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Crystal Creations

Updated: Jan 25

Create the repeating pattern of a crystal structure!

The science behind this maker kit is all about how things in the world around us are built on the atomic scale.

The story of how we see inside materials to find out the structures that they’re made from starts over 100 years ago with work of the Braggs. A father and son, William Henry and William Lawrence Bragg chatted together about some exciting discoveries of patterns created by shining X-rays through crystals invented. William Lawrence Bragg came up with a way of describing how the X-rays interacted with layers of atoms in a crystal to form the patterns. His father, William Henry Bragg followed this up by designing an experiment to test his son’s theory. Using the Bragg’s equation and new apparatus it became possible to use the pattern of X-ray spots to find out what the arrangement of atoms was inside a material.

The ability to look inside materials and see what they are made from was an enormous breakthrough, earning the Braggs a Nobel Prize in Physics. Their discovery and the science they both went on to do laid the groundwork for much of modern science and engineering today. Their experimental techniques is used every day in labs all over the world to find out the structure of materials at the atomic scale. Without it we wouldn’t know the structure of DNA, we would understand how to improve building materials like concrete, and we wouldn’t be able to make the material we use to make the tiny components in our smartphones.

Today, we are able to engineer materials right down to placing single atoms in the right place for minute devices for the computing and communications devices that make the modern world possible. The ongoing research that inspired this make kit is looking at building materials at this atomic scale for the next generation of technologies such as quantum computers. There’s more details on this research here .


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