IMAGES: Meet a Slippery Customer

Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1525e
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5728.1525e

Compared with its glittering cousin the diamond, graphite seems drab and grimy. Click on this primer from physicist John Jaszczak of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, though, and you might gain a new appreciation for the substance's intricate structure and even for its beauty. Jaszczak says he created the site to provide information on a member of the carbon family that's often overlooked by mineralogists but that features bonds stronger than a diamond's. Along with backgrounders on graphite's sheetlike structure, the site features a gallery with examples from around the globe, catching the mineral in its many guises: spheres, columns, clumps, and even cones. On a hexagonal sample from California, Nomarski differential interference contrast microscopy highlights the spiral pattern that marks the crystal's growth.

www.phy.mtu.edu/∼jaszczak/graphite.html

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