#GS 03 Science and Technology

For Prelims


  • A quasicrystal’s atoms are arranged in a pattern that repeats itself at irregular intervals unlike in a crystal, where the atoms are arranged in a pattern that periodically repeats itself.
  • Quasicrystals were first discovered in the lab in 1982 and the first natural quasicrystal was discovered in a piece of the Khatyrka meteorite in the Koryak mountains of Russia in 2009.
  • This was the result of several collisions in space over millions of years, which resulted in heating and pressurising it to a great degree.
  • In 2021, Dr. Bindi, Dr. Steinhardt, and others had reported the finding of a quasicrystal amongst the remains of the first nuclear test, conducted on July 16, 1945, in New Mexico.
  • Dr. Bindi, Dr. Steinhardt, and others reported in December 2022 that in the wind-blown dunes of northern Nebraska, they had uncovered a metallic fragment in a long, tube-shaped mass of sand heated and fused by a heavy electric current.
  • It had melted the quartz at the site and formed a silicate glass which is a process that needs to happen at at least 1,700º C.
  • The metallic portion was a mass of aluminium, chromium, manganese, nickel, and silicon.
  • When Bindi et al. placed it under a powerful electron microscope, they discovered a dodecagonal quasicrystal, rare even for quasicrystals.

Source “Scientists report finding a third natural source of quasicrystals

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