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Keywords:

  • crystal growth;
  • electron microscopy;
  • helical structures;
  • mechanical properties;
  • X-ray diffraction

Abstract

Crystals of a variety of substances including elements, minerals, simple salts, organic molecular crystals, and high polymers forgo long-range translational order by twisting and bending as they grow. These deviations have been observed in crystals ranging in size from nanometers to centimeters. How and why so many materials choose dramatic non-crystallographic distortions is analyzed, with an emphasis on crystal chemistries that give rise to stresses operating either on surfaces of crystallites or within the bulk.