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Definition of Topotaxy


THE term ‘topotaxy’ was defined by Lotgering and Gorter1 to include “all chemical solid state reactions that lead to a material with crystal orientations which are correlated with crystal orientations in the initial product”. Mackay2 described several reactions occurring in the hydrated iron oxides as topotactical and extended the definition to include structural transformations. He stated the necessary conditions for topotaxy to be: (1) a three-dimensional accord between the reactant and product; (2) the majority of atomic positions remaining fixed. In a review of topotaxy, Bernal3 defined the term so as to include transformations in which all or some of the axes of symmetry of the original crystal are retained in the product. Taylor et al.4 recognized the problem of the definition of topotaxy and took a position intermediate between that of Lotgering and Mackay. They refer to topotaxy as the conversion of a single crystal into one or more products which have a definite crystallographic orientation with respect to the original crystal, with the added requirements that the conversion occur throughout the entire crystal and that there be three-dimensional accord between the initial and final structures.

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SHANNON, R., ROSSI, R. Definition of Topotaxy. Nature 202, 1000–1001 (1964).

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