • How do Different Sized Atoms Pack ?
      Octahedral & Tetrahedral holes, Coordination Polyhedrae, NaCl Rock salt, ZnS Zinc-blende, ZnO Wurtzite, CaF2 Flourite, TiO2 Rutile, Si Diamond, SiO2 Cristabolite.
  • Perovskites
  • What is a Structural Transition ?
      BaTiO3 Perovskite, Ferro-electrics, NaNbO3, Anti-ferroelectrics.
  • Bonding
  • What about Chemical Bonding ?
      Diamond, Graphite, C60 Fullerenes, Nano-tubes
  • Zeolites
  • How can we Use Structure ?
      Silicate nets, Zeolite-A, Zeolite Frame-work, Molecular Sieves, Catalysts.
  • Gems & Minerals
  • What of other mineral structures ?
      Quartz (Amethyst, Agate, Opal), Feldspars (Moonstone), Beryl (Aquamarine, Emerald), Chrysoberyl (Cat's Eye), Garnet, Jadeite, Olivine, Pyrite, Marcasite, Corundum (Ruby, Sapphire), Zircon, Topaz, Spinel (Loadstone).
  • Superconductors
  • What is Solid State Chemistry ?
      Mixed Valence, Oxidation-Reduction, Charge Transfer, YBCO, Oxide Superconductors, Perovskites.
  • Magnets
  • What is Solid State Physics ?
      Ferro-magnets, Iron Fe, Anti-ferromagnets, MnO spin structure, Fe3O4 magnetite, complex magnetic structures Er6Mn23, hard magnets Nd2Fe14B, GMR Giant Maneto-Resistance (La,Ca)MnO3.
  • Layered Structures
  • What do Lubricants and Clays have in common ?
      Graphite, KC8, moly-disulphide, brucite, CdI, BaSi2, Li2Si2O5 and layered silicates, clay minerals and phyllosilicates, talc, muscovite and mica, montmorillonite and bad drainage.

    A technical note. You can download the complete 3D-crystals WWW pages 3D-crystals.tar.gz for WinZip7 and Unix (most up-to-date), for older Windows systems or 3D-crystals.hqx for Macintosh (provided you change nothing and do not extract the contents for any other use). But first read our Help and Acknowledgements & Further Reading files. 

    By the way, the old 3D_gallery page is still there. Please report any problems to