Crystal structure library gets a 'data lift'

Mar 06, 2006
Crystal structure library gets a 'data lift'
Image credit: NIST

Much of science these days depends on "black (or beige) boxes," scientific instruments that invisibly analyze data and then, voilá, identify the chemistry and/or structure of a sample. While scientists and engineers may be glad that the data crunching is invisible, the quality of the data used is critically important to something that they do care deeply about--getting an accurate answer.

Through two years of meticulous evaluation studies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has helped ensure that "black boxes" that identify crystal structures will have the best possible data. The NIST Structural Database is a compilation of chemical data and three-dimensional crystal structures for approximately 20,000 materials, primarily metals, alloys and intermetallics. (Intermetallic materials are compounds of two or more metals with mechanical properties often resembling a cross between metals and ceramics.)

While the database has been available previously, this latest upgrade features a re-evaluation of all 20,000 crystal structures to ensure that the highest quality data are included. The upgrade efforts include improved standardization of the data provided for each structure and additional data fields for each entry. The structure data provided can be imported into Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) players that allow researchers to view the structures in three dimensions and to rotate them in space.

The database is typically licensed by software companies and instrument manufacturers. For example, the database may be incorporated into software used to identify chemical compositions and/or crystalline structures using electron diffraction. Diffraction instruments work by aiming a beam of radiation (such as X-rays, electrons, neutrons, etc.) at a sample and then analyzing the resulting scattering patterns produced.

Source: NIST

Explore further: Top-precision optical atomic clock starts ticking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Semiconductor works better when hitched to graphene

Feb 20, 2015

Graphene – a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon with highly desirable electrical properties, flexibility and strength – shows great promise for future electronics, advanced solar cells, protective coatings ...

New detection technologies for bacterial pathogens

Feb 19, 2015

In FP7 jargon, RAPTADIAG is categorised as a 'small or medium-scale focused research project'. However, the past two years have seen the consortium turn a novel diagnostic test for bacterial meningitis into ...

Recommended for you

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

51 minutes ago

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

1 hour ago

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

Precision gas sensor could fit on a chip

2 hours ago

Using their expertise in silicon optics, Cornell engineers have miniaturized a light source in the elusive mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectrum, effectively squeezing the capabilities of a large, tabletop laser onto a 1-millimeter ...

A new X-ray microscope for nanoscale imaging

3 hours ago

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright ...

New research signals big future for quantum radar

15 hours ago

A prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems has been developed by an international research team led by a quantum information scientist at the University ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.