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Quasicrystal growth

  1. Mar 29, 2010 #1
    There are "quasicrystals" with fivefold symmetry in the crystal diffraction pattern. They're aperiodic in a systematic way, similar to Penrose tiles, which tile the plane in a five-ish way. The pattern doesn't have translational symmetry, but you can get the pattern to correspond as closely as you like with a translated copy, short of 100% correspondence, if you translate the copy far enough.

    Penrose said in the "Emperor's New Mind" that he thought assembling such a quasicrystal would require quantum superpositions to be maintained, because the assembly can't be done locally. In order to assemble in the quasicrystal pattern, a molecule has to "know" about the state of other molecules assembling far away. He thinks that the quantum superposition may get reduced (quantum state reduction) into the low-energy quasicrystal state, once it's been found by the quantum superposition.

    If true, it seems to me that you could illuminate the process of quantum state reduction by finding out what the size of domains in the quasicrystal is - where the faults are.

    All this has been investigated, I think. Does anybody know what people have found out? What's the current thought about whether the quasicrystals are maintaining long-range superpositions while they're growing?

  2. jcsd
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