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World’s largest single crystal of gold verified by Los Alamos instruments

Using Lujan Center’s HIPPO instrument, researchers probed the specimen with neutrons to gather critical information
December 22, 2014
World’s largest single crystal of gold verified by Los Alamos instruments

Neutron diffraction data collected on the single-crystal diffraction (SCD) instrument at the Lujan Center, from the Venezuelan gold sample, indicate that the sample is a single crystal.

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“The structure or atomic arrangement of gold crystals of this size has never been studied before, and we have a unique opportunity to do so.”

World’s largest single crystal of gold verified by Los Alamos instruments

Equipment and capabilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Lujan Neutron Scattering Center enabled a geologist to determine that a dazzling 217.78-gram piece of gold was in fact the world’s largest single-crystal specimen—a distinguishing factor that would not only drastically increase its market value but also provide a unique research opportunity.

Using the Lujan Center’s HIPPO instrument, researchers probed the specimen with neutrons to gather critical information about the arrangement of atoms within the massive golden sample.

largest single crystal of gold
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World's Largest Gold Crystal Studied at Los Alamos

HIPPO is a general-purpose powder diffractometer that measures both the crystal structure and orientation distribution of crystals (or texture) making up a poly-crystalline material from the powder pattern of the crystals.

It is the only time-of-flight neutron instrument in the world that routinely measures texture, with single crystals being the ultimate textured samples.


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