COOL IMAGES: Material World

Science  12 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5408, pp. 1599
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1599a

What do buckyballs, superconductors and talc have in common? They're all inorganic materials, and they all come under scrutiny at Making Matter, a Web gallery at the Institute Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France. The institute houses a neutron source used to decipher atomic structures, and researcher Alan Hewat has created a tutorial using dozens of images computer generated with data from the institute's archive. The colorful images—manipulable in 3D—demonstrate how atoms pack in metals and rock salt, how sliding layers give talc its slipperiness, how holes in zeolites make the structures useful, and how a “charge reservoir” lets superconductors do their thing. In this rendering of manganese oxide, an antiferromagnet, arrows show the moments of green manganese atoms that cancel each other out.

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