Drawing the crystal lattice in LaTeX

While LaTeX packages TikZ and PStricks  (see previous post) extensively support 2D, the  3D support is somewhat limited: z-coordinate (depth) is not accounted for in certain cases, so the the newer object declaration or higher layer “covers” older object or lower layer.

Possible solution is using Asymptote package. It comes with additional bonuses like inlining code into TeX code, export into various image formats and even embedding PRC graphics within PDF files. Just what one needs for imaging the crystal structure! :-)

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On physics…

Чтобы построить полную теорию, фактов всегда достаточно, не хватает только фантазии.
Д. Блохинцев

[There are always enough facts to build a complete theory, only fantasy is lacking.
D. Blokhintsev]

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Last evening had a nice chat with a friend of mine from the Materials Science Department.  At a certain point we  came to a discussion  about the crystal structure and  ways to  represent it.  As my counterpart was pointing out that it’s enough to give chemical composition and a space group to define the crystal structure, he stated that  Strukturbericht notation is superfluous and useless.

We had a long and interesting discussion, which I omit here. However, we came to an agreement that at least in the following phrase, using the Strukturbericht notation is good, as it gives the shortest and clearest explanation of what is going on:

Ni2MnAl exhibits structural transitions between  the L21B2A2 phases at 990 K and 1220 K, respectively.”

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An explanatory remark

Currently I’m a PhD student, finishing my thesis. During the preparation of the manuscript I used LaTeX for the typesetting and git for the revision control.

I would like to share certain ideas and techniques which for the preparation of the manuscript and data visualization, so following posts of this blog will cover (but won’t be limited to) this topic. And I hope that this experience will be useful for anybody else.