What is a crystal?
Condensed Matter Physics 114-36, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA 91125, U.S.A.*
(Dated: January 1, 2007)
Almost 25 years have passed since Shechtman discovered quasicrystals, and 15 years since the Commission on Aperiodic Crystals of the International Union of Crystallography put forth a provisional definition of the term crystal to mean “any solid having an essentially discrete diffraction diagram.” Have we learned enough about crystallinity in the last 25 years, or do we need more time to explore additional physical systems? There is much confusion and contradiction in the literature in using the term crystal. Are we ready now to propose a permanent definition for crystal to be used by all? I argue that time has come to put a sense of order in all the confusion.
Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
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