Icosahedral Solids: A New Phase of Matter?

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Science  27 Nov 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4831, pp. 1242-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.238.4831.1242


Numerous examples of metallic alloys have been discovered, the atomic structures of which display an icosahedral symmetry that is impossible for ordinary periodic crystals. Recent experimental results support the hypothesis that the alloys are examples of a new "quasicrystal" phase of solid matter. Observed deviations from an ideal quasicrystal structure can be explained as "phason strains," a special class of defects predicted to be the dominant type of imperfection formed during solidification.