Due to their special structure, quasic crystals exhibit a number of special physical properties. They are already used today for pans or catalysts. The newly discovered class is particularly interesting for optical applications, for example for the production of photonic crystals. It also provides new opportunities for studying magnetic systems and the development of memory devices for quantum computers.
Classical crystals have a periodic structure, the elementary cells of which repeat themselves at regular intervals, similar to a checkerboard pattern. The possibilities for such structures are limited: in two dimensions, for example, only two, three, four and six-fold symmetries can be joined seamlessly.Quasi-crystals, on the other hand, also allow other symmetries – five-folds, for example, or the now discovered two-dimensional structure with twelve-fold symmetry, whose triangular and quadrangular basic elements of fullerenes spread irregularly over the substrate.
Researchers from the Jülich Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI-1, PGI-5, PGI-7) deposited the fullerenes known as “football molecules” on a platinum-titanium alloy. By means of computer-intensive ab initio simulations on the Jülich supercomputer JUQUEEN, they succeeded in directing the arrangement of the fullerenes to the specific interaction with the underlying alloy. In the future, the detailed findings could make it possible to produce tailor-made quartz crystals with certain qualities.
Source : Forschungszentrum Jülich