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Homework Help: Unit cells (crystal structure)

  1. May 18, 2008 #1
    I'm trying to clarify for myself the difference between a Unit Cell, a Primitive Unit Cell and a Conventional Unit Cell.

    As far as I know,
    • Primitive Unit Cells contain only one lattice point and are the smallest possible unit cell
    • Unit Cells are the crystal's smallest building block, and when stacked represent the bulk crystal
    • A Conventional Unit Cell displays the full crystal symmetry by using the conventional choice of lattice vectors, but isn't automatically the smallest (ie, primitive)

    Is that concise enough? To me it seems as though the lines between them are somewhat blurred...
  2. jcsd
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