Rob Scarrow's Web Pages about Crystal Structures
This page uses animated gif files to teach about the translational symmetry
found in crystals, and to explain the meaning of "unit cell" and how to
determine the elemental composition of the unit cell.
This page compares the structures of various solids that have cubic point groups, to emphasize the similarities and differences between various structures of metallic and ionic structures. Uses a Jmol applet; you should see a bunch of small buttons with asterisks; if not something is wrong with Jmol - perhaps try another browser (works with Safari and Firefox on Mac - 2/2012).
It is common for chemists and biologists to show pictures of molecules
in ball and stick or wireframe views based on structures obtained from
X-ray crystallography. It is less common for them to show pictures of how
the molecules pack together to form a semi-infinite lattice of repeating
unit cells. Clicking on the title above will allow you to compare views
of a coordination complex showing a single molecule with another view showing
roughly 50 molecules packed together in the semi-infinite lattice.
I recommend the WebElements.com site. It has, over the years, become very ad intensive, but still has lots of useful information. You can browse and compare the structures
and properties of the different elements. Here is a page
I use with quick links to show my Gen Chem class.
Relevant to experiments 17-19 from the Chem 101 lab manual, here are
several different 3-D structures of the [CoCl2(en)2]+
cation. These may be viewed with using the Chime plug-in (for
more info click here) or the stand-alone program Rasmol (see
- The cation of trans-[CoCl2(en)2]Cl•2
H2O • HCl, taken from a neutron diffraction study. Neutron
diffraction is similar to X-ray diffraction, but is better able to locate
hydrogen atoms. The structure was found in the Cambridge Structural Database
(click here for information on how to access
this database if you are a Haverford student or staff). The journal reference
is Roziere, J.; Williams, J. M. Inorg.Chem., 1976, 15,
A crystal structure of a different salt of the same cation but with a different
anion; this salt is trans-[CoCl2(en)2]2[CoCl4].
The reference for this structure (also taken from the Cambridge Structural
Database) is Schubert,U.; Zimmer-Gasser, B.; Dash, K. C.; Chaudhury, G.
R. Cryst.Struct.Commun., 1981, 10, 239.
Lamda and Delta
enantiomers of the cis-[CoCl2(en)2] cation.
(Entries CENCOC and CLECOC in the Cambridge Structural Database).
Here are a few structure other files maintained locally (may be viewed
with Chime or Rasmol (see below)):
The iron site of nitrile hydratase,
the above-mentioned enzyme. The hydrogen atoms are omitted for clarity.
A couple of extended lattices. Because the distances between atoms in these
are more than the sum of covalent radii, RASMOL does not find bonds. Thus
you will see a blank screen upon loading the file. Change to Ball and Stick
view in order to see the atoms as small balls. Simple cubic polonium
chloride are available. Each view shows a 3 x 3 x 3 array of unit cells.
Recommended www links: