Individual silicate chains in wollastonite by high resolution electron microscopy


Chemists and mineralogists often have to elucidate the crystal structure of new materials even when conventional X-ray methods are not applicable. If, for example, long-range order is not extensive or the amount of material available for examination is minute (<10−7 g) the classical techniques of X-ray or neutron diffraction cannot be used. In such circumstances, direct structural determination using high resolution electron microscopy is, in principle, possible. To achieve worthwhile information, however, a point-to-point resolution of 2.8 Å or better is desirable, if the structural details of most oxides, halides, chalcogenides and various oxysalts of metallic and semi-metallic elements are to be established. We demonstrate here how high voltage, high resolution electron microscopy confirms the struc ture of a representative silicate mineral, showing the potential of the technique for the elucidation of locally abnormal (at the subunit cell level) structures.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Allpress, J. G., Sanders, J. V. & Wadsley, A. D. Phys. Stat. Solid. 25, 541 (1968).

  2. 2

    Anderson, J. S. Chem. Br. 13, 182 (1977); Proc. Ind. Acad. Sci. 87A, 295 (1978).

  3. 3

    Bursill, L. A., Netherway, D. J. & Grey, I. E. Nature 272, 1393 (1978).

  4. 4

    Iijima, S. Acta crystallogr. A31, 784 (1975).

  5. 5

    Kihlborg, L. & Hussain, A. Acta crystallogr. A32, 551 (1976).

  6. 6

    Ekstrom, T. & Tilley, R. J. D. Mater. Res. Bull. 9, 705 (1974).

  7. 7

    Jefferson, D. A., Mallinson, L. G., Hutchison, J. L. & Thomas, J. M. Contr. Miner. Petrol. 66, 1 (1978); J. chem. Soc. Chem. Commun. 910 (1977).

  8. 8

    Thomas, J. M. & Jefferson, D. A. Endeavour (New Ser.) 2, 127 (1978).

  9. 9

    Cosslett, V. E. in Proc. 5th Int. Conf. HVEM 1977 (eds Imura, T. & Hashimoto, H.) 87–90 (1977).

  10. 10

    Nixon, W. C. et al. in Developments in Electron Microscopy and Analysis, 1977 (ed. Misell, D. L.) 13–16 (1977).

  11. 11

    Cosslett, V. E. et al. Nature (preceding paper). (1979).

  12. 12

    Mamedov, K. S. & Belov, N. V. Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR 107, 463 (1956).

  13. 13

    Millward, G. R. & Thomas, J. M. in Proc. Conf. on Carbon and Graphite, 492 (Soc. Chem. Industry, London, 1975).

  14. 14

    Millward, G. R. & Jefferson, D. A. in Chem. and Phys. Carbon Vol. 14, 1 (M. Dekker, New York, 1978).

  15. 15

    Thomas, J. M. Chem. Br. 13, 175 (1977).

  16. 16

    Jefferson, D. A. & Thomas, J. M. Proc. R. Soc. A361, 399 (1978); Acta crystallogr. A35, 416 (1979).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jefferson, D., Thomas, J., Smith, D. et al. Individual silicate chains in wollastonite by high resolution electron microscopy. Nature 281, 51–52 (1979).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.