Frank Hoffmann, Michael Sartor, and Michael Fröba

The Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry

  • MOOC
  • English
  • Chemistry

About this course

Course Summary

In this course, we will provide you with a basic introduction into crystallography. The focus is placed upon the symmetry elements, which occur in crystals. The arrangement of the atoms inside the crystal needs a more detailed description than the overall shape of the crystal (morphology). We want to show you how symmetry is classified in a hierarchical way. We want our students to gain the ability to discover symmetry on their own.

What will I learn?

At the end of the course you will be aware of the similarities between the patterns on wallpaper and the structures of crystals, be able to classify the innumerable appearances of crystals into the seven different crystal systems, know how to find crystallographic data and how to analyze it regarding symmetry, you will understand the International Tables for Crystallography and will be familiar with software for analyzing and drawing crystals structures.

What do I have to know?

Basic knowledge in chemistry (atoms, simple molecules).

Course Structure

Chapter     Topic
Chapter 1        Introduction to Crystals and Crystal Systems
Chapter 2        Crystal Systems, Fractional Coordinates, and Morphology of Crystals
Chapter 3        The World of Symmetry, Crystal classes and Plane groups
Chapter 4        Glide planes, Screw axes and Space groups
Chapter 5        Quasicrystals and Real Crystal Structures (in 3D)
Chapter 6        Metal-Organic Frameworks and Networks
Chapter 7        Practising Topology Determination, Tilings


Approx. 4 hours per week.