Professor's Work Suggests Beginning with the Anticrystal

July 6, 2014

Physicists at Penn Arts and Sciences and the University of Chicago have evidence that a new concept should undergird our understanding of most materials: the anticrystal, a theoretical solid that is completely disordered.

Their work suggests that, when trying to understand a material’s mechanical properties, scientists would often be better served by beginning with the framework of the anticrystal and adding order, rather than the other way around, because the mechanical properties of even a slightly disordered solid can have more in common with an anticrystal than a perfect crystal. 

The study, published in Nature Physics, was conducted by Andrea Liu, Hepburn Professor of Physics and Professor of Chemistry; Carl Goodrich, a graduate student in Liu’s group; and Sidney Nagel, a physics professor at the University of Chicago.    

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