Monoclinic crystal system

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An example of the monoclinic crystals, orthoclase

In crystallography, the monoclinic crystal system is one of the 7 crystal systems. A crystal system is described by three vectors. In the monoclinic system, the crystal is described by vectors of unequal lengths, as in the orthorhombic system. They form a rectangular prism with a parallelogram as its base. Hence two vectors are perpendicular (meet at right angles), while the third vector meets the other two at an angle other than 90°.

Bravais lattices[edit]

Two-dimensional[edit]

There is only one monoclinic Bravais lattice in two dimensions: the oblique lattice.

Three-dimensional[edit]

Two monoclinic Bravais lattices exist: the primitive monoclinic and the centered monoclinic lattices.

Rectangular vs rhombic unit cells for the 2D base layers of the monoclinic lattice. The two lattices interchange in centering type when the axis setting is changed
Bravais lattice Primitive
monoclinic
Base-centered
monoclinic
Pearson symbol mP mS
Standard unit cell Monoclinic.svg Monoclinic-base-centered.svg
Clinorhombic prism unit cell Clinorhombic prismC.svg Clinorhombic prism.svg

In the monoclinic system there is a second choice of crystal axes that results in a unit cell with the shape of a clinorhombic prism,[1] although this axis setting is very rarely used; this is because the rectangular two-dimensional base layers can also be described with rhombic axes. In this axis setting, the primitive and base-centered lattices interchange in centering type.

Crystal classes[edit]

The monoclinic crystal system class names, examples, Schönflies notation, Hermann-Mauguin notation, point groups, International Tables for Crystallography space group number,[2] orbifold, type, and space groups are listed in the table below.

# Point group Type
(Example)
Space groups
Name Schoenflies notation (Schön.) Hermann–Mauguin notation (Intl) orbifold (Orb.) Coxeter notation (Cox.)
3–5 Sphenoidal [3] C2 2 22 [2]+ enantiomorphic polar
(halotrichite)
P2, P21
C2
6–9 Domatic [3] C1h (=C1v = Cs) 2 = m *11 [ ] polar
(hilgardite)
Pm, Pc
Cm, Cc
10–15 Prismatic [3] C2h 2/m 2* [2,2+] centrosymmetric
(gypsum)
P2/m, P21/m, C2/m
P2/c, P21/c, C2/c

Sphenoidal is also monoclinic hemimorphic; Domatic is also monoclinic hemihedral; Prismatic is also monoclinic normal.

The three monoclinic hemimorphic space groups are as follows:

  • a prism with as cross-section wallpaper group p2
  • ditto with screw axes instead of axes
  • ditto with screw axes as well as axes, parallel, in between; in this case an additional translation vector is one half of a translation vector in the base plane plus one half of a perpendicular vector between the base planes.

The four monoclinic hemihedral space groups include

  • those with pure reflection at the base of the prism and halfway
  • those with glide planes instead of pure reflection planes; the glide is one half of a translation vector in the base plane
  • those with both in between each other; in this case an additional translation vector is this glide plus one half of a perpendicular vector between the base planes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ See Hahn (2002), p. 746, row mC, column Primitive, where the cell parameters are given as a1 = a2, α = β
  2. ^ Prince, E., ed. (2006). International Tables for Crystallography. International Union of Crystallography. doi:10.1107/97809553602060000001. ISBN 978-1-4020-4969-9. 
  3. ^ a b c "The 32 crystal classes". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 

Further reading[edit]